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View Full Version : Violence between co-tenants; what rent due if 1 leaves?



JackWhite
10-11-2005, 02:47 AM
BACKGROUND

I own my flat and that is where I live with my girlfriend. When my girlfriend moved into my flat two years ago our relationship was uncertain so we drew up an EXTREMELY BASIC letter of agreement where she agrees to pay me rent. I don't understand the phrase below at all but I found it on the Net and cut & pasted into the agreement in case it helped !!!
"this is intended to create an Assured Shorthold tenancy as defined in section 20 of the Housing Act 1988. This means that the provisions for the recovery of possession by the landlord contained in section 21 of the Act (as amended by Section 99 of the Housing Act 1960) apply."
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

We have never ever hit the other person. However, yesterday, in an otherwise cool-tempered conversation yesterday she punched me in the head with all the force she could manage and then stormed out. She was enraged that I admired some celebrity. I called the police because I thought I might get more of this violence when I am unguarded. That night she went to stay with her parents for the time being and she left her keys to my flat with me.

A few weeks ago I had asked her informally to find somewhere else to live. She has been looking for somewhere else. I did not give her formal notice because I wanted her to have enough time to find somewhere suitable.

I reckon she may send a van round to collect her belongings this coming weekend.

QUESTION FOR YOU GUYS

(1) Does her violent behaviour constitute sufficient grounds to assume that she has given me notice or to have broken the tenancy agreement? The only thing about behaviour in our basic rental agreement says this:


"Your obligation is to use the property for residential purposes only and not to cause nuisance or annoyance to others."
(2) What period of rent would she owe me if she left in this way? She pays me fortnightly a few days before the fortnight expires so she effectively she pays in arrears. Next period is Mon 31 Oct to Sun 13 Nov. Presumably she would owe me a month's rent?

(3) I have little hope of any payment once she has taken her belongings. Do I have any rights to keep her belongings until she pays all outstanding rent?

Thanks for any advice.

Jack

MrShed
10-11-2005, 02:53 AM
Quite a difficult situation!! And also a lesson to be learned that even close friends or family should be given a suitable tenancy agreement to sign!

In response to your questions:

1) No. In order for it to have any effect, she would have to be convicted of the offence.....even then, I am not entirely sure what effect this would have, but it would definitely have zero effect unless she was convicted.

2) See part 1.

3) No. simple as. Her belongings have nothing to do with any outstanding rent etc unless it is EXPLICITLY written into the agreement.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

*EDIT*

However, I have just re-read what you have said. You are the owner, and so you can ignore everything I have put above, I will leave it in for future reference if anyone asks a similar question. As such she is classed as a lodger, regardless of any tenancy agreement. You need not give any notice etc....just change the locks when she is out! She owes you no rent, however this is a small price to pay!

Hope this helps.

JackWhite
10-11-2005, 03:38 AM
Quite a difficult situation!! And also a lesson to be learned that even close friends or family should be given a suitable tenancy agreement to sign!

In response to your questions:

1) No. In order for it to have any effect, she would have to be convicted of the offence.....even then, I am not entirely sure what effect this would have, but it would definitely have zero effect unless she was convicted.

2) See part 1.

3) No. simple as. Her belongings have nothing to do with any outstanding rent etc unless it is EXPLICITLY written into the agreement.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!
*EDIT*

However, I have just re-read what you have said. You are the owner! And as such she is classed as a lodger, regardless of any tenancy agreement. You need not give any notice etc....just change the locks when she is out! She owes you no rent, however this is a small price to pay!

Hope this helps.

MrShed, thank you very much for the reply. To be honest I am mixed up by all the different types of tenancy agreements out there.

I need to add that two years ago, at the time my girlfriend and I drew up an agreement, I was NOT the owner of the flat. I was a tenant in it and I effectively sublet it. I think that technically I was a tenant of the landlord and so was my girlfriend. However in December last year I bought the flat outright. We share all facilities in the flat - kitchen, living room, bathroom, etc.

(This is the complicated detail which may or may not be relevant now ----> The flat half-belonged to my previous girlfriend and I too was a half-owner. However my name did not appear on any paperwork at all although I paid half the cost of the mortgage and half the deposit. I did not pay my former girlfriend any rent but maybe I was still a tenant. Oh it's too complicated to sort this out now after the event!)

QUESTION: Would my purchase of the flat mean that my girlfriend would have had a new (implied) agreement but this time as my lodger? Or would I have acquired a sitting tenant in the form of my girlfriend?

You suggest I only need to change the locks and that is all. But in fact I will probably NOT look for another tenant so I would much prefer that my violent girlfriend pay me rent for as long as I can legally demand it. QUESTION: What would be the longest I could legitimately claim rent for?

