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View Full Version : Lodger has left after a month, now threatening me with legal action!



candyhowes
13-03-2010, 13:37 PM
Hi - 1st time poster and landlord

I had rented a room (Mon to Fri) in my house to a lodger - used a document from lodgerpack.co.uk. Took a deposit, he moved in, all was well. He was made redundant suddenly and handed in his notice 2/3 days in to the month when he had paid rent for that month. He posted his keys through the door - I returned his deposit. He whinged/asked if I could give him some rent back but I couldn't - had already been spent so said I was sorry but I was unable to do that. He's now saying the tenancy agreement we both signed wouldn't stand in court and has (very aggressively) asked for the months rent back - I said no sorry again. Now he's said he's taking me to court with his solicitor! He's tried to get me in trouble with the council for single persons discount etc, but have confirmed with them that I didnt need to declare a lodger so am ok there.

Am gobsmacked - does he have any grounds here at all or is he trying to bully me and scare me in to giving him money back? It was his choice to leave, he returned the keys (he didnt asked - just texted and said he'd moved out). Cant believe it!!! Am in desperate need of some advice - thanks in advance!!!

C.

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 14:31 PM
Does your lodger agreement say anything about returning rent paid in advance if lodger leaves before the end of a rent period?

If not, then it is my understanding that normally (e.g. in an AST), rent paid in advance is not refundable except with the agreement of the LL. I am not sure, however whether this also applies to lodger agreements.

Does anyone know?

ram
13-03-2010, 14:38 PM
I had rented a room (Mon to Fri) in my house to a lodger - used a document from lodgerpack.co.uk. He's now saying the tenancy agreement we both signed wouldn't stand in court
It was his choice to leave, he returned the keys (he didnt asked - just texted and said he'd moved out).

I can't look at lodgerpack.co.uk agreement, but assume you live there and you just asked for money to cross your palms for the ability for him to have somewhere to stay.

Lodgers in essance, have no rights. You can throw them out for valid reasons, and they can leave when they want ( basicly ).

You have returned his deposit, and now have to readvertise for the inconvienience of him up and leaving without any consultation.
If he is saying saying the tenancy agreement you both signed wouldn't stand in court , then that makes him a pure lodger with no written agreement and no rights whatsoever. Turn the tables on him !

To be honest, returning 2 weeks rent out of 4.3 weeks ( one month ) would be a gesture of sympathy for him being made redundant, and that's all you should offer, on a take it or leave it basis.

As he was a lodger, he has no rights in your situation. I think he has found somewhere else to live and needs a deposit / rent money.

Others may give you addidtional advice.

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 14:44 PM
I don't think anyone is disputing what a lodger's rights are during a tenancy or that it would be a generous gesture on OP's part to refund some of the rent paid in advance; what we need to establish however is whether OP is legally obliged to return any of it or not, as former lodger seems to be threatening court action.

For what it's worth, I would not be inclined return rent to a lodger who moved out without notice then threatened me with the law, unless I were legally bound to.

candyhowes
13-03-2010, 14:49 PM
He already has a house elsewhere - he was renting a room Mon to Fri while he worked as a contractor nearby so he's gone back to his house. No idea if this has any bearing on it...

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 14:54 PM
He already has a house elsewhere - he was renting a room Mon to Fri while he worked as a contractor nearby so he's gone back to his house. No idea if this has any bearing on it...
Not really. What he did at weekends was up to him. He was still your lodger. We just need to verify the legal position about returning his rent.

Lawcruncher
13-03-2010, 16:18 PM
Suggesting that "the tenancy agreement won't stand up in court" is going to get him nowhere. If he moved in and paid rent there was a tenancy.

Rent paid for a period in advance is not refundable. He paid the rent and "bought" the period to which the rent related. If he did not stay until the end of the period that was up to him. It is like buying a pint of beer in a pub - you do not get a refund if you do not finish it or spill it.

GJMSurrey
13-03-2010, 16:48 PM
For what it's worth I was about to post similar to Lawcruncher.

In any case a lodgers 'license to occupy' as he has rather than a 'full tenancy' is a less formal arrangement (e.g. no 6 month statuatory period of rent/occupation and no real notice require for either of you to terminate the arrangement and move on). But you have an arrangement nonetheless, and the lodger has clearly paid you a months rent which you have no legal reason to pay him back.

I would turn this around and advise the lodger that by your understanding there is absolutely no reason, legal or otherwise, why you have to pay him back money. Regardless of the written agreement (even if nothing was written) what is clear is that there is a lodging agreement and the lodger has paid you a months rent in advance with no agreement for refunds.

