Shared House down to one tenant but no agreement?

by Readers Question

8 months ago

Shared House down to one tenant but no agreement?

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Shared House down to one tenant but no agreement?

I have a 3 bed house which I have let over the years to girls by the bedroom and they get to share the house. The rent is all inclusive of utility bills and council tax.

The house is now empty apart from one girl who has been there for 9 years. I want to give her notice.

1. I don’t have a tenancy agreement.

2. I never protected her deposit of £200 (never kept a deposit even when damage was done).

3. How much notice do I have to give one month or two months and can I use a Section 21 Notice a or b.

I want her gone because she always makes it unpleasant for other people staying and have lost about seven tenants because of her.

As its a shared house I can move in who I like, maybe some unsavory drunkards who would be very unpleasant to live with.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Regards Harry

Comments

Neil Patterson

8 months ago

Hi Harry,

I am going to assume the unsavory drunkards comment was tongue in cheek I hope.

However based on what has not been done correctly so far I would suggest you seek professional assistance or the situation could get much worse and more costly.

Please see our tenant eviction page >> https://www.property118.com/evicting-tenants/

Harry Chunk

8 months ago

Thanks Neil. Any comments by Gary Dully would be appreciated.

John Simpson

8 months ago

Neil is spot on. Strongly suspect she may have acquired some implied tenancy rights by virtue of having been there for as long as 9 years. Agreement or no agreement. Keep us appraised of the situation please as it would be interesting to see if there is a resolution available?

Terry Davis

8 months ago

Why don't you ask her how much she wants to move out, as the cost of this may be equal to, or less, than going through the courts, who usually apply the general rule of 'Tenant Good, Landlord Bad!'

Mandy Thomson

8 months ago

Hi Harry

I work as landlord advisor for a well known national landlord organisation.

I have set out your questions below with my answer to each:

1. I don’t have a tenancy agreement.

It's the fact of the practical living/rental arrangement which determines the agreement, not what a written contract states. Therefore, in this case, you take rent from the tenant for which she gets exclusive use of her room and use of the common areas which you as landlord have access to as well; she therefore has an assured shorthold tenancy for her room - albeit a verbal one, which is perfectly valid in law. However, if you need to enforce the eviction through court if she won't move out on expiry of your notice, you will need a hearing and the court claim will be more complex (that is you won't get an accelerated eviction, you will have to complete forms n5 and n119). If you join a landlord's organisation such as the NLA or RLA, their advisors can give you guidance on this.

2. I never protected her deposit of £200 (never kept a deposit even when damage was done).

If the tenancy started on or after 6 April 2007, you will need to refund this to her BEFORE serving s.21 (I suggest allowing at least 3 working days). If you don't have her bank details to do a transfer, I advise getting your bank to draw up a counter cheque (as this will provide evidence of the money leaving your account in the tenant's favour) then delivering it to the tenant's room in person with a witness.

3. How much notice do I have to give one month or two months and can I use a Section 21 Notice a or b.

You need to give a minimum of two months notice. I would also strongly advise you to follow section 21(4) that is, notice must expire on the day before the rent is paid (assuming rent is paid on the monthly anniversary of the tenancy). Although Spencer v Taylor then the Deregulation Act supposedly did away with that, allowing notice to simply be 2 straight months, many judges are still sticklers for 21(4). Also, some tenancy agreements stipulate 21(4) and in your case, as you don't have a written one, best to play safe. Again, if you join a landlord organisation, not only will you get a free section 21 template, you will get guidance (online and on the phone) to complete it.

By serving documents, I mean either get proof of postage (1st class post with a postage certificate - recorded delivery can be returned undelivered) or serve in person, getting recipient's signature or taking a witness or failing that a photo of you delivering it with a copy of that day's paper in shot.

1st class post is deemed by the courts to be received within 2 working days; hand deliveries on the same day provided it's a working BEFORE 4:30pm.

Mandy Thomson

8 months ago

Hi Harry

I work as landlord advisor for a well known national landlord organisation.

