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Violation of lodgers agreement

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« on: August 08, 2021, 10:55:56 PM »

Hi guys. New here. So my gf moved to the country recently from colombia and it appears she has been taken advantage of by her landlord.

She recently ended her agreement paying £850 incl bills for a 2 bed property in London. Her landlord has asked for another £500 on top of her £850 deposit, for damages that are ridiculous. Such as a wobbly toilet seat that needs tightening and a window handle in a common space that is loose. Asking £150 for each of these. Stains on a carpet that he wants to fully replace without any cleaning first and a new bed as the original frame does not support the mattress properly and is slanted.

I have just realised that she signed a lodgers agreement not a tenancy when this started. Now she has been living there with another rent paying individual who was also put into a lodgers agreement. The landlord visited once or twice to use the common spaces and she never knew why until of course explaining this ridiculous agreement.

Of course he has NOT protected her deposit under scheme as you do not need to under a lodgers agreement.

Given that the lodger agreement is null and void in this instance am I right in saying a legal claim could be made against the landlord for illegal tenancy + holding of ‘deposit’.

I feel like there should even be compensation due here, not just the deposit back! Hes clearly taking advantage of internationals and seems to be quite a sneaky and horrible person. Would originally have let this go if he gave the deposit back but now want to pursue this fully. Any advice would be awsome.

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2021, 10:38:22 AM »

If the document she signed was clearly shown to be for lodgers,then I doubt if any penalties or compensation would arise.Unfortunately being a sneaky and horrible person is not an actual crimeThis is a good thing I suppose, as the prisons are already over -crowded..In her position I would contest the demand for extra payment (assuming that she has proof that the place was in the same state when she moved in) She can go online to make a claim for her deposit using the Small Claims Court system. It is not expensive,but it does not guarantee she will get her money back.It could however result in him getting a CCJ. 
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 11:24:37 AM »

The OP has written that the Landlord "has asked" which makes me infer it has not been paid. Simply refuse to pay anything extra.

Then I would probably move on.

I took a bit of time to understand why the OP suddenly concluded that - "Given that the lodger agreement is null and void..." - and I obviously concluded the same as him, in that as the Landlord visited now and then, and obviously didn't reside there (but one assumes was paying Council Tax and utilities) then it's really a tenancy.

While I agree, the reason why I'd probably just move on is because it's not clear-cut or easy... you can have a Deposit with a Lodger setup, of course... it's not illegal to do so, you just don't have to protect it... and you would obviously need to get a third party with power to enforce something to agree there was actually a tenancy and any Deposit taken wasn't protected, therefore there's compo. due. My reasoning behind my advice is that this third party is obviously a Court. I realise the OP says they want to pursue this fully... so they may well be prepared to do this... but I'd just move on, myself. Who wants to go to Court?

Actually... I might contemplate writing up my own Letter Before Action... laying out the case, saying (kinda true) that you've "taken advice" and then ask for a gesture from the ex-Landlord to avoid a Court case... and see if it frightens them into doing anything. You never know, for the price of half-an-hour writing up an email or a real letter... you might get something from it. The ex-Landlord might be sneaky and horrible... we can't say that... it may be the case that the ex-Landlord is unaware and just flying by the seat of his pants... not good either, but a different situation.
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2021, 02:07:56 PM »

I agree it costs nothing to send a letter,it might just have some effect. I doubt it though.There have been many landlords and tenants on here who felt justifiably angry,seeking compensation/revenge/justice. Sadly,a lot of the cases involve behaviour which is  illegal and immoral,but would still end up  classified as civil.It is very hard to accept,but often the only realistic reaction is to walk away. Even if money is awarded, getting it handed over is another  frustration. Lawyers just love clients who want to see fair play.At least the small claims is affordable if you decide to give it just one shot. 
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2021, 02:28:52 PM »

Thanks for your replies thus far.

To clarify the landlord already holds the £850 deposit and he is refusing to return this and asking for a greater contribution. Yes we could walk on but that would be at the loss of £850.

I guess the best chance is to write a letter regarding the agreement being illegitimate as the landlord was not living at the property and then secondly stating that his costs are exaggerated.

