My rights to evict a lodger?

by Readers Question

11:55 AM, 25th June 2014
About 4 years ago

My rights to evict a lodger?

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My rights to evict a lodger?

My rights to evict a lodger?I have a lodger who has been in arrears almost from the start, he now owes a months rent though he did pay a deposit of £150. He refuses to leave, saying he has nowhere else to go.

I first gave him notice to leave on March 15th but he cajoled me into verbally agreeing to extend hi occupancy as he promised to get a job. Since then I have given him notice of various times, one or two weeks; in my opinion the first letter still stands for him to leave in April. All other letters to quit are either laughed at or thrown in the bin.

He throws empty cider bottles behind the furniture, threw up in my kitchen sink, seems to have no intention of finding work and tells me I can’t be hard up for his rent if I can buy plants for the garden.

I have changed the locks but am afraid of doing anything illegal in evicting him. I don’t want him to profit from me so I need to know my rights.

He has had 4 letters to quit, can I legally exclude him from my house?

Vivien



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:13 PM, 25th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Dear Vivien

It appears from what you have said that you are sharing the home in which you live with this person and on that basis your lodger doesn't have anywhere near as many rights as a tenant would.

You have gone far beyond what would be considered reasonable and you are perfectly within your rights to exclude this person from your home.

Next time he leaves the property you would be perfectly within your rights to bag up his belongings and to leave them on the doorstep with a note.

If your former lodger becomes abusive or intimidating then call the Police immediately.

From what you have said you may well have grounds to seek a injunction in the form of a restraining order which would prevent him from coming within a few hundred metres of you or your property. If you are entitled to legal aid this would cost you nothing and can be arranged by most legal aid solicitors. If you need to fund this privately it is likely to be be far more cost effective to organise this via a Direct Public Access Barrister. I have telephoned Cotswold Barristers to get a price on this and you would be looking at a fixed fee of £750 plus VAT.

If your former lodger was to breach a Court order then you could have him arrested.

Hopefully it will not come to this but I wanted to make you aware of your options.

If you need to contact Cotswold Barristers please see >>> http://www.property118.com/member/?id=1945

This may have been avoided by better referencing and if this hasn't put you off renting altogether I'd be happy to provide some suggestions for future use.

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
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12:20 PM, 25th June 2014
About 4 years ago

if your lodger stays in the property without your permission then he is trespassing, you have the right as Mark says to change the locks and leave his possessions in the street.
if he gets nasty call the police
You could go straight to court for an eviction but this will take time and will cost which you may not be able to recoup from this guy

13:31 PM, 25th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Vivien,

Sorry to hear of your plight.

This man has no legal right to remain in your home now.

You can remove his belongings and leave them outside the house.

It might be best to have a male friend with you when you do this, just in case this man gets abusive.

The sooner he is out, the better is my feeling.

John Daley

14:08 PM, 25th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Vivien,

You only have to give reasonable notice to a lodger. Reasonable notice depends on what is in your agreement if it is written down, if not what have you agreed verbally ?

If there is nothing to guide you then one month for a monthly rental or a couple of weeks for a weekly rental seems reasonable. Don't be fooled by anything he says, it's calculated to take advantage of your good nature.

If you have given notice and changed the locks then it's over and all he can do is agree when he will collect his stuff. If he causes any dramas or is threatening then call the Police, they will stand by while he gets his things.

Any damages he has done that you can prove or rent arrears can be taken from his deposit. Have the balance ready when he comes to get his kit and a written statement if you have made any deductions. It may be worthwhile to give him all his money back to get rid of him, not really fair to you but sometimes you have to be pragmatic.

david manifold

9:33 AM, 27th June 2014
About 4 years ago

I had lodger who was causing problems. I called the police for advice and they said give him 3 hours (a reasonable amount of time) If he doesn't leave voluntarily by then call us back and we will remove him from the property. I gave the person this information, gave him til the next day for good measure and he left. Worse case is you get the police to remove him. Lodgers have zero rights. It's your home.

