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orangeoil
10-02-2010, 16:19 PM
Hi, I have a couple of queries regarding notice period given to me by my current landlord.

Technically I am a lodger (I think?), as I am renting a room - however I have been the sole occupant since my arrival, and it was said by the landlady that the house would essentially be mine as she was not looking for a second person. She also said that the second room would be for her, but she has not lived in the house since I arrived (her living address is different on the contract).

I moved in just before xmas 2009. I was given written (by email) notice on 31st Jan.

In subsequent email, she stated that she would like me out of the house by 28th Feb. On the contract (one month rolling) signed we stated a six week notice period (which could be shortened to five at the landlords request).

I queried this, and was sent a reply back stating I had already reneged on the agreement by making a late payment which put her in an awkward position for having to chase for rent - this is true. I forgot to pay on the 1st Jan as I was out of the country, but I paid on my arrival (4th Jan).

She has since stated that I may be able to move into the backroom after the 28th Feb, as my current room won't be available after that period (as she wants to move into the front bedroom). That seems a bit unfair. I'd rather stay in my room until the notice period is up.

I might add that fire blankets and extinguisher was only provided in the past couple of weeks, and I would highly doubt that my deposit is with a protected scheme.

Does my late payment remove any rights I have to a fair notice period?
Also, should I query the protection of my deposit?

I've included a small excerpt from my agreement below:


------------------

Lodger’s Rooms: front bedroom, bathroom

The Shared Rooms: kitchen, living room

The Rent: £600 per calendar month

Payable monthly in advance on the 1st day of the month.

Deposit: £600 received with thanks.

Notice period: 6 weeks (5 weeks if landlord requires it)

A The Landlord gives the Lodger the right to live in the Front Bedroom for sole occupancy only and to use the Shared Rooms with the Landlord.

B This Agreement will continue for a month by month basis.

C The Landlord agrees to pay the utility bills.

D The Lodger agrees to pay the telephone bills, internet bills and television licence.

--------------

jeffrey
10-02-2010, 16:48 PM
As a lodger, you do not hold an AST; so Deposit Protection does not apply.

orangeoil
10-02-2010, 18:07 PM
Thanks for the reply - Does this apply if the landlord is non-resident? The other bedroom is empty other than a couple of boxes of crockery in the cupboard.

I may be grasping at straws here, but it would be helpful to know where I stand legally, so any input is much appreciated.

jeffrey
10-02-2010, 18:12 PM
Thanks for the reply - Does this apply if the landlord is non-resident? The other bedroom is empty other than a couple of boxes of crockery in the cupboard.

I may be grasping at straws here, but it would be helpful to know where I stand legally, so any input is much appreciated.
Aha- if you are the only occupant and L has never resided during your occupancy, then you're not a lodger at all. Post #1 is wrong.

orangeoil
10-02-2010, 18:35 PM
Thanks for the prompt reply Jeffrey.

So, by wrong, you mean I am in fact a tenant so I am legally under an AST? Is this negated by the fact I am referred to as a 'lodger' in the agreement?

Subsequently, am I entitled to the agreed notice period (I know it's only a weeks difference, but it would be helpful for me)? And should my deposit be protected?

jeffrey
10-02-2010, 18:42 PM
If L is non-resident, you aren't a lodger no matter what the documentation purports to provide (or even if there's none). That being so:
a. you would have the 1988 Act's benefit; and
b. L should have protected your deposit but didn't.

orangeoil
10-02-2010, 18:57 PM
If L is non-resident, you aren't a lodger no matter what the documentation purports to provide (or even if there's none). That being so:
a. you would have the 1988 Act's benefit; and
b. L should have protected your deposit but didn't.

So does that mean I am entitled to two months notice instead of the agreed term of 5 weeks?

And would she be able to move in during that period (kicking me into the spare room)?

jeffrey
10-02-2010, 19:33 PM
So does that mean I am entitled to two months notice instead of the agreed term of 5 weeks?
Yes. L would need to serve you under s.21. That's always at least two month's Notice- and more if, as here, it's been a contractual periodic tenancy from day1; her Notice would have to run beyond two months, up to and inc. a tenancy month end: s.21(4)(a).


And would she be able to move in during that period (kicking me into the spare room)?
No. Until your letting ends one way or another, you have the 1988 Act's protection. Even if L herself moves into the spare room, she cannot suddenly become a resident L as she wasn't one beforehand.

westminster
10-02-2010, 19:46 PM
She also said that the second room would be for her, but she has not lived in the house since I arrived (her living address is different on the contract).

I moved in just before xmas 2009. I was given written (by email) notice on 31st Jan.
So, you've only lived there for about seven weeks. The fact that LL hasn't lived there during this time doesn't necessarily mean it isn't her main residence. It's just not long enough to judge either way. But there's a contradiction in the fact that she gives another address on the contract - what is this other address, do you know? Does she live there with a husband and family, or is it just the case that it's an occasional home because she works away from the rental property frequently (i.e. it's conceivable she could be resident for 10 month a year)?

