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(Sorry, long background, but easy issue I hope) Hello I

Customer Question
(Sorry, long background, but easy...
(Sorry, long background, but easy issue I hope)

Hello
I am in rehab + largely housebound and relying on walking sticks in a flatshare. One good friend is staying here for the past few weeks since my release from hospital, the mutually beneficial agreement being that she shops, cooks, etc for me in exchange for staying with me in my room.
Since there are issues as of late between us, she has retreated to a flatmate's room. That flatmate is absent but the room is occupied by the flatmate's sister, so she is hanging out there, as they the two got befriended in the meantime.

The key issue being that I figured that she withdrew +3000 GBP in 4-5 weeks from my bank account (card and pin given by me as I could not leave the house), of which she kept about 2000 for herself, give or take a little. Today I told her I would need to report her for embezzlement if she is not willing to talk to me about how to resolve this.

She reversed the situation and called the police over here herself, asserting I had hurt her foot, breaking off a nail, making a police visit necessary. This did not fly with the police since it can be evidenced, and is known but my flatmates that she incurred this nail break about a week ago while she was going out in town. So this was mean, but fortunately did not work for her.

I want her out of the flat, but the officer said I cannot throw her out because I had invited her here in the first place, and so would have to wait until she finds new accomodation - is this correct? (I am not on the 1year lease myself as I only moved in recently, but the lease gets only renewed in August)

On a side, in case it matters, I disagree with the officer that this is not a theft. He believes there could be no theft as I gave her my bank card for shopping - I think that is typical of a fiduciary embezzlement - she is supposed to shop for me, not pay her own bills.

So since the officer took my point that she took about 3000 GBP (evidenced to him by receipts) but can only account for spending about 1000, I feel he wants to compel me to keep accomodating a thief in my own house - I don't think I have to, especially since she tried to frame me for bodily harm so to evade being reported for pillaging my bank account.

Is there anything in landlaw that gives her a right to stay here if I don't want her to?
No oral or written agreements regarding her stay were made and I want her out asap. She is financially broke, so would have to rely on other friend or her boy friend to pick her up if I kick her out. As a practical point: How do I kick her out the legal, proper way?

Many thanks
Mr M Toth
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: UK Law
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Answered in 2 hours by:
6/29/2010
Solicitor: Matthew J, Solicitor replied 8 years ago
Matthew J
Matthew J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience: 4 y PQE (Partner) - Commercial / Residential Property & Property and Civil litigation experience
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Hi

 

can I just get this right, you are renting a room in a house?

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
It is a house with a restaurant downstairs and then a 3-floor flat above, which is shares between 5 of us. 3 people are currently on the lease, but not me. The girl occupying the room where my 'problem friend' is kinda buddying up with her sister is on the lease. She is not aware of what happened yet, as she is visiting her boy friend, but once she comes back I guess she will not take her side anymore if I show her how I got ripped of by way of account statements.

Since my problematic friend now shifted her belongings into our common lounge, she might also start sleeping there, but that is not clear. Maybe she will have to if my flatmates don't want her in their rooms anymore.

These girls might, as of now, still highly esteem her, since they didn't know about the lifting of my account until today. But as I had first raised the issue over a week ago, I guess she started scheming against me - so I need to set that straight first - at least that one flatmate and her sister may believe I am simply bad to her, but obviously the thief knows for a week that she is on borrowed time - until I go public with this amongst my flatmates - which is today.

Thanks
Matthias
Solicitor: Matthew J, Solicitor replied 8 years ago

 

Hello Matthias

 

Clearly not a very nice person, that is for sure.

 

Unfortunately as the property is not yours, there is no lawful ground to evict here. IN any event even if she did have a tenancy agreement with you, you would have to get a Court order for her removal.

 

As to the embezzlement, if she took money without your knowledge, or express agreement that I would certainly say this is a criminal act. I can see however why the Police would be reluctant to get involved, simply due to problems with evidence. To a large extent it is your word against hers. You allowed her access to your account, and all she need do is make up a reason for the missing money (i.e. she did give it to you, or she spent it with your agreement) and the case would be very difficult to run (remember the evidential burden for a criminal case is beyond reasonable doubt - this is quite a high burden)

 

You are of course free to sue her in the civil court, where the evidential burden is much lower (on the balance of probabilities) but if she has no money anyway that may be a waste of time.

 

I am sorry this may not be what you want to hear but hope I have been of assistance.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
OK thank you.

But where does she derive her right to stay from?

And a bit off the actual land law question:
She admitted on at least 2 occasions that she paid that money into her own account. So looking at her bank statements would show that she paid that money into her account shortly after she got it from my account. She undertook to book a Fringe Festival theatre location and now she has to find thousands of pounds to keep up with the installments for lack of own income - and she is kinda successful, haha.

So unless bringing a criminal action opens an easy route to have her account statements drawn for evidential purposes I guess I need not pursue this.

Is it worth paying a lawyer and the time to get some 1500 or max 2000 pounds back? I don't need the money, but I am a man of principles to some extent.

Thank you and I will close this afterwards.

Matthias
Solicitor: Matthew J, Solicitor replied 8 years ago

Hi, sorry away from my computer for a bit there

Her right to stay is based on the fact that she, in essence, is a squatter.

I would suggest you contact your landlord and explain there is an unlawful visitor in the premises and that he should begin proceedings to have her removed. Put the burden on them.

As to the evidence, yes you are right I am sure if the Police investigated further there would be other pieces of evidence but they have to weight this up against the cost. Also even if the money had gone into her account she could still lie and say you allowed her to have it.

As to pursuing the money the problem with this is that the case is a small claim (below £5000) and even if you won you could not get your legal costs back, which may swamp the amount you are awarded (if she actually has anything to pay you).

I would suggest beginning the case yourself. At the end of the day it is your word against hers, and there is a good chance civil Court would believe your word over hers you can start the claim online here - www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome

Matthew J
Matthew J, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
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Experience: 4 y PQE (Partner) - Commercial / Residential Property & Property and Civil litigation experience
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
OK many thanks! I think it is a lost case.

No more questions - I just wanted to say that I find myself looking for a surveillance software for my netbook webcam - she keeps her stuff in our lounge now and the cop said quite literally: "from man to man - she's gonna leave her stuff here and if anything goes missing you will be in big trouble" -- Well thanks Mr cop for insinuating that I steal her stuff in lieu. But since she already tried to smear me for bodily harm, I am now afraid that she puts something in my room while I have a shower etc... and calls the cops again.... or says I hurt her again when I am actually alone in my room, etc... so I will record the inside of my room now, just in case.
I had been her only support here in London, at least financially and gladly gave her easily +700 pounds during some 18 months of knowing her outside of this episode - and I get this mess in turn. I have given several thousand euros to other friends over the years which I never will see again - and again gladly, the difference being that they didn't rob me for it.

I called a solicitor in the morning to make sure I don't do anything undue from a conduct perspective if I get active, as I am also regulated by the law society as a post LPC paralegal, looking for a training contract and she tries to smear me with an offence before I even got down the stairs.... (but I used to work in commercial in-house, not property/crime)

OK, many thanks again, if my "accept answer" button should disappear now after replying to you again, just send me an empty answer and I will do it then.

kind regards
Matthias
Solicitor: Matthew J, Solicitor replied 8 years ago
yes I think that is a good idea.

Watch your back

Good luck!
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