I have set out your questions below with my answer to each:

1. I don’t have a tenancy agreement.

It's the fact of the practical living/rental arrangement that determines the agreement, not what a written contract states. Therefore, in this case, you take rent from the tenant for which she gets exclusive use of her room and use of the common areas which you as landlord have access to as well; she therefore has an assured shorthold tenancy for her room - albeit a verbal one, which is perfectly valid in law. However, if you need to enforce the eviction through court if she won't move out on expiry of your notice, you will need a hearing and the court claim will be more complex (that is you won't get an accelerated eviction, you will have to complete forms n5 and n119). If you join a landlord's organisation such as the NLA or RLA, their advisors can give you guidance on this.

2. I never protected her deposit of £200 (never kept a deposit even when damage was done).

If the tenancy started on or after 6 April 2007, you will need to refund this to her BEFORE serving s.21 (I suggest allowing at least 3 working days). If you don't have her bank details to do a transfer, I advise getting your bank to draw up a counter cheque (as this will provide evidence of the money leaving your account in the tenant's favour) then delivering it to the tenant's room in person with a witness.

3. How much notice do I have to give one month or two months and can I use a Section 21 Notice a or b.

You need to give a minimum of two months notice. I would also strongly advise you to follow section 21(4) that is, notice must expire on the day before the rent is paid (assuming rent is paid on the monthly anniversary of the tenancy). Although Spencer v Taylor then the Deregulation Act supposedly did away with that, allowing notice to simply be 2 straight months, many judges are still sticklers for 21(4). Also, some tenancy agreements stipulate 21(4) and in your case, as you don't have a written one, best to play safe. Again, if you join a landlord organisation, not only will you get a free section 21 template, you will get guidance (online and on the phone) to complete it.

By serving documents, I mean either get proof of postage (1st class post with a postage certificate - recorded delivery can be returned undelivered) or serve in person, getting recipient's signature or taking a witness or failing that a photo of you delivering it with a copy of that day's paper in shot.

1st class post is deemed by the courts to be received within 2 working days; hand deliveries on the same day provided it's a working BEFORE 4:30pm.

Ingrid Bacsa

8 months ago

Dear harry

If it's a "shared house", move in asap. You don't need to sleep there every night but if all the bills are in your name, you will have rights over your tenant. It becomes YOUr home and if you do not wish to live with her - then SHE has to go!!!!

Mandy Thomson

8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ingrid Bacsa" at "22/04/2017 - 06:04":

While he can move into another room in the house (as the tenancy is only limited to one room) this will not remove the tenant's AST status and demote it to a licence (a lodger). Harry would have to have lived there from the start of the tenancy. However, if he follows your suggestion, any new room lets will be lodger licences.

This is a really good idea for anyone with a HMO where the people renting are likely to present challenging behaviour as they can be evicted easily if they cause trouble. However, it must be the landlord's main home. While he doesn't have to live there most of the time, he needs to have post going there, be on the electoral roll and be registered with a GP in the area. While there is no hard and fast test of of residency, it's possible that if he still had his real home elsewhere, this could be successfully challenged in court by a renter claiming tenancy status.

Ingrid Bacsa

8 months ago

Dear Harry

I am certain Mandy is right - there is always a lot if red tape.

I hope you can just move yourself into your property and ensure it is your MAIN residence.

When a live in landlord is present, you cannot have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. As there was no written agreement previously, and as, presumably, all the bills are in your name, you will then have the advantage - provided you share one kitchen.

Regarding any legal dispute, once you have established yourself there - in your home, which needn't take long, I personally found that undesirable tenants soon leave once the live in landlord requests this, and they don't quibble about the time before you moved in - they just want their deposit .back and they're off to bother someone else!

Go for it!

Mandy Thomson

8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ingrid Bacsa" at "22/04/2017 - 17:29":

You misunderstand. Harry can move in there, but this will NOT turn the tenant into a lodger; only a court of law (and then only under a very small number of circumstances) could do that!

The person renting from him will remain a tenant and must be evicted as such. If Harry served her a lodger's notice to quit then changed the locks while she was out, she could quite rightly claim illegal eviction. He would be forced to allow her back in and would most likely face criminal charges.

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