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Unlisted tenant taking over occupancy - how to evict?(11 Posts)
I have an issue with my UK flat.
I rented it to an unmarried couple in February who have now split acrimoniously. The man is the tenancy holder (I only allowed one of them to be listed, to avoid this very scenario). She is not on the tenancy. Around a week ago, she assaulted him and he called the police – they encouraged him to leave the property and ‘cool off’. It’s my understanding that’s the last contact the two have had with each other, and it seems the relationship is over.
She has holed herself up in my flat. He wants to move back in but is scared to go back to the property as the police have advised she may use this as an opportunity to make allegations against him.
So, he is my legal tenant. She however will not leave, and wants to take over the tenancy for herself – I am not willing to do this, I believe she is now unemployed so couldn’t pay rent, plus it would breach my current contract with him (which is a 12 month contract with a 1 month notice clause on either side). FYI the 2 months they have lived there, rent has been late or paid in dribs and drabs anyway, so I’d like to terminate all together.
Before things escalate, I need to know -
a) what rights, after 2 months of cohabiting, she has to remain in the property when it is in his name?
b) where I stand in terms of getting her to leave?
Any advice would be appreciated as currently I see no course of action other than either a) for him to go back to the property and physically take up residency again, or b) gain his permission as the sole tenancy holder to go in and change the locks whilst she’s out, forcing her to leave. Can I do that, or would I get in trouble?
I look forward to any advice you can share, thanks!
I think unfortunately you don't know enough about landlord and tenant law and you've got into a sticky situation. Firstly you always have to give two months notice as a LL. Your tenant can give you one month's notice.
You have a 12 month fixed term contract so neither party can give notice until the fixed term is ended. You can serve a section 8 at the point where there is 2 month's full rent arrears.
You should have made sure that all occupiers over the age of 18 were on the tenancy agreement as this is the easiest route to eviction. It is very difficult to evict someone who is not a tenant as they don't really exist in the law.
I think you need to get proper legal advice and probably instruct a solicitor to handle this for you.
By the way, do not enter the property or change locks under any circumstances.
As has been said you can't do anything for another 8 months unless they get 2 full months behind on the rent.
Did you properly protect their deposit? If not this could get very problematic for you.
You may have to take this as far as the bailiffs who are the only ones who can evict everybody who is there.
It is possible - check with a qualified person - that he can give notice which you then accept ( that 1 month on your side isn't legal) . that ends the tenancy. You may then be able to start eviction proceedings.
Do not change locks or go round unannounced. That will get you in trouble. That applies even if no rent, property being destroyed or both.
There's some dodgy advice on this thread already. Take it all with a grain of salt (including mine) and see a solicitor about this if you can. That said....
a) if she is not a named tenant then she is legally an 'excluded occupier'. She has the same status as a lodger and has very little protection against eviction. Her (ex?)boyfriend needs to give her 'reasonable notice' to leave, ideally in some written form in case you need to prove it later. It doesn't have to be a letter, a text or email will suffice. But remember it has to come from her boyfriend, not you - he is technically her landlord and she was lodging with him.
b) in terms of getting her to leave, ideally you need his co-operation. After her 'reasonable notice' (no exact definition, but since they've only been there two months and it's a relationship breakup, i would say one or two weeks would be fine) has run out, then you can change the locks. Obviously you can only do this if you have his permission. If he co-operate with you, then you will need to wait for either the fixed term of the tenancy to expire (in eight months!), or wait for one of the section 8 grounds to apply (probably 2 months unpaid rent), then you can go to court to end the tenancy altogether.
I wanted to add:
Not sure how I missed this but her assaulting him definitely changes how much 'reasonable notice' he needs to give her. In these circumstances, I think a couple of days would be sufficient, not two weeks.
Does your LL insurance have legal cover? If so worth a phone call to the insurance company. And do you use a letting agency to manage the property since you are abroad? They should be able to advise you if so.
I hope Hont's advice works, that would be useful.
Absolutely do not take her on. And for future ref: first contract MUST have a six month break, and reference them thoroughly including google and facebook. People that can't/won't pay just two months in should never have got approved in the first place.
Thanks all - unbelievably they seem to have reconciled now, so I'll stick a pin in this until the inevitable next time, & look forward to the end of their contract! Appreciate the comments.
Phew - for now. If the rent is late enough you could try a section 8, otherwise issue the section 21 two months before the end of the fixed term and prepare for battle.
Make sure you are perfect on paperwork and legal expenses cover. I doubt you will get rent guarantee now.
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