At best this could leas to a partial return of the £850 though?
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2021, 03:03:46 PM »

If the document she signed was clearly shown to be for lodgers,then I doubt if any penalties or compensation would arise.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... then it's a duck, regardless of what the paperwork says. If that were not the case, half the landlords in the country (and a fair few of the poulterers) would be trying this trick. The courts generally take a dim view of landlords trying to frustrate the intent of legislation whose purpose is to protect the rights of tenants. The tricky bit is being able to demonstrate that the duck does indeed quack. It's feasible, but it's just enough of a grey area to make the no-win no-fee brigade steer clear.
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2021, 03:06:56 PM »

It's your own calculation as to costs, time and effort... vs. reward.

No-one has given you the silver bullet you need to just force the ex-Landlord to capitulate in a shivering mess and hand over the money you believe is owed. Why? Because it doesn't exist. We have outlined there is a way you can instigate something that might have an effect... but probably only if the ex-Landlord is not particularly shady (as you imply)... if they're kinda unaware of what they're doing then they might be frightened into giving you some money to go away... if they're an underworld kingpin it's very unlikely they'll be swayed.

The only other route I can think of is a no-win-no-fee Solicitor... but that will really only penalise the ex-Landlord... your 'winnings' will likely be consumed.

I think it's why we're saying it's in your own interests (although it might not feel like it at all) to move on. I think I've said this to many people... we go through life learning, we have experiences that sit badly with us and we do not make the same mistakes again... consider this an expensive course your girlfriend took. In five years you won't be thinking of this, I guarantee it. In the grand scheme of things it's small beer.
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2021, 03:08:15 PM »

I have just read the comment about no-win-no-fee and how unlikely that is.
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2021, 04:50:45 PM »

To be honest I wasn’t really looking for a silver bullet just trying to get an opinion on whether or not his let is technically illegal?

2 bedrooms. 2 tenants, the second moved in after her. Both in a lodgers agreement. No space for the landlord. Thus its no longer a lodgers agreement. So technically there is no framework for holding a deposit informally and it becomes a tenancy instead?

Getting a solicitor etc is too long to be honest. But just looking for a mediator on specific grounds such as DPS to intervene if i contact them.

Will just speak to citizens advice / no win no fee just for insight and let you guys know.



It's your own calculation as to costs, time and effort... vs. reward.

No-one has given you the silver bullet you need to just force the ex-Landlord to capitulate in a shivering mess and hand over the money you believe is owed. Why? Because it doesn't exist. We have outlined there is a way you can instigate something that might have an effect... but probably only if the ex-Landlord is not particularly shady (as you imply)... if they're kinda unaware of what they're doing then they might be frightened into giving you some money to go away... if they're an underworld kingpin it's very unlikely they'll be swayed.

The only other route I can think of is a no-win-no-fee Solicitor... but that will really only penalise the ex-Landlord... your 'winnings' will likely be consumed.

I think it's why we're saying it's in your own interests (although it might not feel like it at all) to move on. I think I've said this to many people... we go through life learning, we have experiences that sit badly with us and we do not make the same mistakes again... consider this an expensive course your girlfriend took. In five years you won't be thinking of this, I guarantee it. In the grand scheme of things it's small beer.
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2021, 05:12:35 PM »

It wouldn't involve the DPS, though.

It's not their bag, at all. I mean... you're saying it should have been (or a Scheme). But it wasn't. So they would never intervene. They know nothing at all of it.
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2021, 06:27:36 PM »

Is the landlord an agency ? If so the below case may be of interest.

Islington based letting agents, Green Live Limited, granted “sham” licences to tenants. The use of a “licence” suggested that tenants were not offered the usual protections, for example, the requirement to provide two months’ notice to vacate pursuant to s21 Housing Act 1988 or have their tenancy deposits protected within a Government authorised scheme pursuant to s212 Housing Act 2004.

Because a letting agency is a business engaging in a “commercial practice” to “consumers”, Islington Council sought a prosecution under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Under the Regulations, a commercial practice is considered to be “unfair” if it is a misleading action which is satisfied under Regulation 5(2):

It contains false information and is therefore untruthful; or its overall presentation in any way deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer, even if the information is factually correct; and
It causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision he would not have taken otherwise.

 Conviction for the Directors and their bank account was £20K lighter.

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