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cheekylilmonkey14
27-02-2007, 14:55 PM
i have recently moved out of a property in which I was a lodger. I gave one months notice on 1 Feb as per the terms of my rental agreement, but actually moved into my new home on 16th feb as this woman was such a weirdo I needed to get out for my sanity. I did however leave some belongings behind and advised her I would be collecting these before the official end date of my tenancy, 28th Feb.
I went back to the property at the weekend and the landlady has changed the locks and left a note for me advising she has destroyed all belongings left by me and two other tenants who also left with me.
None of us are bothered about the items as none of them were important, my question is however, as she has changed the locks on the 16th and denied me access to the property, do I have any right to a refund of the rent which I have paid for this period?
She is not holding a deposit as we all withheld our last months rent with her agreement, so at least I do not have that to worry about getting back.
any advice greatly appreciated
thanks

Worldlife
27-02-2007, 15:58 PM
When you left the property did you still retain the original keys and expect to get in to the property to collect your belongings?

If that was so you have been the victim of an illegal eviction and if this can be proved you would probably receive compensation that will include and substantially exceed the rent refund that you are asking for.

Whilst you state the articles you left were 'unimportant' those items will still have a value and they should not have been removed and destroyed by the landlord.

Technically you may not have given your landlord one month's clear notice. If you served the notice personally it should have been served no later than a working day before Sunday 28th January to become effective on 28th February.

Consult Shelter or the Citizens Advice Bureau or get a free initial legal advice with one of the specialist solicitors advertising on these pages.

Bel
27-02-2007, 23:15 PM
Not sure it is quite as Worldlife puts it; but I could be wrong.

About unfair eviction: Surely it depends on the agreement. Ordinarily, a lodger has few rights and little protection from eviction. The LL only has to give reasonable notice. This might be the remaining period covered by rent already paid. By witholding the last months rent , the lodger has probably breached the agreement. How can he demand to say he is entitled to stay to the end of the month if he hasn't paid rent?

Also if their was any bad feeling expressed when the lodger departed, the LL may feel that she needs to protect herself from the lodger, hence changing the locks.

I think the lodger should be morally entitled to any deposit left after half a months rent and any delapidations, but claiming it back might be hard. I think there is possibly more chance claimimg damages for loss of belongings; but it probably isn't worth the hassle.

I think your best chance is to write a courteous letter asking for the balance back, but don't hold your breath.

Worldlife
28-02-2007, 04:01 AM
Whoops.... you are right Bel I failed to give sufficient consideration to the differences between the rights of lodgers and the rights of tenants.

Here's what the Department for Communities and Local Government booklet on "Letting rooms in your home" states:-


5.10 Rather than seek a possession order, can I change the locks to prevent the occupier from entering the premises?

It is an offence to change locks to exclude any occupier before his or her tenancy or licence has been properly brought (or come ) to an end; and in the case of a non-excluded tenancy or licence, unless a court order has been obtained.

For an excluded tenancy or licence, you could in principle take steps to exclude the occupier once the letting arrangement is clearly and validly at an end. However , if you are considering doing so you should take legal advice. This is especially important if the occupier still has belongings left in the property, since he or she could have a claim against you if they got damaged

Here's some useful information from Shelter


What's the difference between a lodger and a subtenant?
A lodger rents a room in the landlord's home. S/he may receive some services from the landlord, such as meals, laundry or cleaning.

A subtenant has exclusive use of at least one room (usually a bedroom) in the property. Even the landlord would need her/his permission to enter this area. The subtenant may have permission to put a lock on her/his door.

In reality, there is often little difference between the rights you have if you share facilities with the landlord



What tenancy status do lodgers have?
If a lodger shares facilities such as the kitchen and bathroom with the landlord, s/he will be an excluded occupier. Excluded occupiers have very few rights. The landlord will only have to give reasonable notice, which could be a very short amount of time, in order to evict them.

If you don't share facilities, the person renting a room is probably a subtenant rather than a lodger. This means that the landlord may need a court order to evict her/him.

Suggest further information is needed, with reference to documentation, as to whether this is a periodic or fixed term letting or a licence.

Could well be that my initial reaction that this was an illegal eviction could be correct.

cheekylilmonkey14
01-03-2007, 12:02 PM
the landlady advised at the time of moving in and also when we gave notice that she was happy for the deposit to cover the last monts rent

The fact of the matter is that the landlady is chasing me for £90 of outstanding bills, but i feel she owes me more than that in rent and loss of property.

I guess I really want to know that if she decides to go down the small claims route, whether I have a counter claim

thanks all

Paragon
01-03-2007, 12:18 PM
Alarm bells certainly rang for me when you mentioned the destruction of your property without giving your consent. I have a strange feeling that this is unlawful without following certain notification procedures.

I probably would counter claim for the replacement value of new for old.