Mandy Thomson

12:32 PM, 27th June 2014
About 4 years ago

I'm sorry to read about this - but as Mark says, this is why it's so important to carefully interview and run references against prospective lodgers. If I had children living in the home, or I had some reason to suspect the lodger could have a criminal record (assuming you didn’t have many lodgers to choose from), I would ask the lodger to do a subject access request with their local police. I have checked with the police and this is perfectly legal.
Please note that although lodgers don't have tenants' Protection From Eviction, contained in the Act, they do NOT have zero rights; they have the rights contained in their agreement, which still must comply with unfair contract terms legislation - https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/284426/oft311.pdf. However, courts do apply a reasonable person's standard where a lodger's behaviour is so extreme that you couldn't reasonably be expected to put up with it.
I've come across many accounts of the police actually taking the lodger's side, but unfortunately, they're not expected to be knowledgeable about landlord and tenant law and the difference between a tenant and a licensee, which are normally civil matters, though they should intervene if there's likely to be a breach of the peace - perhaps Gary Nock could provide some insight?
As for the lodger's belongings, unfortunately, you're still expected to take care of them (though you can pack them up) but you can't simply dump them outside or dispose of them until you've given the lodger a reasonable time in which to collect, and notified them by recorded delivery as necessary (a legal position known as involuntary bailee). In a situation such as this, you would be advised to hand the items to the lodger from the door - but obviously don't invite him in and change the locks ASAP!
Google “Serving notice and getting rid of problem lodgers” for some reliable guidance on this, and “How to avoid a terrible lodger” before you get your next one; no – most lodgers aren’t like your former lodger and you shouldn’t have to put up with anyone remotely like it!
I wish you best of luck in getting this person out of your life and letting your room in future.

david manifold

13:20 PM, 27th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Without sounding like a troll I have to disagree on the rights of a lodger. I have had lodgers for over 20 years. I also have a portfolio of properties which I rent out as assured tenancies. Unlike the assured tenancies which have a formal lease for obvious reasons non of my tenants have had a written contract. It's a verbal gentleman agreement on rent and conditions. If they don't like the conditions they are entitled to leave. If I don't like them I am perfectly entitled to ask them to leave as it is my home. I own the lock and keys and I pay the bills. They do not have rights. Having said that in my 20 years I have only asked 2 people to leave. On both occasions it was dueto aggressive behaviour....causedby chasing their rent arrears. The police advised me on both occasions and the lodgers had to leave. I did however give them a reasonable amount of time and I did take care of their possessions.

Mandy Thomson

13:52 PM, 27th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "david manifold" at "27/06/2014 - 13:20":

Rights aren't often exercised, but they do exist >> see the post at this link by Giles Peaker, solicitor with Anthony Gold: http://www.propertytribes.com/why-lenders-wont-allow-room-lets-t-11432-3.html - note where Giles' states: "..even if it is a licence.. relying on 24 hours notice will quite possibly result in a claim for unlawful eviction (and I've run such claims on a two week notice period, successfully)."

In a lodger landlord situation, there is a contract.

English law recognises both a verbal and a written contract, although a written contract is obviously easier to prove or disprove.

A lodger is entitled to take a landlord to the small claims court and claim a refund of rent if they believe they have been evicted without reasonable notice (google "lodger notice periods") - as indeed, so is a landlord where a lodger has caused damage or withheld rent.

Mandy Thomson

15:02 PM, 27th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "david manifold" at "27/06/2014 - 13:20":

Hi David - can you please cite the relevant legislation that states "lodgers have no rights"?

Thank you

david manifold

15:13 PM, 27th June 2014
About 4 years ago

Hello Mandy.

There is no legislation for lodgers. Sub tenants are a slightly different matter. I can't imagine anyone allowing a lodger a lock to his room though on any place.

You only have to check out what the shelter website says on this matter. http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/sharing_and_subletting/lodgers.

You can be sure that if there were legislation, shelter would be extremely quick to pick this up as I find this organisation quite anti-landlord.

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