9:54 AM, 18th March 2016, About 5 years ago 6
My wife and I purchased a property outside the A406 in London about a year ago. Around about the same time a long term friend of mine who is a builder informed me that he was trying to sell his property and buy one too. However, as time has gone on I have found all this to be untrue.
He is currently the tenant that is living at our property where initially he was just using our property as storage space for his belongings with the intention to help along the sale of a property he apparently owned by making that property empty. So verbally we agreed that he could use our property as storage space for his belongings and in return he would carry out some refurbishment work to our home and no financial transactions took place at all. As I considered him to be a trusted long term friend of mine I just wanted to help him as we’d just been through the process and knew how stressful it can be.
He then asked me for a further favour which was to set up a tenancy agreement and put the council tax under his name to enable to assist getting his children into a school . We filled out an assured short term tenancy for unfurnished properties (AST) from WH Smith (I believe it was from a brand by the name of “Lawpack”) between me as the landlord and him as the tenant to start from 08/09/15 with a fixed term of 6 months which I believe ended on 08/03/16. This AST clearly states that the rent is Nil and the deposit is Nil.
He has in return gifted to do work which I have not said no to and I have intentionally set up the AST between me and him whereby I verbally explained to him if you wish for your family to visit or stay over from time to time then the property must be safe and not a building site. I must also bring to your attention at about the same time a second AST of similar dates was completed between possibly my wife as the landlord and him as the tenant which showed a rent value which I believe was £1250.00 per month and from what I remember Nil deposit. The only reason why a 2nd AST was completed was in case the 1st one didn’t appear believable for the school to accept. I cannot find the 2nd AST and am unsure if he has it still.
No rent has been acquired and I have now clearly told him not to do any further work and to inform me of any health and safety hazards so I can make the necessary arrangements to put them right. There has also been no written agreement for him to carry out any work other than a quotation indicating the work that he has proposed to carry out.
He agreed to handing over the keys to me on 06/03/16 which I have clear evidence of and he agreed that he was going to move out on that day. When I tried to get the keys off of him on 06/03/16 his wife was there and she objected to releasing our home back to us and claimed that she is a part of the tenancy with the kids, that she will not leave, that she has full rights, that she is going to string out staying in the property for at least 7 months, that she will sue us if I remove her or any of the items in our house and finally get social services and and other organizations involved against us by reporting to them that we’ve been negligent towards her and her kids by giving them a property in disrepair. I however firmly believe property is genuinely not in disrepair.
I explained clearly that I cannot afford to continue paying the mortgage at our home as well as rent and bills for where we are currently staying especially where my wives contract at work is coming to an end this month. We spoke via messaging afterwards and it is documented that he offered to pay our rent and bills for where we are currently staying which he has for this month.
I have approached a few solicitors already which have unfortunately have different takes on this and we are unsure who to trust so I wanted to ask in a forum.
Can anyone clarify if there’s strength behind all the threats that my tenants wife has made.
What are their rights and what are our rights?
As the rent is nil and the deposit is nil does this tenancy even fall within the Housing Act?
If so are the rights of the tenants minimal and could I just issue them a letter requesting that they need to vacate by a certain date then change the locks on that date if they don’t?
This is our only house and we do not own any other property so does this make a difference?
How do I go about getting our home back and what procedures do I need to follow to gain possession?
How long would this process take in total?
If we end up illegally evicting somehow then what are the consequences?
Respectfully like anyone in my position I just need to get them out as quickly as possible therefore we would appreciate the opinions of people in the know on this matter.
Finally can anyone recommend a good, trustworthy solicitor please?
Sorry for the long post
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