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Awol
28-03-2009, 18:15 PM
Just wondering if anyone can shed some legal light on a situation for us?

Our son bought a house, with our help and O.H's name on mortgage too.

To make ends meet he had a lodger - which worked out perfectly. Eventually the lodger married and moved on, they are still in contact and best of friends. As son was looking now for a new lodger he told him of someone he vaguely knew who was looking for accommodation.

As son needed a lodger to help out financially, this other person moved in. The rent was kept low, same as before, and includes all bills plus community charge. We didn't take ANY deposit etc - as we hadn't with the first lodger and all had been fine - him paying monthly and giving son a months notice when he was leaving.

However.....first problem came when new lodger would NOT do Direct Debit for the rent and insisted on paying weekly. Then he would fall behind with his rent and son would have to leave notes reminding him.

It soon became clear that he was spending less and less time there but seemed to think that he didn't have to pay rent. Eventually he said he was moving out..by which time he owed 5 weeks back rent. We realised that he had been moving out some of his stuff, as he works shifts.

I phoned him last week and explained that he owed 5 weeks rent ...and then he could collect the rest of his stuff. He apologised..and said that he could only afford half the weekly sum but would put it through sons door each week for next 9 weeks - I said ok but as soon as he defaulted I would go to CAB and take legal action...and he said there would be no need for that. Needless to say....this is the first week..and no money has been left.

Can anybody please tell me where I stand.

snakeeyes21
28-03-2009, 18:34 PM
hi.
with lodgers theres not normally a contract.
was a contract signed? if there was and you know his new address the only option is to go via the courts.
if theres no contract theres no proof there was an agreement for rent to be paid.
tell your son to pack the guys stuff, give him 48 hours to collect it before its put out on the street.
tell your son to change the locks.
next time get a deposit and a contract drawn up

Awol
28-03-2009, 18:51 PM
:o No..unfortunately there was no contract..something that we will DEFINITELY look into another time.

I told him that I didn't WANT to have to go through his personal affects but until he paid I would have to and would be storing it as son needs to re rent the room. He said ok.

So are you saying that by law we don't have a leg to stand on....just give him 48hours to collect his stuff and thats that and he gets away scott free? We are not allowed to sell any of his stuff to recoup rent?

I'm sure he was 'showing' on the community charge bill that my son was paying..is that not enough evidence that he was living there?

mind the gap
28-03-2009, 18:59 PM
To some extent it depends how much mental energy (and money) you want to spend on this. Yes, he owes you money. How easy will it be to get it back unless he gives you it voluntarily? Not very. What would it involve to get it back otherwise ? A court hearing, which may rule in your favour (assuming you can prove he was living there as a lodger and he cannot prove he paid you the rent...all a bit complicated by the sound of it, in the absence of a contract), but if he has no money, he won't be paying you any back, will he?

My advice would be to make a clean break - give him his stuff back or store it out of the house, supply him with the details for collection, change the locks after 48 hours. Then move on.

Good luck.

Awol
28-03-2009, 19:04 PM
Many thanks for your prompt replies.

snakeeyes21
28-03-2009, 19:05 PM
thats the jist of it, its not nice but thats how it goes.
lodgers and live in landlords have very little protection.
you dont have to give the guy a set amount of time to collect his stuff, you could just bag it up and leave it outside, and if it should go walk about, say around to your house its not your problem.
atleast then you could try to recoup some of the rent due.

mind the gap
28-03-2009, 19:09 PM
thats the jist of it, its not nice but thats how it goes.
lodgers and live in landlords have very little protection.
you dont have to give the guy a set amount of time to collect his stuff, you could just bag it up and leave it outside, and if it should go walk about, say around to your house its not your problem. atleast then you could try to recoup some of the rent due.


