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letting someone live in your empty property...

(21 Posts)
witwootoodleoo Tue 07-Mar-17 08:41:02

Long story short is that I have a house that is currently empty. I need to move in to it in a few months but for now it is sat doing nothing.

A very vague acquaintance is living with family but has to move out - not really sure of the details but I think the family member's partner is moving in and so they want her to leave.

She had nowhere to go as money is tight and it seems she can't afford anywhere on the private market. She is looking in to some housing options that are specific to a disability but won't come through in time and there is no guarantee they ever will.

Morally I want to help and let her stay in my empty house for a few months whilst I'm not using it.

BUT what if she won't move out? Not even suggesting she's a nasty person that would just refuse but I wonder if she'd end up having to stay and make us evict her so that she isn't considered to have made herself intentionally homeless if she needs to present to the council as homeless.

Is there anything I could do to protect my position legally if I let her stay there? Ideally I'd want her to pay towards the bills whilst she's there if that makes any difference

witwootoodleoo Tue 07-Mar-17 08:41:57

Soery posted too soon - any help or suggestions very gratefully received flowers

scaredofthecity Tue 07-Mar-17 08:52:55

I wouldn't. You barely know her and the risks are too high.

It's not about her not 'being a nasty person' it's the fact that the council will not house her like you say until she's evicted.

It sucks that it works this way, and it is a dilemma, but for me, it's just not worth the risk for a few months.

purpleme12 Tue 07-Mar-17 08:53:31

You can get a tenancy agreement. You can download them they're still legally binding if signed. Just and it to what you need. That's the only way to make sure

Floggingmolly Tue 07-Mar-17 08:57:09

Where is she going to go when you need her to move out, if she can't afford the private market and the disability options are unlikely to come through?
I wouldn't dream if doing this, however sorry for her you may feel.
A very vague acquaintance will owe you nothing more than you owe her. No guarantee she'd behave decently at all.

TinfoilHattie Tue 07-Mar-17 08:58:20

Yes, but even with a tenancy agreement the temporary tenant could refuse to leave at the end of it, OP has to go to court, get an eviction order, pay for bailiffs etc etc which costs a packet and takes months.

I would steer WELL clear, especially in this case where the person isn't a close friend or family member.

witwootoodleoo Tue 07-Mar-17 09:04:14

Thanks all. I feared that would be the case. I just feel terrible that there's someone with nowhere to go and I have an empty house just sitting there and I can't help them. I actually think it would be lower risk to have her stay for a month or two in our current house as presumably it's easier to boot out a current guest, but then again I don't really want basically a stranger living with us either.

specialsubject Tue 07-Mar-17 09:21:16

What you want is to avoid creating a tenancy, so she doesn't have tenants rights. Create one and she is there until the bailiff if she wants.

Dont know how you do this though!

witwootoodleoo Tue 07-Mar-17 09:27:09

That's what I was thinking specialsubject - not sure how you prevent someone acquiring the right to live somewhere. I wondered if the Shelter helpline could point me in the right direction as presumably they are used to advising on what does give a right to stay somewhere- but I'm a bit worried they'll think I'm some evil landlord trying to come up with way to boot tenants out at will

Floggingmolly Tue 07-Mar-17 09:28:19

She'll be in the same position in a few months when you need the house back, though. Will you be able to kick her out without compunction (assuming she agrees to leave without fuss)? It doesn't sound like it.
And yet her own family are doing just that...

specialsubject Tue 07-Mar-17 09:32:28


Just had a look at the concept of property guardians. The companies that provide them claim that they are licensees, not tenants, but landlord law thinks they are on dodgy ground. The only way to be sure is for you to live there too, or to take on the person as an employee with all the associated rights, and make it tied accommodation.

Or you could make it a holiday let (lots of cost). She could be an unpaid house sitter but again you risk creating an implied tenancy.

Sadly with the law as it is, it appears to me that your safest option is to board the place up and leave her homeless. Nuts, isn't it?

Bleeding obvious disclaimer -I'm not a property lawyer.

ImperialBlether Tue 07-Mar-17 09:37:10

You are making her problem your problem, when you don't really even know her. Do you have rescuing tendencies?

witwootoodleoo Tue 07-Mar-17 09:59:01

I wouldn't say I have rescuing tendencies necessarily but I just think it feels wrong to have an empty house sat there when there's a housing crisis and someone has nowhere to go.

Thanks special that's food for thought. I could actually go and stay there the odd night and put some of my possessions back in. I wonder if that is enough to stop it counting as a tenancy?

But I agree with others that it will be tough to make her leave when the time comes if I know she has nowhere to go

Ohyesiam Tue 07-Mar-17 12:43:34

There of probably a legal definition of tenancy
Also could you get her to sign something that says she will get out when asked, or on a specific date, and have it signed/ratified by a solicitor.
The cab could advise you a about either of there's options.

GinAndTunic Tue 07-Mar-17 12:46:31

I know it's not ideal, but could you arrange for her to be a house-sitter rather than a tenant?

Bitchycocktailwaitress Tue 07-Mar-17 12:49:29

Sorry but your possessions being in the property will not avoid it being a tenancy. The only way you can obtain a lodger status for her is to be a live in landlord. Or a holiday let.

Floggingmolly Tue 07-Mar-17 12:52:09

What will happen to her if you don't offer her this soloution, op? Just wondering how you got dragged into the housing crisis of a "very vague acquaintance" in the first place?

witwootoodleoo Tue 07-Mar-17 13:29:16

No idea what happens to be honest if I don't offer her the chance to stay- I've not engaged with her on it yet. I'd asked around if any friends or family wanted a place to stay for a month or two as it might have been handy for someone and I figured it would be better to have someone there than leave it empty.

Someone has obviously mentioned it to her and she's messaged me. I've not replied yet.

Although actually the problem may just have solved itself because a lifelong friend who I had given first refusal to, who thought she wouldn't take me up on the offer, looks like she now will and given I offered it to her first I guess my conscience is clear in having to politely decline the acquaintance.

Thanks all

Floggingmolly Tue 07-Mar-17 13:32:32

All's well that ends well, luckily for you. You must have cast your net wide, with this messaging around, if a vague acquaintance took you up on the offer?
Would you have handed over the keys of your home to anybody? <boggle>

specialsubject Tue 07-Mar-17 17:30:25

You will still be making the other person a tenant so all landlord obligations apply.

Count2three Tue 07-Mar-17 17:49:55

I don't have any advice but do have experience. I've been a landlord with tenants who refused to move out, despite being served the correct notices. Took 6 months through the courts.

I also have a relative who stayed in an unoccupied property of a mutual deceased relative. She had no tenancy agreement but was assured by CAB that she had the same rights and was therefore going nowhere until she was ready.

I would proceed with caution.

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