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View Full Version : Evicting lodger/licensee and disposing of goods



umm
22-03-2010, 18:18 PM
Hi,

We have 2 male lodgers in our home. We allowed one to stay in one room of our property - he invited his friend to stay (we do not even know his name). We took a fee of three weeks and have asked them to leave at the end of the 3 weeks. During their stay they have harassed a female lodger also in the property. When we asked them not to disturb her they locked themselves in their room and called the police claiming we harassed them. They then accused us of stealing £15000 cash from their room but when the police arrived the men decided not to follow up on this claim.

After legal advice, we are planning to change the locks when the 3 weeks end which is in a few days. They have made it clear they they are not planning to pay any more money and plan to live rent free off us until we get a court order for eviction (they see themselves as tenants as they have refused to sign the Licence Agreement).

My question is what shall we do with their property. We do not want to remove it ourselves as they will accuse us of theft and damage....we are considering hiring a removal co to have the stuff packaged - where do we leave it if they dont take it immediately. We don't want to leave it outside as we might be held responsible for damage. However, we certainly don't want to pay for indefinite storage or keep it at the property giving them a reason to return.

Any advice gratefully received.

westminster
22-03-2010, 19:21 PM
After legal advice, we are planning to change the locks when the 3 weeks end which is in a few days. They have made it clear they they are not planning to pay any more money and plan to live rent free off us until we get a court order for eviction (they see themselves as tenants as they have refused to sign the Licence Agreement).
The legal advice is correct. You do not need a court order to evict them, and you are perfectly entitled to change the locks at the end of the notice period. The absence of a signed contract is irrelevant, and their status as excluded occupiers is dictated by the fact that you (the 'landlord') live in the house with them.

It would be advisable to have a third party on the premises for at least 24 hours after changing the locks, as a witness, to protect against any false allegations when the men return and find themselves locked out. I would also inform the police in advance of the situation and that you may need to call upon their services, and note the officer's name etc (to avoid them turning up in the middle of a confrontation and making the wrong call - it has been known for police not to understand that lodgers don't have strong tenancy rights and turn up and order the home-owner to let the lodger back in).


My question is what shall we do with their property. We do not want to remove it ourselves as they will accuse us of theft and damage....we are considering hiring a removal co to have the stuff packaged - where do we leave it if they dont take it immediately. We don't want to leave it outside as we might be held responsible for damage. However, we certainly don't want to pay for indefinite storage or keep it at the property giving them a reason to return.

Any advice gratefully received.
What's the set up at the house? Do you have a garage you could store the stuff in? Are you planning to re-let the room?

In terms of possible false allegations of theft/damage, you could perhaps ask the police (or a friend who's a solicitor, doctor or similar) to supervise the packing, and take extensive photos before/during packing. You don't need to give the men access for the handover of belongings; just take the stuff outside when/if they come back for it.

See this link re uncollected goods and LL's responsibilities:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/uncollected_goods.htm

I hope that in future you obtain proper references before allowing somebody to live in your home.

umm
22-03-2010, 21:25 PM
What's the set up at the house? Do you have a garage you could store the stuff in? Are you planning to re-let the room?

I live on the ground floor and have the lodgers upstairs. They have a kitchen and bathroom to share and there is a communal lounge on the ground floor that all the lodgers have access to when I am in the property.

There is a garage but it's not very clean. I was thinking of loading all their stuff in to my friends van and getting him to drop them off with their stuff to wherever they wanted to go (within reason). This is more of a goodwill gesture as it's not exactly nice what I'm having to do but then I feel that if I don't put my foot down they will just drag this out longer than need be.

I already have someone else for the room so will be re-letting within 24 hours provided things go smoothly.

The Police have so far been unhelpful. They were called by the lodgers when I moved all of their stuff to another room as I needed the room that I had originally given them back. This is after I had given them a key and asked them to move a week earlier. The police officer started quoting chapter and verse concerning tenants rights and how I was not allowed to do what I had done and when I asked if he was qualified to give this advice he said he was a landlord! Anyway I told him that the guys were licencees and that I was following legal advice and that this was a civil matter. Can't see them being much help unless I had a possession order but will try to see if they can help.

Preston
22-03-2010, 22:40 PM
I live on the ground floor and have the lodgers upstairs. They have a kitchen and bathroom to share and there is a communal lounge on the ground floor that all the lodgers have access to when I am in the property.


The precise details of the living arrangements are important when deciding on the lodgers' status. In particular, do they share any living space with you or a member of your family (excluding halls, stairs and rooms used exclusively for storage)? The communal lounge you refer to perhaps?

If they do, they are "excluded" and the advice you have been given is correct. If they do not share living accommodation with you then they will not be excluded and the advice will be subtly but importantly different.

mind the gap
22-03-2010, 22:44 PM
Preston, do you think that the fact that the 'occupants' in question can only access the 'communal' lounge when OP is around, is significant in determining their status?

