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south_london_male
17-01-2009, 15:37 PM
Dear all the members of LandlordZONE Forums

I have this situation and I would appreciate if any one can help me or advise me for what to do: more than 5 years ago I joined some one at her Housing Association flat , before I moved in ,I have obtained the permission from HA and they added me on the rent book as authorised occupant and I took the letter from them and went to the council and added my name there and I pay the council tax since then , her name and my name on the council tax book , a while ago he left the country to go back to her native country for some personal matters and I carried out paying the rent through standing order through her bank account , the rent is paid on time and even in credit , last week the HA came for some repairs at the flat and I informed them that I live there and she is not around for a while , they told me that she has to leave as she is not here any more for a while and I have to leave as well,, next day they sent letter for her name and all in occupation to leave in 4 weeks time ,, I have sent them asking them to take over the tenancy , but today they sent me refusal letter and also giving me the same notice period,, they said if I do not leave by the end of the notice they will take me to court
My questions are: Do I have any rights to stay in? do I wait for them to take me to court ? How long the court decisions normally take? Would that be considered as criminal record if the court decided that I have to leave? also if I have to pay the cost for the court how much that could be?
All ideas and help will be appreciated

Beeber
17-01-2009, 16:51 PM
In addition to this forum, you will also find Shelter an excellent source of expert advise - they have a free helpline for this. See their advice on homelessness and how to get support and advice for your impending eviction from your local council.

The way I understand it, the tenancies for some social housing tenants is that they can have lodgers if they seek and gain permission from them. Lodgers (also known as excluded occupiers) have little rights and occupy a legal status little more than being a guest with virtually no protection from eviction.

Social housing tenancies also tend to have clauses in them which mean that the actual tenant (the one who has signed the contract with them) has to
occupy it as their primary residence and notify them of absences of more than x period and social housing providers tend to evict them if they breach this.

As far as I am aware, the potential breach of the tenancy agreement by your friend and the eviction process by the HA is a civil matter (basically, they are enforcing the terms of their contract through the court) and is not a criminal offence.

Sorry I can't advise you on the rest of your queries but someone on this forum may have greater knowledge in this area.

south_london_male
17-01-2009, 16:58 PM
Many thanks beeber, I appreciate your help and advice

Preston
17-01-2009, 17:19 PM
Dear all the members of LandlordZONE Forums

I have this situation and I would appreciate if any one can help me or advise me for what to do: more than 5 years ago I joined some one at her Housing Association flat , before I moved in ,I have obtained the permission from HA and they added me on the rent book as authorised occupant and I took the letter from them and went to the council and added my name there and I pay the council tax since then , her name and my name on the council tax book , a while ago he left the country to go back to her native country for some personal matters and I carried out paying the rent through standing order through her bank account , the rent is paid on time and even in credit , last week the HA came for some repairs at the flat and I informed them that I live there and she is not around for a while , they told me that she has to leave as she is not here any more for a while and I have to leave as well,, next day they sent letter for her name and all in occupation to leave in 4 weeks time ,, I have sent them asking them to take over the tenancy , but today they sent me refusal letter and also giving me the same notice period,, they said if I do not leave by the end of the notice they will take me to court
My questions are: Do I have any rights to stay in? do I wait for them to take me to court ? How long the court decisions normally take? Would that be considered as criminal record if the court decided that I have to leave? also if I have to pay the cost for the court how much that could be?
All ideas and help will be appreciated

Hi

This is actually quite a common situation. First of all, can I assume that your friend - the tenant - is an ordinary assured tenant of the flat? If she is, she should have a tenancy agreement which says so. If she isn't, please say what kind of tenancy she has; if you don't know, some more digging will be needed.

As an assured tenant, it is a requirement of the agreement that she occupies the premises as her only or principal home. Its really important to understand that this does not mean that she has to be there all the time - she can be away for very long spells - but this must be the place that she treats as her main residence. And ultimately, if tested, she must be able to prove this to a court. (Interestingly, one of the leading cases on the issue of only or principal home was a housing association tenant who was sent to prison for life for murder, but who was still held to be in occupation of his home!)

If she has ceased to occupy as her only or principal home, the Association can give her a notice to quit that will end her tenancy, usually after four weeks- this is probably the notice you have referred to, but it would be worth giving more details to be sure. If she has not ceased to occupy as her only or principal home, then the NTQ will have no effect whatsoever. Provided you are there with her permission you can carry on living there until she asks you to leave. The Association cannot evict you until they have ended her tenancy.

So, it might be worth giving a bit more information on where she has gone, why and for how long and on the notice you have received.

Preston

south_london_male
17-01-2009, 17:40 PM
Preston thanks a million for your answer
Yes she is assured tenant, my friend moved to another country in Europ , where she came from originally for some personal issues , mostly looking after her very sick parents , she moved on the ground she can come back at any time and this why we did not even bother to change the arrangement of the way we were paying the rent ( through her bank standing order , we were not hiding anything from the HA ,, as I was their on the tenancy agreement contract as an authorised to be there .
Now my friend does not want to have any legal issues ,, or to the court and she is not ready to fight for this legal issue , as she is away any way and has more important issues to deal with , now it is all about myself.. do I have any rights to live there? Does it worth to fight for? Does it worth going to the court and what damage that can cause to me? I gave them my reasons for why I think I should take over the tenancy , baring in mind I am there for very long time and keeping al the payment in order , I can get my neighbour in the building who said they are ready to give their opinion about how good and helpful neighbour I am ,, I gave them some reasons as medical issues as permanent very high blood pressure and suffering from liver and kidney issues ( do the medical issues stand as good ground if I go to court ) the strange thing the whole mater and the decision took from them less than 2-3 days
So my main concern is do I have rights and ground to fight for the flat which is convenient for my life work condition or should I go and look for some where else to live?

