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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70014
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I need to check my tenancy rights. Landlord issued

Customer Question

Hello. I need to check my tenancy rights. Landlord issued a Section 21 notice. I asked for more time and he said he would be flexible on this. I am trying to buy a property. Long story but I have a small amount of equity to buy something but cannot afford to rent elsewhere due to low income - current rental was for a shared house arrangement with other tenants and is low. I am the last tenant. Landlord is now saying I am just a lodger and he can change the locks. I had legal advice which said I had tenancy rights but I remembered that I first stayed in the house when it was a B&B and the Landlord lived in it too. I stayed in it as a B&B for four or five months, at which time the Landlord and his family moved to another house, ceased doing B&B and asked me to rent the house as a shared house with other tenants. Which I have been doing since and at some point we signed an Assured Shorthold tenancy agreement. The house we occupy had planning permission to be converted into two dwellings, which the Landlord did - so we occupy the front dwelling. He renovated the back dwelling then moved into it. Recently he opened up a door on the landing and now says it is one house and I am just lodger.
I am now aware that if your tenancy started when you lived with the Landlord, and ended living in the same house as the Landlord then you are a lodger (which is what he is claiming I guess). Whereas actually my tenancy commenced when he was living elsewhere and before that I was a paying guest in a B&B and do not actually live in the same house with him now as they are two separate dwellings (although he is making out it is one house).
He has threatened to change the locks when I thought he needed to apply for a possession order, because he is saying I am just a lodger.
Basically I need to know if the few months I was a B&B guest invalidates my tenancy. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Do you share amenities with your landlord?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No - we have three exclusive rooms in the house we occupy - he lives in an adjoining house. The house has the same address and he is saying it is one house, when it was converted into two houses, but no we don't share any kitchens or bathrooms or living areas.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
If this were a B & B arrangement then that would have an impact upon your rights.
However, if you were subsequently issued with an AST then you are periodic tenant and he cannot just change the locks. If he does that would be unlawful eviction which is a criminal offence although it is fair to say that the police would not be interested preferring instead to spend millions of pounds investigating false allegations of historical sexual abuse made for the money.
A door in a landing does not turn you into a lodger in particular one that was not there until recently.
Obviously though he can still get you out if he wants to but he has to go to court.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I was unclear whether the initial period when they ran and lived in the house as a B&B and I stayed in the B&B, before the tenancy - whether that period would allow him to claim that I lived with them as a lodger at the beginning of the tenancy and whether that would over-ride the current tenancy. I should be able to be moved in a few weeks but wanted to know I was correct before saying to them that the correct procedure was to apply for a possession order. Is staying in a B&B the same as being a lodger please? I don't think of it as that. I took on the tenancy of the house when they moved out and ceased doing B&B
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
No, the tenancy would override anything that went before it.
Staying in a B&B is not being a lodger. It is a licence to occupy affectively although it doesn't give you much better right but you are not on a B&B arrangement.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. ***** is saying I lived in the same house as him at the beginning and end of the Tenancy which makes me a lodger. So basically when it stopped being a B&B, they moved out, and I took on the tenancy, then I still have that tenancy. I don't want to be thrown out when we could be moved within a few weeks and am hoping he will be more amenable if I can prove we do have tenancy rights - or he may just think I wouldn't bother to do anything about it if he threw us out - as you say the Police may not be helpful.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Well, he can say what he likes. He is just wrong on that point.
The police might well be unhelpful but that is not because the law is against you. It is just genuinely because the days have gone when they did proper crime as apparently mediating domestic squabbles is more important.
You can still seek a civil injunction to get back in.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. I hope it doesn't come to that. It was confusing being given a section 21, being told he would wait for us to buy somewhere after it ran out, and then suddenly being told we were lodgers without a tenancy and threatening to change the locks! Thanks for your help. If we did get thrown out, would we have an option to stay in a hotel or something and sue for illegal eviction, rather than go back in? Or would that just be too costly a thing to do. I think I'd feel very uncomfortable going back in if we had to get an injunction, but if that was the only option.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
The other issue here is that if you were a lodger you would never have needed a S21 notice.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes. When I shared the house with the other tenants we were asked to sign the Tenancy Agreement but not given copies and told it was just for their Insurance purposes. I thought until then I was probably just an occupier with basic rights. They produced it when they gave me the Section 21 so I asked for a copy of the tenancy agreement and was given one with half the details blanked out! It does show his name and living at a separate address though and I assume the fact they gave it to me, means it marries with the Section 21 notice. I think they wanted it both ways - have the tenancy for Insurance purposes but tell me I'm a lodger. I didn't really think about it until given notice as have lived here for many years. Anyway I think my main point has been established now thank you. That the tenancy over-rides any iffy claim that I was lodger at the start because it was a B&B then and after that it was a tenancy and I don't share any facilities with the Landlord who lives in a separate dwelling even if there is an adjoining door between the houses. Is that right?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Or is it that the Section 21 could be invalid if he thinks I'm a lodger? I don't think it is is, is it, if I have a copy of the tenancy agreement from him, despite some of it being blanked out (eg the date, my name and all signatures).
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
No, he just wouldn't need to use a S21 notice if you were a lodger.
I'm happy to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70014
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Remus2004 and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No that's fine thanks. ***** my Assured Shorthold Tenancy is valid and he needs to apply for a possession order, I think that is all I needed to know really.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have rated and am happy to write a review as well. Would be grateful if you would let me know whether we could stay in a guest house and sue for illegal eviction if it happens, or if getting an injunction is the only way. I assume sueing would be very expensive and maybe he is banking on that when threatening to change the locks.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
You would have a claim for any rent that you have paid but I would seek an emergency injunction.
You could just call the police. They probably would attend and tell him that he is acting unlawfully even if they won't arrest him.
In terms of changing the locks, you can always get a locksmith to change them again and sue him for the cost.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
No problem
All the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks - our house purchase should be through in a few weeks if I still have my marbles to complete it.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
I'm sure it will work out.

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