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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Family Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have a devious and malicious lodger renting a room with me

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I have a devious and malicious lodger renting a room with me in my house. When she arrived, as she was supposedly a very close friend, I naively signed a very shortly worded fixed term (6 months) 'assured shorthold tenancy agreement' but I have been told that even though I signed an 'AST' the fact that she is only a lodger in my house whilst I also live there too means the agreement is not an AST and actually she can only claim rights to a Fixed Term Excluded Occupancy. I.e. I don't have to give her notice to evict her if she hasn't paid the rent etc. Is this correct? I have spoken to various solicitors and some say I would be acting criminally if I evicted her without notice and actually I'd have to take her to court to get an eviction notice, even though she hasn't paid the agreed rent. I just need to know what rights she has and what rights I have.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What type of contract does your lodger have?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The contract she provided me to sign is 'An Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement'.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I am travelling to court at the moment and require about 30 minutes before I will be able to answer your question fully. Please bear with me, I will respond as soon as I am able to this morning.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you I will wait.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks.

I see you haven't yet rated a previous answer so I would be grateful if you could do that now.

Also, does she share amenities in your house?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'll have a look and see how to rate the previous answer I received. Yes, she does share amenities in my house, shared bathroom and kitchen. I note the tenancy agreement I signed doesn't not mention access to the sitting room though.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Does she actually have access to the sitting room?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I give her access since she is/was a friend. She does spend a lot of time in her room when me and my boyfriend are there though.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.

Its a very difficult situation. I do actually entirely agree with you. If she is sharing a house with you in which she has her own room then she is just a lodger and the AST is void. However, she will undoubtedly argue the AST is not void and if you evict her without notice there is a risk that she will be down the police station making allegations of unlawful eviction which probably you would prefer not to answer. Unfortunately there are people like that.

If you try to evict her without a possession order then, on the facts you mention, probably you would win but there are obviously risks.

That said, if you tried to use the AST route it would almost certainly be void so they are necessary risks.

To protect yourself completely the thing to do would be to get a write opinion from an agent that the AST is void and then rely upon that if she does complain to the police.

I have to say that the police tend not to become involved in unlawful evictions now. They are too busy meditating domestic squabbles now.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Jo


 


That is very interesting. Actually this tenancy agreement is only 6 months long which takes us to 4th October and since she is in court that day (litigious by nature I'm afraid!) she has agreed to move out on 5th October. I am inclined to think she will go but there are risks that she will make some excuse to stay longer and unfortunately I am in the States then. I have arranged for someone to be there on 5th Oct to check the house and lock up after her when she leaves at least. I think I will issue her with a Statutory Notice of Eviction by 5th October now, so that any paper trail shows that I have given her over 1 month's notice - entirely fair I think. My main concern is that after 5th October, if she is still there can I change the locks once she pops out on an errand, for example, or, since I have signed this 'AST' would I have to go to the courts to obtain an eviction notice? Sorry, I know this is a very muddy situation!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Well its as I've said really.

If the facts that you mention are right then you can just change the locks but she will say that the AST applies and you may be investigated for doing that. Overall, long term, I think you would win.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 64693
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you very much for your help Jo, it's much appreciated.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.

Get a written opinion from an agent and call 101 with an outline of the situation before you act. Then it gets hard to argue you've done anything with guilty mind.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 64693
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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