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Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9
Experience:  Moderator
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Without a tenancy agreement in place between a landlord and

Customer Question

Without a tenancy agreement in place between a landlord and tenant, I believe the tenant is defined as a sitting tenant?
If this is the case, how long would it take for the landlord / owner of the property to remove the tenant from the property?
My sister-in-law had been in a relationship with her partner for 14 years & they had a child together.
When they started their relationship, they lived together in a house that Paul had bought as a wreck. Between them, they refurbished it and sold it on at a profit. They then moved in to another wreck and completely refurbished this house. Lesley (my sister-in-law) had previously been married and during the refurbishment of the second house, received a divorce settlement of around 40k which was used to buy the kitchen, carpets & curtains in this 2nd house. The Judge in Lesley's divorce decreed that because Lesley was engaged to be married & that Paul was apparently a man of means, Lesley's financial situation was less relevant than that of her ex husband. 2 months after making this decision, the Judge in the case died of a brain tumour - I wonder if his medical condition impeded his ability to make balanced, rational decisions?
Lesley's name wasn't included on the mortgage of either property. There is no formal documentation confirming Lesley's financial contribution to the fabric of either house.
After 4 or 5 years in this house, a deal was arranged between Paul, his brother Richard & their father to swap houses in an attempt to avoid inheritance tax. Richard moved in to the house Lesley & Paul had refurbished, Paul & Lesley moved in to his father's farm house & the dad moved in to a lovely old Georgian town house in The Square in Lenham - apparently, no money changed hands.
Lesley & XXXXX XXXXXved together on the farm (still not married & Lesley not recognised on the property deeds) for 5 or 6 years. Lesley was effectively a farm labourer for that entire period. Additionally, she ran the house, made all the meals & was a mother to their son.
A year ago Paul decided that he wanted to end their relationship. He realised that the most convenient way to move Lesley out of the farm was to buy her a house of her own in which to live. They both took legal advice & were advised that because they'd never married, Paul's only obligation was to keep a roof over his son's head. The informal arrangement that was made was that Mark (their son) would live with Paul in the week & with Lesley every other weekend. He would be sent to St Edmunds - a fee paying school in Canterbury & would be taken to & from by Paul's sister-in-law who had 2 children at the same school. Lesley was effectively blackmailed in to agreeing to this to secure a place to live with the two children from her previous marriage to an abusive PC, thrown out of the Metropolitan Police force & who has never paid a penny in maintenance. If you interested, look up Stringer Vs Stringer on line.
Within 3 months of Lesley moving out of the farm, Paul has moved in a new partner with 3 children of her own.
Six weeks ago, Lesley's dad died. A week later, Paul wrote to me to say that after the end of this year he'll no longer be able to afford to pay the mortgage on Lesley's house & that she'll have to move out / become the responsibility of my wife and I.
2 weeks ago, Lesley tried to kill herself.
Where do you think that Lesley stands with regards XXXXX XXXXX? If she doesn't have a tenancy agreement how difficult will it be ? how long will it take to remove her from the house? The house was bought for 200k. Paul paid a 40k deposit. Lesley's mum Ann paid 10k towards the deposit but despite his promises never arranged a covenant recognising Ann's contribution - he did send her a letter in which he explained that this was his intention. Ann also paid the legal fees. Paul took on a 150k mortgage.
I don't think that he will default on the mortgage payments because he'd lose his 40k and have a black mark against his future credit worthiness (he plans to start yet another new business that he would definitely want to be a director of).
Lesley has been let down by so many agencies - the police, the judiciary, social services, her GP et al. She has no money - she cleans peoples houses to pay her way & gets working family tax credits. XXXXX XXXXXves on a farm worth in excess of 1.75M & Lesley is facing life either in a spare room in our house or in council b&b accommodation.
Life seems so unjust!!

Thanks for your help,

Huw Davies
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.

Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.

Do you have a specific question please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't have anything more specific to ask you.


Please answer my original question. I understand that it's a multi-faceted, complex issue & that you won't necessarily be able to answer me straight back.


Kind regards,



Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

I'm sorry, but I really can't understand the facts because there is so much going on.