Preston
22-03-2010, 22:59 PM
Preston, do you think that the fact that the 'occupants' in question can only access the 'communal' lounge when OP is around, is significant in establishing their status?

Well, the honest answer is that I'm not sure but I doubt it. The legal requirement is that living accommodation is shared; there is no requirement, so far as I am aware, that access to it must be unrestricted.

Having said this I guess there would in theory come a point where access is so limited that the lounge becomes incidental to the main occupancy agreement.

We really need more detail from the OP I think.

umm
23-03-2010, 15:40 PM
Hi all,

Can someone tell me how long it might take to get a Possession Order to get licencees / lodgers out of my home? Is there a fast track procedure?

Thks

justaboutsane
23-03-2010, 15:44 PM
You don't need a possession order to get lodgers out. You give them notice, if they do not leave at the end of that time then you change the locks and pack up their stuff arranging for a time for them to come get them.

Snorkerz
23-03-2010, 16:24 PM
JustAboutSane is quite right - A possession order is only required for tenants - and as these people live in your own home they are "excluded occupiers".

Give "reasonable notice" and if they don't go, do as JAS suggests. Reasonable notice is usually the same as the rent period - but no one would argue that a month is unreasonable.

westminster
23-03-2010, 16:33 PM
See also Shelter's advice on eviction of excluded occupiers (i.e. lodgers)
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/eviction/eviction_of_private_tenants/the_rules_by_tenancy_type/eviction_of_excluded_occupiers

And here's their tenancy checker page if you're not 100% sure of the lodgers' statuts
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/downloads_and_tools/tenancy_checker

umm
23-03-2010, 18:03 PM
Hi all,

I am evicting lodgers from my home. I intend to change the locks and have their goods removed to outside the building with an indepedent witness present (solicitor). We have given them notice and they refuse to leave happy to live rent free until we have them removed. I am worried as they are really clued on as to the law and I think they have done this whole saga with their previous landlord. Thankfully they don't have a tenancy with us only a licence to stay for a couple of weeks.

Can anyone tell me if they would be entitled to legal aid for a claim they might bring for unlawful eviction. They are likely to do so as they have made it clear that they intend to draw out the process as long as possible and get whatever money they can for us. I am sure some lawyer will take on their case just for the legal aid income. They also threaten us regularly telling us 'they know alot of people' and will 'teach us a lesson' if we chuck them out. They call the police pretending to be the victims and to top it all off the last police officer that came told them that we couldnt remove them without a court order.

They are in their mid 30's, here on a student visa from abroad I presume but not studying - they are working full time to earn a cash income which I dont think they declare. Could they claim they are unemployed and get legal aid for this?

This whole process has been eye opening and really stressful.....I don't think we will ever let anyone into our house again. :(

justaboutsane
23-03-2010, 19:16 PM
Call Immigration. If they are here on student visa and are not studying they can be booted out for you! Problem solved!!

with regards to LA, who knows, it depends on their income, but they will loose. It won't get far once you provide proof that you live in the property too it will all fall apart. They are trying to scare you nothing more.

umm
24-03-2010, 21:45 PM
We are changing the locks on our property to get evict our lodger who has lived in our house for 3 weeks.

I have asked before and some of you advised me that I can put their belongings outside. I am worried that they have so much stuff they won't be able to transport it and will leave it outside and that they might cause alot of fuss outside the property. Its been our family home for years and we really dont want our neighbours to see all the drama that will go on. If we get it removed by a removal company will we be held liable to pay for the storage indefinitely if they choose not to collect the goods. Can we just allow the company to get rid of the stuff if they don't claim it?

Any advice gratefully received.

mind the gap
24-03-2010, 21:56 PM
Read up about abandoned goods on this thread:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=1483&highlight=abandoned+goods

The short answer is that you cannot just dispose of other people's possessions without following the correct procedures first.

Snorkerz
25-03-2010, 09:54 AM
We are changing the locks on our property to get evict our lodger who has lived in our house for 3 weeks.

I have asked before and some of you advised me that I can put their belongings outside. I am worried that they have so much stuff they won't be able to transport it and will leave it outside and that they might cause alot of fuss outside the property. Its been our family home for years and we really dont want our neighbours to see all the drama that will go on. If we get it removed by a removal company will we be held liable to pay for the storage indefinitely if they choose not to collect the goods. Can we just allow the company to get rid of the stuff if they don't claim it?

Any advice gratefully received.

3 weeks seems a very short period of time in which to have evicted anyone, even a lodger. Are you sure you have complied with the lodgers (limited) legal rights?

Moderator1
01-04-2010, 12:28 PM
Four threads by the same member have been merged here. Please do not start a new thread if you merely wish to continue a previous discussion or report on subsequent developments. It can cause unnecessary confusion (quite apart from losing the connection with facts previously established or legal points previously explained).