Beeber
17-01-2009, 18:50 PM
You may find your friend can get the HA to withdraw their legal action if she spends a few minutes calling them to update them on her personal circumstances, offering to provide proof of them, such as a letter from her parents doctor, for example. She should keep a record of her discussions with them and any letters she sends them.

Try to persuade her of the merits of this, even though she is demoralised, pointing out diplomatically that she is effectively making both of you homeless and that if the HA is satisfied with the explanation, they could actually be sympathetic, that they are only taking this action because they are ignorant of the circumstances.

Perhaps someone on this forum could confirm whether she needs to be present in person at the court case or can instruct a solicitor to argue her case for her?

Your circumstances may point out a great moral and social case to takeover the tenancy but that will not necessarily have any influence on the legality of their action. Someone on the forum may be able to advise if your medical problems could mean that you may be granted extra time.

Prior to civil partnerships that gave a couple a legally recognised partnership, Social Housing organisations often evicted the long-term partners of same sex relationships when the named tenant died, even if they lived in the property with them for decades. Recently in Glasgow, a HA made plans to evict a young teenage orphan after the death of her mother rather than let her adult brother move into the property with her (subsequently resolved in some manner after an outcry).

however, when you do read up on the information on the Shelter website on applying as homeless with the local council because of the impending eviction, as they prioritise those in medical need.

south_london_male
17-01-2009, 19:58 PM
Many thanks Beeber:
I will try to convince her to phone them .. despite she was clear about that point , that she does not want to spend time in this matter and this why I am seeking some advice here, I am not sure what chances I can get with the local council .. as I am single one and also have full time permanent job,, do I get classified as homeless with the evection letter? I have contacted the council, but unfortunately they gave me appointment to come to see them on very close date to the eviction date, also I have contacted the CAB and same happened the date for the appointment o have the legal advice is very close to that date ,, and my concern now to know shall I wait and do not go and wait for the court date ? and if they took me to court ,, how long that would take ?.. and if the court decided I have to leave then what sort of the cost I have to pay (HA stated in the letter they sent to me that they would claim court cost if they have to go to court)

Preston
17-01-2009, 20:29 PM
So my main concern is do I have rights and ground to fight for the flat which is convenient for my life work condition or should I go and look for some where else to live?


Hi, thanks for clarifying those points.

Unfortuntely, if the tenant does not want to be involved, then your position is very vulnerable. Its quite interesting, because the situation you describe is, in my view, one in which the tenant would have a good chance of justifying a prolonged absence. In other words, if I went away to look after very sick relatives for a period of time I could quite legitimately regard my original home as my principal home, even if I spent very little time there over a prolonged period. There would come a point when the the shear length of time I had been absent would undermine my claim and there is no easy way to define exactly when this would be, but it could very easily be some months or even years.

So, this issue aside, I have to say that your chances of persuading the Association to allow you to become the tenant are, I would imagine, very slim. Most Associations have very long waiting lists and cannot be seen to allow people to "jump the queue".

With regard to Beeber's comments, I think she raises some good points. Firstly, you really do need the support of the tenant to get anywhere with preserving her right to occupy.

Secondly, if she is your partner then the situation could be different in a few respects, so if this is the case then you would need to confirm in order to receive some further advice.

On a slightly separate note, your medical issues may place some obligation on the local authority to accommodate you should you become homeless. The key issue is whether they are sufficiently serious for you to be described as "vulnerable" in a housing context. In brief, this means that you would find it much more difficult than the average person to sort out housing for yourself. If this is the case, then the local authority would have to help you find somewhere to live if ever you became homeless unintentionally.

Strictly speaking, your medical circumstances give you no further rights in your current accommodation at all. However, if the local authority believe that they will have to rehouse you if you are evicted, they may - just may - be willing to put some pressure on the Association to allow you to stay.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Preston

south_london_male
17-01-2009, 20:42 PM
Many thanks Preston , you and beeber are very helpful ,, I wil talk to my friend again and try to convince her to contact HA ,, and at same time I wil check my chances with the Council , many thanks for taking such time for looking into this ,, I hope you both and if some one else willing to give me the estimation of how long the case can take if it goes to court ,, I mean the minimum time , as I find it very difficult to find and to move to another accomodation ,, also I had an offer from one of the neighbour in the same building ( not sure if he wil be able to do it any way or not ) to move to his flat to take one of the rooms there .. I wil move only if the HA aggreed to put me on the book as authorised occupant ,, so do you think they would agree for that? also do you think if it would be problem if we ask them to put my name as joint tenants in this case ( if he agrees to do so )? in this case if they approve then I wil not need to wait til they take me to court ..etc ( I do not want to make them angry with me ) so what do you think ,, you both seem have great knowledge regarding housing issues