Can you summarise them please or if you prefer, I will opt out for another expert.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have tried to summarise.

Essentially, my sister-in-law is living in a house she doesn't own without a tenancy agreement in place.

The deposit for the house was paid jointly by my sister-in-laws ex partner & her mother. Her ex partner is responsible for the mortgage.

He maintains he can't continue to pay the mortgage beyond the end of this year as he now has a new family to support.

Custody of their child is shared (on an informal ad hoc basis between them both) the courts have never been involved.

He wants her to leave the house so that he can sell it. If he does this she will be made homeless. Is it his to sell if my mother-in-law paid a percentage of the deposit.

If there is no formal tenancy agreement in place, how long could it take to force her out of her home? Is there any basis for doing this if he didn't pay the entire deposit?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.

That is brilliant thank you.

Was it actually bought as the family home?

How old is the child?

Has your sister-in-law made any financial contributions to the house herself or has that all been done by the partner and your sister-in-law's mother ?

Is your sister-in-law's mother on the deeds or not?

is her contribution documented anywhere ?

is your sister-in-law paying any rent or any mortgage?

can she afford to pay either?

does he pay maintenance for the child ?

thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, the house was bought for Lesley to live in as her partner wanted to end their relationship & his perception was that the quickest & easiest way to move her out of the family house (so that he could move in a new girlfriend) was to buy a house for Lesley to live in.

The child is 12 years old.

Lesley pays all the bills - Paul's sole contribution is the monthly mortgage repayment & buildings insurance premium.

Ann is not on the deeds.

Only in a letter from Paul in which he states that he intends to arrange a legal covenant recognising Ann's interest.

Lesley pays no rent or mortgage

She couldn't afford to pay either.

He pays no maintenance for the child. The child lives with him for most of the time - without Lesley's tacit agreement to this arrangement he wasn't prepared to buy the house for her.


My initial account may make some more sense to you now??

Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 years ago.


I would suggest that she sees a solicitor because
as this is a housing issue, and her home is at risk, she may be eligible for
legal aid. It is certainly worthwhile asking because if he gets a letter from a
solicitor, he might take a little more notice.

They have a child together who is dependent. They
are under a duty to provide a home for the child until aged 18. In that
respect, it is possible that she can hang onto the house until then and if push
comes to shove and he does not roll over, that is what she is going to have to
push for in court.

In addition, in support of the above, as you
quite rightly said, it was bought as a house for them to live in and to provide
a home particularly for the child.

However the downside is that if she does stay in
the house, he is not liable for the mortgage or the bills of a house that he
does not living although, he remains liable to any lender if Lesley stops
paying. From what you say, that is a stumbling block because she would be
liable for that and the court will not grant her the right to live there
rent-free and mortgage free either for ever or until the child is 18

however he is liable to pay maintenance for the
child that is reduced for each night the child stays with him so that may not
be that much, and it does reduce her claim to be providing a whole for the

Lesley would have to prove that she has made some
financial contribution to the house which, unless he is going to lie, he would
have to admit. It would potentially give her a share of the sale proceeds

So to summarise the difficulties,

the child spends very little time with her so she
cannot say that she is providing a home to the greater extent

she cannot afford to pay rent or mortgage
although she does pay the bills

she would be entitled to very little child
maintenance if any

I'm sorry, but she is not in a strong position
because of the above

I am clutching at straws here so I am going to
refer this to another expert for you to see whether she has any ideas. I am not
certain whether she is online at present but she will pick it up when she is
which may be tonight or, tomorrow now.

Please don't reply or it comes back into my

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.

It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Please continue to try and find somebody more able to answer my questions.




Huw Davies

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.

We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.

Thank you for your patience,
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 3 years ago.

I apologise as we have not yet been able to find a Professional to assist you. Do you wish for me to continue to search for someone to assist you or would you like for us to close your question at this time?

Thank you for your patience,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm not very impressed with your service.


I didn't opt for the initial £22 advice - I asked for the fastest, most detailed response available at £47 and still you haven't answered my questions?


I think I've wasted my money.


I believe you offer a money back guarantee if not 100% satisfied? Please refund the £47 I've already paid you to my card.


Kind regards,


Huw Davies

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