Unless these sort of things can be established, it's difficult to know what your status is. The difference between lodger and AST tenant's rights is huge. And of course you know that even it says 'lodger' on the contract, it doesn't automatically make you one - the difference is whether the LL is actually resident or not.




A The Landlord gives the Lodger the right to live in the Front Bedroom for sole occupancy only and to use the Shared Rooms with the Landlord.

B This Agreement will continue for a month by month basis.

C The Landlord agrees to pay the utility bills.

D The Lodger agrees to pay the telephone bills, internet bills and television licence.

--------------

Why are you meant to be responsible for all the phone/internet/TV bills in a 'shared' house? Is the rent you pay commensurate with being a lodger, or other?

orangeoil
10-02-2010, 20:05 PM
Actually, I just looked through the emails from her - she doesn't state that the room is hers. When I had a late payment, she said she would rent out the room, so that's indicative of her non-residence.

The address on the contract is very nearby, 5 mins by car, and she lives with her parents and sibling.

When I moved in, it was with the agreement that I would be the only person in the house, hence paying for telephone etc - there is not telephone line, internet or tv in the house anyway.

And the rent I pay is comparable to basic rent in other places (1 bed flats) around here, only I requested that she would pay all bills.

orangeoil
18-02-2010, 17:37 PM
Hello, I would like to get the advice of some people in the know regarding my current situation with my landlord:

As background, I am the only tenant in a two bedroom house with exclusive use of my bedroom and shared use of kitchen, bathroom and living room - I have been storing some things in the 2nd bedroom.


She has been coming into the house without notice, and refuses to provide it on the basis that I am just a 'lodger' - she has never lived there, the spare room has been empty of furniture, and her main residence on the contract is her family home that is 5 mins away - I am however, only 9 weeks into my tenancy, with notice being served on 31st Jan so she can sell the house

Yesterday, she removed the back door key from the premises, leaving it unlocked. There are two small door bolts (like you get in some bathrooms) which wouldn't require much force to break. I've been in a house where an attack occurred by people coming into a house, so this didn't give me a great nights sleep

She wants me to remove all my stuff from the 2nd bedroom (fair enough) otherwise she will have it 'removed'. Also, she and her family will be moving into the room

As her attitude has changed since I questioned my rights, i'm thinking that my deposit is likely to be deducted, but I don't think it's in a protected scheme

I myself want to be out as soon as I can, but until then I want to be treated in a civil manner. Would it be worth my while contacting citizens advice bureau or a solicitor, as she seems to ignore all emails concerning my rights?

matthew_henson
18-02-2010, 18:35 PM
Can you tell us what kind of contract you signed (is it called an "Assured Shorthold Tenancy") and how long the term is?

orangeoil
18-02-2010, 19:02 PM
It is a one month rolling contract. Unfortunately I wasn't savvy with proper definitions of lodger/tenant at the time, so I signed a 'lodgers agreement' referring to myself as a 'lodger'.

But, as I said, the LL has never lived there since I moved in, and I have email threads stating that she would be renting the second room out at some point.

Snorkerz
18-02-2010, 19:46 PM
Don't worry about what the agreement says, from your current information, it would appear you are a tenant with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy - which is the default now-a-days.

Your landlord can enter the house without notice, but she has no right at any time to enter your room without your express permission.

You are entitled to a minimum of 2 months notice under section 21(4)(a) of the 1988 Housing Act. Each tenancy period starts on the same day of the month you moved in, this notice must be up until the last day of a tenancy period. Example: if you moved in on 15th Dec, if issued today, your notice must end on 14th May (14 Apr < 2 months). If your deposit isn't protected, you can't be evicted this way.

You can use this form (http://www.snorkerz.com/deposit.html) to check with all 3 schemes if your deposit is protected. If it isn't, this template letter (http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/residential-commercial-lettings/232265-trouble-landlord-deposit.html#post2576374) may be of use.

orangeoil
21-02-2010, 17:14 PM
Thank you all for the information. Thanks for the form Snokerz.

Further to the above, the landlord has just moved in, and has now:


Complained about my use of central heating (it's on timer for about three hours a day) calling it a 'fire hazard'. She had agreed to pay all utility bills, but has now said she will be charging me for the heating - can she?
I have been asked to move some equipment from the living room to my bedroom. It's very heavy and it simply won't fit in my room - it's not taking up much room in the living room (barbells) so it's not in anyones way

My bedroom door is usually open when I get back from work, when I know that I always close it. Is it ok for her to go in my room?

I know this has been answered before, but just to clarify. Does my legal status as a 'tenant' change now that she is living in the house?

(Apologies for my double thread...).

Moderator1
21-02-2010, 20:11 PM
Two separate threads by same member have been merged here. Do not cause problems by starting continuation threads; use the same one.