Unfortunately, our agreement does not mention that I can keep her goods for non-payment of rent. QUESTION: Do I have to permit her parents to come into my own flat without my girlfriend and take her belongings with them? They turned up tonight and asked to be let in but I said it was my home and I was refusing them entry. I said that my girlfriend would have a right of access and that she was the only one I would permit to come in. In fact, I would like the girlfriend to apologise for her outrageous violent behaviour but that is another matter.

Your advice was very helpful and I would welcome any further input from you or anyone else here.

Jack


PS: I saw you private messaged me but I fumbled with the technology for too long trying to get it working!

RichieP
10-11-2005, 08:59 AM
The more you try to pursue the rent, the more you are creating yourself problems, as she may try to remain in the property and force your hand to go the legal route. If her parents turn up for her belongings, welcome them in, help them pack them up and wave them goodbye. Change the locks immediately.

Is it really worth it for the sake of a couple of weeks rent? Write it off and put it down to experience.

"There's plenty more fish in the sea lad." :o

MrShed
10-11-2005, 09:29 AM
OK let me clarify by saying bluntly basically what I have put above :p

- She is a LODGER. Whether you were previously a tenant, your ex-girlfriend was previously an owner, or you previously lived on the moon, does not change this. It is the current situation which matters.

- If you want her out, and you obviously do, then you can, but she owes you ZERO rent, and you are dwelling too much on this! *EDIT* sorry I may be wrong. She may in fact owe you one months rent. However, it is not really worth pursuing IMO. And I believe, as you have no detailed written agreement, that you would find it difficult to win this case in court. Not impossible, but it would be tricky.

- You must return her belongings. However, she must pick them up within a reasonable time period, and you must give her notice to pick them up within this time period. Someone else has stated on here before that you should store them for 3 months, however I think this is too long personally, I would say 6-8 weeks. You do not have to let her parents in, but why not? You are resisting far too much all of this.

Just forget the rent, let them in to collect the belongings, and that is it! Stop resisting it so much! For someone who is worried about the possibility of more violence, you are dwelling a lot on small things which could keep the girl involved, and hence the possibility of violence, in close proximity.

Energise
10-11-2005, 10:39 AM
I have recently come across this info;

Marveen Smith:

"If your rent is £25,000 per year or less then by law he must give you a minimum of 2 months notice by serving a Section 21 notice on you. This must end either on the last day of the fixed term of the tenancy or at the end of a period of the tenancy which is usually the day before the rent is due. The only time this changes is if the landlord lives in the property with you and even then, must give you a minimum of 4 weeks notice or one period of the tenancy if you pay monthly, whichever is the longer. Do not move out under any condition and go and see the Citzens Advice Bureau or your local housing department who will help you enforce your rights."

MrShed
10-11-2005, 10:42 AM
I assume the "he" is referring to the landlord energise?

And how can that be right....I thought lodgers had no rights as to notice etc??

RichieP
10-11-2005, 10:49 AM
Just because she is technically a lodger doesn't mean she can't be made a tenant by issuing an AST. I used to work in a hostel where the "residents" were on licences. The Housing Corp in their wisdom wanted them all to be issued AST's and made "tenants", although they were actually licencees because of the type of accommodation.
It is possible to give someone more rights than they are really entitled to by entering into the more secure contract.

Energise
10-11-2005, 11:04 AM
I assume the "he" is referring to the landlord energise?

Yes "he" being the landlord.

And how can that be right....I thought lodgers had no rights as to notice etc??

Yes its contrary to what I thought as well !

MrShed
10-11-2005, 11:05 AM
How bizarre! I think we all need to sit and wait for PaulF to clarify, like students waiting for the teacher :p

dazalock
10-11-2005, 11:14 AM
Energise, could you e-mail Marveen and clarify the article you have found?

Energise
10-11-2005, 11:42 AM
Its from here;

http://tinyurl.com/awwzd

MrShed
10-11-2005, 11:59 AM
For an out and out lodger, I do not believe this applies anyway(she states the "tenancy" and obviously a standard lodger has no tenancy). However, certain circumstances can allow a resident landlord of a TENANT, and presumably issues such as the one mentioned by Richie can also crop up. The question is here whether the OP's girlfriend is actually purely and simply a lodger, or whether she is more than that due to the basic agreement signed - obviously I believed she was just a lodger, but Richie's post has made me reconsider.

Jack, could you tell us the exact wording of this agreement she signed?