No, this is not true!. You cannot just dispose of other peoples' property. There are threads on this forum on the subject (what you can and cannot do with it, how long you have to wait before you can sell it/otherwise dispose of it). Search 'abandoned goods' and 'disposal of tenants' goods'.

snakeeyes21
28-03-2009, 19:18 PM
correct but he wasnt a tenant, he was a lodger.
the op would have no legal obligation to store the stuff, they can chuck the lodger and their stuff out on a whim, change the locks and theres nothing the lodger can do.
if some scallywag sees some bags of stuff and decides to take it before the lodger has moved it, then its not the OPs problem

mind the gap
28-03-2009, 19:26 PM
correct but he wasnt a tenant, he was a lodger.
the op would have no legal obligation to store the stuff, they can chuck the lodger and their stuff out on a whim, change the locks and theres nothing the lodger can do.
if some scallywag sees some bags of stuff and decides to take it before the lodger has moved it, then its not the OPs problem

No, you are wrong. Read this. It applies to ex-lodgers as well as to ex-tenants:

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showpost.php?p=83888&postcount=8

jta
28-03-2009, 19:52 PM
correct but he wasnt a tenant, he was a lodger.
the op would have no legal obligation to store the stuff, they can chuck the lodger and their stuff out on a whim, change the locks and theres nothing the lodger can do.
if some scallywag sees some bags of stuff and decides to take it before the lodger has moved it, then its not the OPs problem

Snakeeyes21, try not to lose sight of the fact that the ex-lodger is entitled to as many human rights as the aggrieved OP. He may be in the wrong in owing money to the OP but you do not know his circumstances and to encourage the OP to make his condition worse is irresponsible. We do try to be impartial here to LL's and tenants alike. Nuff said! :)

snakeeyes21
28-03-2009, 20:12 PM
so what is irresponsible about removing a lodger and his posessions from the house for non payment of rent, that hes no longer welcome to live it?
the advice on the CAB website is to bag up the lodgers stuff and remove it from the house when their not in, then to change the locks

mind the gap
28-03-2009, 20:28 PM
so what is irresponsible about removing a lodger and his posessions from the house for non payment of rent, that hes no longer welcome to live it?
the advice on the CAB website is to bag up the lodgers stuff and remove it from the house when their not in, then to change the locks

I would be very surprised if that were the advice they give since it is encouraging LLs to break the law.

jta
28-03-2009, 20:28 PM
so what is irresponsible about removing a lodger and his posessions from the house for non payment of rent, that hes no longer welcome to live it?
the advice on the CAB website is to bag up the lodgers stuff and remove it from the house when their not in, then to change the locks

But that's not what happened here is it? The lodger's gone anyway, but at least he's still talking to the OP. Why antagonise him by 'losing' his stuff.

soon2retire
28-03-2009, 23:12 PM
Could OP (other person??) not keep the lodger's belongings "in storage" and charge a storage rate for doing so (which might just happen to amount to the back rent!)? And not release said belongings until paid?

mind the gap
29-03-2009, 09:00 AM
Could OP (other person??) not keep the lodger's belongings "in storage" and charge a storage rate for doing so (which might just happen to amount to the back rent!)? And not release said belongings until paid?

No, he cannot. I'm not sure of all the legal niceness, but it is to do with Distress to Goods. And in this case, basically, two wrongs don't make a right.

Awol
30-03-2009, 09:15 AM
I have told him that, although I DIDN'T want to have to rake through his personal belongings, I felt we had no alternative but to pack his stuff up and store it (Albeit - he has taken MOST of his stuff anyway and for the rent that he owes he could probably now buy new!! ). We left it that WHEN he had paid his rent, and we were more than fare by allowing him to pay a small amount each week, THEN he could collect his stuff, which he agreed to. I said that as SOON as he defaulted on payment I would then take legal advice..which he said there would be no need to do. ((shrug))

As you know, no money was forthcoming and I texted him telling him that I have no alternative but to go to CAB and small claims court if necessary.

I'm ringing CAB this morning...but having read how the law stands on this forum...I'm not holding my breathe. It seems that a lodger has all the rights and a landlord none.

Poppy
30-03-2009, 09:25 AM
Lodger owes 5 weeks' rent? There is no need to let that happen again.

Simply remember that lodgers are there at your invitation. If they forget whose home it is or pay late (one or two days at most) the invitation is over. Suggest that you have as short a notice period as possible - one week.

Awol
31-03-2009, 10:42 AM
Currently advertising for new lodger.

Could you please tell me HOW best to cover ourselves this time ie legality/ contract/rent book etc.