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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48210
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Good Morning, I've been looking domestic cleaner for

Customer Question

Good Morning,
I've been looking for a domestic cleaner for a house we use only at weekends, and found one who says she will soon be looking for somewhere to live. I've got a spare apartment in the house that is unused - bedroom, sitting room, bathroom, tiny kitchen - and am happy to let her live in it in return for six hours cleaning a week. She gets a good deal (local rates in Gloucestershire would price the flat around £550/month but her cleaning would only bring in £300/month) and we get the benefit of having somebody living onsite full time, and then she makes her actual money with existing cleaning jobs elsewhere. On top of that we'll pay her to work weekends when we are around if she wants to, but that's up to her. It seems everyone wins.
But is it legal?
Is it a legal minefield? Does she then have rights to inhabit the place that would make it hard to get rid of her if things went awry for any reason?
Thanks for listening.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are you paying her any cash benefits at all?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, my name is***** plan is not to. Except occasionally if she wants to help out at the weekend. But she has friends and family locally and said she'd be more likely to "get out of our hair" at weekends.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
The main issue here is whether the person is going to be treated as a worker. This is someone who works under a contract of employment. It excludes those that are genuinely self employed. The first thing to do is to try and determine what this person’s employment status would be by going here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employment-status-indicator If the person is an employee/worker rather than self employed then they are entitled to the National Minimum Wage. You then have to look at what counts towards the NMW. There is a thing known as accommodation allowance which you can try and use to make up the person’s NMW entitlement and that comes in the form of accommodation provided for the employee to live in. If that is not an option then you have to ensure that the person is employed as a self employed worker rather than an employee. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the accommodation allowance and how to determine if you can use it here, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, she'd definitely be self-employed. She works more hours for her other two employers than she would for us. It's just whether what we're doing is legal from a tax perspective, and whether she'd have rights to inhabit the property after she stopped working for us. I'm happy to give you a four star rating on your stuff up to now (I'll give you a five after as that seems only fair). I'll just try and work out how to do that...
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, don't worry about changing ratings, it won't make much of a difference. If she is definitely self employed then you do not have to worry about the NMW and you can just allow her to stay in the house in return for work as she would not be entitled to any minimum pay. The issue you will have getting all answers here in one question is that this encompasses three distinct areas of law -employment, tax and property. Sadly we, as lawyers, do not specialise in all areas of law at once and you will find it almost impossible to find someone who can advise you on all 3 areas at once. I can advise on the employment issue and the property but the tax is completely outside of my remit so you need to ask this as a separate quesiton in our tax section on here I'm afraid. So moving on to the property issues, when someone is provided with accommodation by their employer, there are two possible ways in which they could be allowed to occupy the property:· Under a tenancy· Under a licence to occupy The most common way would be to grant the employee a licence to occupy. Unless there was a formal tenancy agreement in place, or the occupier was granted exclusive possession of the property for a term in return for rent (or work as the case may be here), it is assumed that a licence to occupy would have been granted. If there is an employment contract in place then the first step would be to check what the terms under that contract are and determine the employee's rights that way. In the absence of a contract, the following assumptions can be made: if the employer wishes to remove the employee from the property they may only do so when the licence to occupy ends, which will occur in the following circumstances:· If the employment contract ends;· If the employee voluntarily leaves the property; or· If the employer gives at least 4 weeks' notice. Therefore, if the contract is terminated, the licence to occupy will terminate as soon as the contract ends. In any other case, the employer would be expected to give at least 4 weeks' notice because a licensee who occupies a property as a dwelling is entitled to that notice under Section 5 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much. That's great advice. Exactly what I wanted to know.
All the best,
Giles
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome, all the best