Ask him what law or regulation will be the basis of his argument in court that you have to pay him back for something he has paid for? Surely he must have this and if correct you will pay him back.

Hell, print out this thread and show him as you are clearly trying to find out what you are required to do, and it's clear nobody so far can see a reason why you HAVE to pay him.

I personallly would pay him back a token amount out of kindness, that's all

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 16:53 PM
Does the term 'tenancy' not mean simply the state or action of holding the right to occupy (from the French tenir or Latin tenere)? It applies to oth kinds of occupation, surely?

Lawcruncher
13-03-2010, 17:03 PM
In the context of landlord and tenant law there can only be a tenant where there is a tenancy. There can only be a tenancy where exclusive occupation is granted.

tom999
13-03-2010, 17:56 PM
It applies to both kinds of occupation, surely?

The two types of occupation are different.

In the context of this thread (and from the OP's description), a lodger has been granted a licence to occupy (not a tenancy), i.e. providing the lodger lives in the landlords home and shares the living accommodation; the landlord lives in the property throughout the duration of the lodger's occupation; and, the lodger has not been granted "exclusive occupation" of the whole or any part of the premises.

A tenancy which began on or after 28 February 1997, is likely to be an AST and coivered by the Housing Act 1988, as amended. Tenancies give tenant's greater security of tenure than licences.

mind the gap
13-03-2010, 18:22 PM
The two types of occupation are different.

In the context of this thread (and from the OP's description), a lodger has been granted a licence to occupy (not a tenancy), i.e. providing the lodger lives in the landlords home and shares the living accommodation; the landlord lives in the property throughout the duration of the lodger's occupation; and, the lodger has not been granted "exclusive occupation" of the whole or any part of the premises.

A tenancy which began on or after 28 February 1997, is likely to be an AST and coivered by the Housing Act 1988, as amended. Tenancies give tenant's greater security of tenure than licences.

That's what I thought!

Lawcruncher confused me by referring to it as a 'tenancy' in #7.

Lawcruncher, it's all your fault!

candyhowes
14-03-2010, 09:18 AM
Huge thanks to everyone - your help is greatly appreciated. Due to the nature of his communication so far I am becoming less and less inclined to give him anything out of sympathy but I will consider it.

But - I won't waste any more time worrying about the legal action he mentioned! Thanks again everyone.

C

islandgirl
14-03-2010, 11:58 AM
Though legally you don't have to return anything it seems, I would look at the notice period stated in your agreement (assuming there is one!). I would certainly deduct for that (it may be 14 days) and might perhaps give the rest of the month back, though of course it is up to you!

soon2retire
14-03-2010, 19:49 PM
Hi - 1st time poster and landlord

I had rented a room (Mon to Fri) in my house to a lodger - used a document from lodgerpack.co.uk. Took a deposit, he moved in, all was well. He was made redundant suddenly and handed in his notice 2/3 days in to the month when he had paid rent for that month. He posted his keys through the door - I returned his deposit. He whinged/asked if I could give him some rent back but I couldn't - had already been spent so said I was sorry but I was unable to do that. He's now saying the tenancy agreement we both signed wouldn't stand in court and has (very aggressively) asked for the months rent back - I said no sorry again. Now he's said he's taking me to court with his solicitor! He's tried to get me in trouble with the council for single persons discount etc, but have confirmed with them that I didnt need to declare a lodger so am ok there.

Am gobsmacked - does he have any grounds here at all or is he trying to bully me and scare me in to giving him money back? It was his choice to leave, he returned the keys (he didnt asked - just texted and said he'd moved out). Cant believe it!!! Am in desperate need of some advice - thanks in advance!!!
C.

Just a thought.
Perhaps you used an AST tenancy agreement and not a Lodger or Licensee Agreement in which case the "tenant" may think that he has an AST agreement.
However, my understanding is that even if you use an AST agreement the "tenant" is still only a lodger provided you are a resident landlord/landlady.

Open to correction, of course.

matthew_henson
15-03-2010, 06:20 AM
Just a thought.
Perhaps you used an AST tenancy agreement and not a Lodger or Licensee Agreement in which case the "tenant" may think that he has an AST agreement.
However, my understanding is that even if you use an AST agreement the "tenant" is still only a lodger provided you are a resident landlord/landlady.

Open to correction, of course.

Would agree, Schedule 1 of the 1988 HA list those tenancies that cannot be assured. Clause 10 Resident landlord is one of them