MrShed
10-11-2005, 12:03 PM
Curiouser and curiouser! Energise have you read the next question on that link? She actually contradicts herself:


If the landlord shares the property with you ...... security of tenure is dependent on the terms of the tenancy agreement.

dazalock
10-11-2005, 12:06 PM
Thanks, Ive e-mailed her :eek:

Energise
10-11-2005, 12:16 PM
Curiouser and curiouser! Energise have you read the next question on that link? She actually contradicts herself:


Hopefully daza can clarify if he gets a response :confused:

JackWhite
10-11-2005, 23:37 PM
For an out and out lodger, I do not believe this applies anyway(she states the "tenancy" and obviously a standard lodger has no tenancy). However, certain circumstances can allow a resident landlord of a TENANT, and presumably issues such as the one mentioned by Richie can also crop up. The question is here whether the OP's girlfriend is actually purely and simply a lodger, or whether she is more than that due to the basic agreement signed - obviously I believed she was just a lodger, but Richie's post has made me reconsider.

Jack, could you tell us the exact wording of this agreement she signed?

Hi MrShed. As requested, quoted below is the full text of the agreement. Don't tell me it is pretty crummy and I am learning that more and more! I should say that my girlfriend (I guess that needs to be "ex-girlfriend") will probably send someone to collect her things so the actual legal interpretation of her status may soon be academic. However it is a real life situation and therefore it may warrant attention from those here with a specialist interest and who like to wrestle with a puzzle until it yields! (If you see what I mean).

The agreement says one thing about payments and their period. In practise we made the real-world situation different. For convenience I will repeat what I posted before: she paid me fortnightly a few days before the fortnight expired. So she effectively paid in arrears. The next period is Mon 31 Oct to Sun 13 Nov. There is no security deposit.

Here is the agreement:


This is to make clear the payments and conditions of rental for {address}.

The period of rent starts from {date} and the rent is £x per week to be paid in advance every four weeks. Interest may be charged on late payments. The security deposit is four weeks rent and will be returned in full if the flat is vacated in good order. It will be used to pay for any damage, cleaning, outstanding accounts and replacement keys/locks beyond normal wear and tear.

The rent includes furnishings (see inventory), garage, and buildings insurance.

The rent does not include water, gas, electric, phone, council tax, and contents insurance.

Your obligation is to keep the property in good order and to use the property for residential purposes only and not to cause nuisance or annoyance to others. No pets may be kept.

The rental is for sharing a flat with one other.

Any overnight guests must be agreed in advance.

Please note that this is intended to create an Assured Shorthold tenancy as defined in section 20 of the Housing Act 1988. This means that the provisions for the recovery of possession by the landlord contained in section 21 of the Act (as amended by Section 99 of the Housing Act 1960) apply.
And in my defence for such a brief agreement, I will remind any vocal critics that it was between two people who were partners. :-)

Jack

dazalock
11-11-2005, 17:25 PM
Ive recieved a e-mail from Marveen

"It depends upon the relationship. In theory a lodger can be thrown out but it
would be very difficult legally and a resident landlord where a preoperty is
converted must give Notice to Quit which isd the time scale the article stated."

Clear? :confused:

Energise
12-11-2005, 13:02 PM
Ive recieved a e-mail from Marveen

"It depends upon the relationship. In theory a lodger can be thrown out but it
would be very difficult legally and a resident landlord where a preoperty is
converted must give Notice to Quit which isd the time scale the article stated."

Clear? :confused:


That's sorted then :(

RichieP
12-11-2005, 19:35 PM
Where's Daytona when you need him to come charging on his high horse?

MrShed
12-11-2005, 21:21 PM
I heard said horse was at a chiropractor due to heavy weights from Daytona's massive ego

SteveP
16-11-2005, 00:28 AM
I think the answer is simple.....sort of.

Only a court can decide. The fact that one shares facilities with a landlord does not of itself preclude a tenancy, The main difference between a licence and a tenancy is “exclusive possession” of at least one room. A tenancy entitles a tenant “exclusive possession” a licence gives them permission from the landlord to occupy it.

If the girl can argue that she had her own bedroom for example and the court looks at the agreement that was made they may well conclude that she is a tenant with an AST.

Given that this is supremely messy I would suggest that whilst looking at the written agreement, which on the surface is an AST, they would also consider what the intentions of the parties were when the agreement was made. They may well accept that this couple had no idea that they were creating a tenancy, as against a licence, but equally they might conclude that this was intended to ensure the girlfriend enjoyed the same security as the boyfriend who was already a tenant.

Best to let her have her stuff back, let her parents collect it, be nice, forget the money, and learn a lesson. Going to court is not in your interests.