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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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Hello ! I have a question. I am staying at a lady s place,

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Hello ! I have a question. I am staying at a lady s place, meaning I am renting a room and we share common spaces (I have restricted access to the kitchen) and she had me sign a contract on the 12th of September (date of my moving in) that stated: after six months break clause, notice period is one month. Now I wanted to leave after one week because she made my live a living hell by adding tones of restrictions and rules on the use of common spaces in the house, and she would be quite insulting, and would go into my room without asking and she refused to let me go and get somebody else. a few months have passed and I found another place and really cannot stand living there anymore, I paid until the 27th of February (technically there would be 2 weeks more to pay to get to the 12th of March) but she now argues that according to the contract I should pay until 12th of april. (I e break clause 6 months plus a month). I find it really unfair given how she has been treating me all the time, and also I have been deprived of hot water for 6 weeks! what shall I do??

LondonlawyerJ :

I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience I will try to help you with this.



LondonlawyerJ :

I am just working in a list of extra information I need and will send it over shortly.

LondonlawyerJ :

Does this lady own the house or is she a tenant herself? Do you pay weekly or monthly? Does she hold a deposit and if so how much? Does your agreement describe you as a tenant, licensee or lodger? Is she allowed under your agreement to enter your room? Is there a lock on the door? What restrictions has she imposed? Did you actually have someone else who could take over the room? How has she deprived you of hot water? How was she insulting?

Can you send me the wording of the break clause please?


She owns the house and lives in the house with her husband, and sometime the 38 years old son comes over. we are two tenants (the contracts don't call us tenants though) and we pay cash every four weeks, 500 pounds. We gave her each 500 pounds deposit. The contract is one page long, I m trying to join it to this message


the agreement didn't say anything about her getting into my room, but she refused to give me the key to my room and I made it clear I didn't want her to go into it.


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she pretended there was no key for my room but I know there is one because it was locked when I first came in, and also I don t have a key to the locker of the front door. The restrictions are those: showers allowed between 7 and 9.30 am and 7 and 9.20 pm (apparently it is in relation with the actual access to hot water), loo banned on the second floor after 9.30 pm (because of the noise) so we have to go all the way down (3 floors) and are not allowed to switch on the light (her bedroom door is always ajar and the light of the corridor wakes her up), and believe me the stairs are steep - then we only have a tiny storage space in the fridge and no space in the freezer, and also 24 hours notice if we want to bring anybody (which was on the contract) - but in reality she makes it clear she wants no one home. Once I had a friend staying 2 nights from Germany she charged her 20 pounds a night ! and also I mentioned I wanted to have my boyfriend come over and she started saying: it is not a brothel here and so on in a very insulting way. Now when I said I was unhappy and wanted to leave (one week after I moved in) she did get a call from somebody to take over the room but she didn't want to take him because it was a boy and one the phone he said he had "been sleeping on the floor for two weeks" so she judged him not reliable. She only wants people from the Royal college of music, by the way, I didn't mention that is how I got there. and then I agreed on staying more but she had my room visited afterwards without warning me. regarding hot water, I told her before the Christmas break (mid December) that we had no more hot water, and apparently she didn't believe me because when I came back January 11 it hadn t been fixed and it took two more weeks, as it turned out it was a pump issue. we had access to hot water but with no pressure so we could take baths but no shower - and she found it very inappropriate from us to complain about it and let us know how much the repairs cost her

LondonlawyerJ :

Thankyou for that I will answer you either this evening or tomorrow morning. I hope that is OK.


then my roommate and I have decided to move out together at the end of this week, my roommate is fine as she is getting to the end of what the landlady wants but I m not good yet it seems. And upon knowing that we were going to move together she mailed to my roommate:" the person you will share with might bring in anybody they happen to meet and not knowing how they will be like they might trash the place and then you will have to pay for the damage "- the idea being to make my roommate afraid of moving in with me


sure take your time


thanks!! let me know if you need more info

LondonlawyerJ :

Well that is an appalling situation you are in. Its sounds like something out of the 1930s! You clearly are not a tenant as you do not enjoy exclusive possession of your room (she enters it when she wants, you cannot secure the door, you are unable to bring round guests etc.). You are a licensee (ie a lodger). She had not right to charge for your friend staying over.

As far as the chronology is concerned. Agreement starts 12.09.13. Break clause after 6 months. With 1 month notice period. I am not sure when you gave her notice that you intended to leave. I think it was on or before 12th March as you took about paying up to 12th April.

Her interpretation the break clause is wrong. You could have given notice at any point during your stay as long as it was more than a month before 12th March and then the arrangement would have ended the day your notice expired.

Ie you are entitled to treat your arrangement with her as over as soon as your notice has expired.

She has also clearly breached her obligations to you through failing t provide hot water. There are some restrictions in the written agreement any attempt to add extra ones I outsource the agreement and reduce the usefulness of the room to you. I assume there has been no reduction in rent to reflect this reduced amenity.

It could be argued that her repeated misconduct and lack of hot water has made it impossible for you to use the room in the way intended ie as a place to live and study peacefully and that you are entitled to treat the contract as frustrated (ie null and void) by her. The fact that you have stayed on weakens this argument.

You can of course leave whenever you want but you can reasonably treat your obligation to pay her anything as ending at the end of the 1 month notice period. If you want to leave immediately you can tell her (ideally in writing) that for the reasons set out in your posts to me that you regard her as having breached the contract and made it impossible for you to live there as agreed.

I would suggest that if you do move out this week you give her a letter to the effect set out above and require her to return your deposit (and if you feel bold enough to demand compensation for the distress she has caused, return of the £20.00 and the overpayment of rent up to 28th February). I expect she will not return your deposit etc and you mad need to take action to get it back. You can make a clam in the small claims court and based on what you have told me would have a good chance of success.

If the Royal College of Music is sending people to this lady then perhaps you should tell them what has happened to you.

I hope this answers your question but please feel free to aske further questions. I would also be grateful if you would please rate my service. This will not close the question and I will continue to answer.

LondonlawyerJ and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much, that is helpful! May I have your name to provide as reference for my landlady? Best regards

Anne Catherine Berrut

I am afraid I am not allowed to give you my name.