A lady I know rents a shop where she runs spiritual sessions. Her daughter is the tenant under the commercial lease and there is an upstairs dwelling area that is bare with no sanitation and basically unfit for habitation.
In November last year, a male was homeless and the lady's husband had offered some work to the male whom was homeless on a cash basis. (Yes I know)
The family felt for this young man. Offered him a bed and purchased some items (bed, bedding) to make his stay somewhat more comfortable and he used the space to store some Christmas presents for his son.
The male left just before Christmas and removed his goods. He had keys, so after a month, the tenants changed the locks.
On 6th February, the tenant's mother received a solicitors letter detailing unlawful eviction and witholding items belonging to the male.
On speaking with the solicitor, the lady asked for an inventory of the left items. The solicitor mentioned they could be in trouble for illegally sub-letting the upstairs dwelling as the fact she offered him somewhere to stay incorporates a landlord/tenant relationship. The lady repeatedly has text the young man to collect his remaining items that include the bed the lady bought for him.
They received nor profited from his stay in terms of financial gain. He was not asked to pay any rent.
We can dispute the inventory with cogent proof of ownership of items. However, the claimants position outlined by the solicitor is that if all of the items claimed to be his are not returned, then the claimant will be pursuing an illegal eviction claim.
I'd be clear to his solicitor, he's left his goods there and can arrange a mutually agreeable date to collect. He wasn't renting,no money changed hands, it was an act of 'kindness' which back fired and we wish him well but has burnt the bridge and not to contact again
Rusty on the details but if no rent was demanded or paid, I think this guy was a guest not a tenant and therefore wouldn't qualify for legal protection as a tenant. This almost sounds like a law school essay question!
This is what I think is the legal position. The solicitor is arguing that he was a tenant as without an agreement, if rent was paid, a landlord/tenant relationship exists.
He's claiming he worked for the husband and that the huse and would deduct the rent from his 'wages' however, the husband runs a sole trader maintenance business and his petty cash proves this individual was paid for three days work and no rent was deducted.
My understanding of the matter is the solicitor is trying to have them on the sub-letting issue under the landlord/tenant act (the commercial element) yet calling it an 'unlawful eviction' which is under the Housing Act and not as in this case, as the shop lease comes under the Landlord/Tenant Act.
So I think the solicitor is slightly confused when she says 'unlawful eviction' as the property is not a residential dwelling.
She's got to prove a tenancy existed in the first place to be able to claim it was unlawfully terminated surely?! If he was a guest, there is no subletting and in any case that would be an issue for the shop's landlord and breach of their lease and no concern of a guest
Sounds like an informal licence of commercial premises to me as the area upstairs is bare and not residential. It is a bit like when Guardianship schemes get someone in under licence to sleep at an empty building to keep it free of burglars.