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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70414
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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, I am a living in Landlord, I advertised a couple of rooms

Resolved Question:

Hi, I am a living in Landlord, I advertised a couple of rooms on various websites.
On 25th March someone came and asked to rent two of the the rooms one for herself and one for her 21 year old son.
I asked her for Work and Landlord Reference, 3 months Banks statement both for herself and her son.
She transferred a deposit of £500 for the rooms.
The move in date was agreed to be on the 28th March with the understanding that they would come in on the 27th and pay for the rooms in full plus one months deposit and show me references for their work , landlord and 3 months bank statements.
On the 27th she turned up with van full of their stuff. She had brought work reference for herself only. I said I will need to see references for her son before letting the room out to him.
We signed a contract for one room only until I received further details. I agreed that she could move in the following day and I agreed I would not charge her for the night as she wanted to leave her stuff in the room.
I forgot to give her a copy of the contract as she was on a hurry.
Since I only had one key for her room, I said I will give her the key the following day when she officially moves in.
I started having doubts about her being able to pay for the rents of two rooms. She is on 16000K a year. During my conversation with them while sigining the first room's contract, it became apparent that her son does not actually work every day and only attends work if and when required by his employers ( JD sports) which could be once a week.
They both left the property that night. Within a few hours, I opened the room door to make sure the window is closed overnight and I noticed a distinct bad smell was in the room as a result of her stuff being left in the room ( dirty clothes etc).
At this point I got in touch with her and said I don't think you'll be able to pay for both rooms , she said she has other sources of income ad will show me the bank statement when she moves in to prove it.
The following day having slept on this I decided that she can't stay in the house and texted her to say that we can't have her staying in the house and she should arrange to pick up her stuff as soon as possible.
I was told she would come and pick up her stuff yesterday and she cancelled about an hour before the appointment. Now they are threatening me with legal action saying that they have had to stay at a hotel as they lost their place they were in with the understanding that they would move in my house.
In your expert opinion, what should I do?
Sorry about this being so wordy.
Thank you
Hani
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I would like to know where I stand legally. Have you seen my query?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Are you asking if you are liable?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, I want to know whether I am liable and also what I should do so that she picks up her stuff as soon as possible so that I can rent the room to someone else.

Best Regards

Hani

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am really sorry but you are liable. There is no way around it.
Come what may, you agreed to let her stay there and you didn't give her proper notice. She was entitled to one term of the rental period which was probably one month.
She very definitely does have a claim against you for that amount.
She could also seek an injunction to force you to let her back in but she won't do that with this type of agreement.
In terms of her goods, you do not have a right to demand she collects them as you did not have a right to evict her in this way. She is entitled to keep her goods there and to remain there.
She also may have a claim against you for entering her room without permission and notification although she need not know that you have done that unless you tell her.
I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Jo

The contract we signed, was a licence to occupy as a lodger, not a tenant. As I understood it, lodgers have less rights and landlords can indeed go to their rooms to check them. She has no proof that we signed a contract, nor does she have the keys.

I don't want to be causing her issues, but is your answer still the same?

What if I asked her to move in for 28 days and serve her a notice?

Best regards

Hani

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Lodger do have fewer rights than shorthold tenants but they are still tenants.
They still have the right to notice.
The problem is that even if you give her notice now you have already caused her the cost of staying elsewhere and she does have a claim.
In terms of no proof, you accept her account and cannot deny the truth.
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