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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I provided a room to rent in a shared house that I used to

Customer Question

I provided a room to rent in a shared house that I used to live in as my main residence. It fell outside the AST requirements to protect the deposit. I did not realise I had to write a separate letter to state it was NOT an AST, as I have now discovered.The person left without notice and with a trail of damage. I have issued a county court claim but they state they had an AST and will get x3 the deposit at court. As I failed to issue the required notice in writing, but only told them verbally will the judge consider it an AST? The agreement does not state its an AST and says its only an agreement to rent a room in a shared house.


Just to clarify I did not say in the agreement about it being a non-AST, I just referred to it as an Agreement to rent a room in a shared house.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
HI.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Why do you say it wasn't an AST exactly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I had rented rooms in the house when I lived there and continued to do so after I left. In the end I rented out my own bedroom. I had understood that this meant I was offering a room as the owner occupier on the basis I had lived there as my main residence.


There was no great gain on not making it an AST, just carried the same arrangement on.


I would like to know if a judge would say it is an AST because I did not state this in writing, but told her verbally, that it was not an AST and did not lodge the deposit.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, but surely when you rented the last room this was no longer a lodger agreement as you were not there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Correct.


The Residential Landlords Association states that this would make it an assured tenancy, not an assured shorthold tenancy.


I appreciate that in retrospect it would have been better to change the agreement to an AST, but at the moment I need to know if there is a legal authority for me to state it was an AT, and that a district judge would accept this.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, its a periodic tenancy agreement if its anything at all.

I do think its not going to be considered a lodger's agreement but its not an AST unless he has a contract to the effect that it is.

In any event though, even if you have failed to register he is not going to claim three times the sum. The Localism Act gives courts discretion and there is genuine confusion here. The very most he would get is the sum of the deposit.

Then you could claim from him any arrears or damage.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I had a look at


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/11892/138286.pdf


and I don't think its a periodic tenancy as they moved in October 2012 and the agreement was for 6 months. They left just before 5 months had gone.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
if it was for six months then he could ask the court to draw an inference and find that its an AST.

But he still isn't going to get three times the sum. That is preserved for prolific repeat offenders.

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