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‘Lodger’ but not a lodger!

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Author Topic: ‘Lodger’ but not a lodger!  (Read 206 times)
Newbie
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« on: October 23, 2020, 04:20:39 PM »

My boyfriend is in a bit of a predicament - sorry if it’s long!
Last April 2019 he started renting a room in a 2 bed bungalow, the other room is rented out and they share the lounge/kitchen/bathroom.  The owner lives elsewhere.
As an experienced private renter, I encouraged him to request a smoke alarm and gas safety certificate (I know!) but she obviously didn’t appreciate this (although she has now done it).
She wanted to drop off a new ‘contract’ yesterday but my boyfriend was delivering some online training and politely asked her not to come between certain hours.  Her response was along the lines of ‘legally, as a lodger, you cannot dictate when I can and can’t enter the property’ (her and her friend already let themselves in as and when they choose).
This prompted my confusion.  Lodger?  Absolutely not!
Today she was been in and left a new lodger agreement with a rent increase included and it is clear that rights as a lodger are vastly different.
The whole thing seems seriously dodgy!  Rent is weekly by cash only, which he has to leave out for them to let themselves in and collect.  They take pictures of the meters and he gets ‘told off’ if he’s using too much gas/electricity!  (He’s hardly there in between being at mine and working away).  It is furnished but she also has a lot of personal possessions there. 
He is feeling very vulnerable at the moment and she’s asked him if he’s away next week (he is, Monday to Friday) and he’s worried she’ll just change the locks!
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2020, 05:42:38 PM »

If the landlord does not live there,he is not a lodger.Did he start out with a standard AST,and has that now gone onto a periodic tenancy? She most certainly cannot come and go as she pleases.Unless there is an emergency,she should give a minimum 24 hours warning.Even then,this should not be done without a valid reason.He has the right to "quiet enjoyment" as a tenant.
What is going on with the person he shares with-have they had the same experience? If they are leaving,it is possible that the landlord intends moving in,changing the status.I hope he gets receipts for the cash he pays? This sounds like a tax dodge to me.How was his deposit protected?
 
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2020, 05:53:35 PM »

it is possible that the landlord intends moving in,changing the status.

Doesn't matter if the landlord moves in. For the occupier to be lodger, the landlord need to have been living there from the start, and continuously.

Report landlord to HMRC as potentially tax dodging.

Give a council a call and get advice and also give a heads up in case things turn bad.

Don't sign any agreement you don't agree with.

Weekly payable rents requires provision of a rent book.
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2020, 11:57:36 PM »

He’s never had an AST (silly of him!) as he was in such a stressful and predicament and needed somewhere quickly.  It seems he originally had a lodger agreement, which he now can’t find!
There is no rent book and sometimes gets a signature scrawled on the envelope.  Deposit was only £100 and no details have been given about it being protected (highly unlikely!)
In regards to the other tenant, that’s another strange one!  He moved in just after my boyfriend did but it wasn’t long before he wasn’t around anymore.  This guy turns up and leaves his rent every week and his room is left locked and not lived in.  We also don’t think he’s had a rent increase although he currently pays slightly more for a larger room.
He did ring the council yesterday but they said it would be a civil matter and not something they’d get involved in - complete nonsense!
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 01:28:13 AM »

It doesn't matter what the occupation agreement stated. He can't possibly be a lodger when the landlord isn't living in the same property. The landlord can try and argue a licence to occupy and not a tenancy, but if the room has a lock so evidence of exclusive possession, then that shouldn't get very far. If it's a tenancy then, it almost certainly will be an AST whether the landlord like it or not.

Quote
He did ring the council yesterday but they said it would be a civil matter and not something they’d get involved in - complete nonsense!
Make sure it's the tenant relation / housing advice (whatever they calls it) part of the council. Give Shelter a try.
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 09:27:35 AM »

He is de facto a tenant,with all the protection that provides. He has been a bit stupid you know, not demanding receipts or a rent book.There is no way she can change the locks in his absence.He should refuse to sign anything,and send a formal letter giving his reasons.I would agree with above,phone Shelter or CAB before he goes away.He may have been in a bad way when he moved in,but he needs to wise up now and take some responsibility for getting control again.
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2020, 03:44:46 PM »

Thanks all,
He should be receiving a call from his local citizens advice next week sometime.
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 07:45:17 PM »

Just make sure the other person living there is not the landlord's son or something, as that might make a licence legitimate.
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2020, 09:05:30 PM »

The landlord would still need to live in the same building. Just having landlord's family isn't enough.
Newbie
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2020, 10:24:36 PM »

He has actually spoken to the other ‘tenant’ today and he’s said he isn’t getting an increase as she’s well aware that he doesn’t actually live there properly and is just using the address now - this has been the case for 7 or 8 months now.
Currently the other guy pays slightly more as his room is much bigger.  The increase would mean he’d be paying less for a bigger room.  The increase is just over 11% which I think is big - I think it’s just in retaliation for asking for a smoke alarm and a gas safety certificate (how very dare he!)
Newbie
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2020, 12:40:51 AM »

He’s just seen his room advertised on spareroom.co.uk, available Thursday of next week - not a word!
‘Expert’ woman from citizens advice wasn’t sure if he had any rights!!!
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2020, 08:57:49 AM »

Try Shelter.

Contact the council again, tell them that T expect the LL to be attempting to illegally evict him given the ad. If they try "civil" again, point out that (attempt or actual) illegal eviction is a criminal offence, and the council is the relevant authority responsible for stopping / prosecuting it.
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2020, 10:13:10 AM »

I think I would report her to the council,query where my deposit is protected (I do hope he has proof that he paid one) contact the Inland revenue,then look for somewhere else to live.Regardless of his rights,this is a miserable situation to live in.
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