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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 24639
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I have been invited to live in a friend's property

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I have been invited to live in a friend's property rent-free. Is it legal to do it or is it necessary to make a tenancy agreement for a small amount?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: None
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: My friend owns the property and it is not his main home

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Will you be paying something to stay?

what about bills / council tax?

and why rent free?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
No, we won't be paying anything. We will officially register at this address and will move our BT contract there. We are okay to pay the council tax or split it with the owner, because we will be officially residing there. Why rent free - because he has an empty apartment and we need to move out from our current rental as there are construction works going on that will continue for the next year. We just don't know what is the correct legal way to register at a friend's address by his invite. We do not want to cause any unwanted issues for him or us.
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
basically we don't know if it is legal to invite someone to live and register in your property for free
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Oh, I forgot to add that we are not British citizens but we have pre-settled status until 2024. We re thinking for applying for settled status
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
at some point we will want to have a way to prove that we were living at this address but don't know if just registering there and moving our broadband bill and pay the council tax will be enough or there should be some formal agreement between us and our friend, the owner of the apartment

It’s perfectly legal for you to live in the property rent free.

It’s then perfectly legal for him to lock you out because he doesn’t want you in the property any more.

If you are a lodger and your friend lives in the property he would only have to give you one months notice even if you paid rent.  There is no way around that if he lives in the property.  You need a notification in that case of paying a nominal rent, 1 pound, every month and the rent needs to be paid.  But it only gives you one month security and then he could lock you out after giving you one month notice.

Otherwise if he doesn’t live in the property you need a tenancy agreement, Assured Short hold Tenancy, at a monthly rental of 1 pound.

You would need to speak to someone else about your immigration status and whether you were entitled to rent property in the UK because that’s a completely different issue.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Thank you for your fast reply! I do have additional questions really, I will be very grateful if you can reply:
We won't be there all the time and we are definitely not concerned that he will evict us without notice. Can we register at this address without a letting agreement? Because if he officially lets the property to us, he should register as a landlord, pay taxes on it and so on. He does not intent to rent this property in the future, he will use it himself. Is there any other type of official agreement that we can create other than Tenancy agreement? Or can we move there without any agreement and just pay the bills?

There is no legal obligation to have a letting agreement and you can use it as your address for correspondence and paperwork and official documentation et cetera et cetera even if you don’t have a tenancy agreement.

Some local authorities require landlords to register themselves in the property as landlords but they don’t need to do that if you are merely caretaking the property and you have no tenancy agreement and no rent which it seems you are happy not to have.

I would suggest however that you did need to transfer all the bills into your name so that you are liable for them and not him.

There are no unforeseen problems here

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Thank you! Your answer is very helpful.So in order to register at this address, we won't need any tenancy agreement, that is great, but when we register at the local council, do we have to show them some other type of document or is it enough just to inform them that we are starting to live there. And also if we don't have any type of agreement can we later prove that we have been residing at this address for the time that we were there?
About the bills - yes, we will transfer them so that too can be a proof of address I think.

The council may or may not ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement but there are dozens of them available on the Internet and you can just fill in your name and address and get the landlord to sign it.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Oh, okay then. Thank you!

It was my pleasure to assist you. Please come back if anything else crops up and needs clarification.
Thank you for trusting Just Answer, and of course me,  with your legal problem.

Stuart J and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
You have been very helpful, thanks again!