Should she do this?

Should she do this?

14:23 PM, 10th June 2022, About 2 months ago 11

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My friend allowed someone (call him X) to stay at her empty house from the end of June 2021 as he had nowhere to go. She was going to Spain for a few months and the property was in the throws of being repossessed as her husband had used her house, in her sole name and owned prior to their marriage, as security for huge loans for his failing company.

No rental agreement was signed. No rent was paid and she has continued to pay the water, council tax and contents & building insurance (& broadband up till May 2022 when the contract ended).

Her estranged husband has unknowingly been paying the gas and electric by direct debit but realised last week and has ordered final readings and disconnection on the 17th June. The estranged husband believes the property was repossessed by the finance company to settle his debt. It has not been. He also had no idea X was staying in the house.

The finance company required X to sign a legal document with solicitors stating he had no rights to the property.

Circumstances have now changed and the property is no longer being repossessed. She acquired funds from a bridging company to pay the debt and now wants to rent out the property.

She has come to visit me in Gloucestershire for a couple of weeks and to sort out getting a paying tenant.

She offered X a formal tenancy agreement 1.10.2022 at a discounted rent but if he couldn’t afford it gave notice to vacate on the 10th June. He decided yesterday 8th June he can’t afford it and refused to move out.

She has buildings insurance legal cover and spoke to them and they say X is an Excluded Occupier and she has removed her permission for X to stay there.

1. What are her rights/options to remove X from the property?

2. Does she just give notice to X of changing the locks? 24 or 48 hours?

3. Can she / should she move back to the house using one of the bedrooms? (I need to start 3 days quarantine before a hospital procedure on the 14th June).

Many thanks

Judith



Comments

Silver Flier

17:52 PM, 10th June 2022, About 2 months ago

I don't have any relevant experience but trawling the internet Excluded Occupiers include those living in Rent-Free Accommodation - which is defined as "any tenancy or licence not granted in exchange for money or money’s worth. In other words, where the occupier is not obliged to pay rent or perform some form of service."
https://www.legislate.tech/post/excluded-occupiers-when-can-an-occupier-be-evicted-without-a-court-order
Excluded occupiers are only entitled to reasonable notice before being asked to leave. They can be evicted without a court order but the landlord must give reasonable notice which can be given orally.
Shelter, which is extremely anti-landlord, gives Excluded Occupiers the following advice on eviction "If you don’t move out at the end of the notice or agreement, your landlord can evict you peaceably. For example, they could change the locks while you’re out."
https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/eviction/eviction_of_lodgers_and_other_excluded_occupiers

Judith Wordsworth

18:51 PM, 10th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Silver Flier at 10/06/2022 - 17:52
Many thanks Silver Flier

CMS View Profile

4:39 AM, 11th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 10/06/2022 - 18:51
As Silver Flier says if the person is an Excluded Occupier then all that is needed is a notice to quit giving reasonable notice (7 days is normally seen as ok) but just get your friend to make sure that she has never arranged for the occupier to carry out any works to the house (painting, tiling etc) as they may argue that this was in lieu of rent which would potentially make him a formal tenant that wouldnt be an Excluded Occupier. Good luck

Judith Wordsworth

21:02 PM, 11th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by CMS at 11/06/2022 - 04:39
He's not even removed the massive ant nest in the kitchen which we saw day before yesterday.
Just gone and bought an ant trap, ant powder, an killer spray and Grip fix to restick the skirting boards that the ants have dislodged once the ants have been got rid of.
He's not even replaced light bulbs. Some friend my friend has lol

David

12:39 PM, 12th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Unless he's been paying toward any costs, he has no rights and she can remove him from the property with reasonable force or change the locks whilst he is out.

CMS View Profile

2:48 AM, 13th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 11/06/2022 - 21:02
haha - friends and family are always the problem. On that basis it looks like reasonable notice and peaceful re-entry.

Martin Roberts

10:53 AM, 13th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by CMS at 13/06/2022 - 02:48
It may be worth using professional bailiffs so you can't be accused of excessive force.

Lucy Fryer

12:46 PM, 13th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Hi Judith, this one could get very nasty very quickly. And in my view it's definitely one for a properly qualified legal expert in landlord/tenant law and evictions, not a general comment thread. I suggest you go to Landlord Action (www.landlordaction.co.uk) who specialise in problem tenants or contact the RNLA and ask them to recommend a specialist lawyer. The friend MAY be classified as an excluded occupier (how expert was the customer service person at the insurance company?!), or they may be a trespasser/squatter, but in the absence of an tenancy agreement issued by your friend, there is still a national "de facto" tenancy agreement which is assumed to be in force instead. (A bit like dying intestate, the state has rules of its own). And your friends friend may be regarded as a "tenant" in the eyes of the law. Oh, and by the way, do bear in mind that your friend's friend could be reading this thread too, so be careful what information you give you. You may inadvertently give them all the legal information they need to make life very difficult for your friend.

Judith Wordsworth

18:58 PM, 13th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Lucy Fryer at 13/06/2022 - 12:46
Definitely an excluded occupier. Went round today and been locked out.

Silver Flier

8:24 AM, 14th June 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 13/06/2022 - 18:58
You are required to take reasonable care of any belongings left behind at the house and should make arrangements for the Excluded Tenant to collect their belongings within a reasonable time. Obviously this does not mean allowing them back into the house. You could also give them a deadline within which to collect their stuff, after which you will dispose of it.

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