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98 views 2 replies latest reply: 29 August 2017

I live in an HMO and the landlady is a touch on the paranoid side- she is almost 90 and while not completely senile seems to get more and more scatty each year. She keeps on saying every year that the number of the books in my room are a Fire Hazard. She’s gone quiet on that now, thank God. Now, apparently, unbeknownst to me, she has a problem with the state of my carpet- it’s not very worn but it is quite stained and dusty. While I would like to be more of a cleaner than I am, I do have to point out that I work about 60 hours a week, and am now going back on forth between my room in London and my father’s place in Wiltshire to see my 87 year old father who is in and out of hospital with prostate problems, and I am frequently so exhausted that all I can do a lot of evenings is simply flop onto the bed to sleep. So let’s just say that vacuuming is not on my top list of priorities ( though I do occasionally make the effort )

I had one of my extremely rare mornings off yesterday ( because I had to take the train down again to see my Dad ) and as I went into the house, the tenant on the ground floor who also is the handyman for the landlady saw me and told me that my landlady wants him to replace the carpet in my room. This was complete news to me since she had not said anything to me and never given me a note or slightest indication that she was dissatisfied with the state of my carpet ( the landlady does go into my room about twice a week, once to empty the coin meter and once to collect the weekly rent ). The handyman actually is on my side, and thinks the landlady is totally potty as well- he said something to the effect of “Well, just have a vacuum around your room – I’ll fob her off with something like I’ll replace the carpet in November and by then she’ll have probably have forgotten about it.”

I actually had a good old vacuum immediately but there are still some stains on the carpet. I’m still rattled at the thought that my landlady will at some point go into my room, put pressure on me to move my bed, books, bags, furniture belongings, basically anything else on the carpet so that she can lay out a new carpet without my permission. I can’t be doing with this, particularly at this stressful point in my life. The carpet’s perfectly okay, apart from some stains and stubborn dust, and I’m even prepared to spend more time and money on getting those problems treated. But I do NOT want a new carpet laid. It’s going to be too disruptive, and I really doubt – because of all the stuff I have covering a great deal of the floor – that it would be a one-day job. I’ve just got too many commitments on at the moment – my father’s health, my stressful job, my lack of sleep – it would send me over the edge if I had to deal with clearing everything I have to make room for a new carpet.

Do I have the right to tell my landlady not to have this carpet replaced? This landlady is one of these characters who says that she has to make a room alteration because if it is not done ” it is a fire hazard” ( seems to be her stock phrase ) and that what she says has to be done is “for the Council – and you can’t argue with the Council because they’re the Government ” ( she never produces any letters, etc, to corroborate these wildly panicky statements ). I actually doubt that anyone from the Council has been there for a long time- last year she told me to get rid of a lot of books because The Council were coming, and they never did !

The nice handyman on the ground floor may be perfectly right, she may forget about her request in time, but I just want to know where I stand legally just in case the landlady decides to have my room invaded ( yet again ). After all, a few months ago, she had a complete stranger, an electrician, come into each of our rooms to fit in a smoke alarm and she never told any of the tenants in advance that this was happening ( she did leave a scribbled note on the ground floor for us all to look at to inform us afterwards that the job had been done )- I wasn’t too pleased about this approach. None of the tenants was.

What’s your opinion / advice?

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It does sound rather like your Landlady may still be stuck in a Time-Loop, c. 1952..!

It also sounds like you are a “Lodger” rather than a “Tenant”. That is: you are (essentially) renting a “spare room” in your Landlady’s main place of residence.

If that is the case, then you have far more limited rights than if you were a tenant living in a distinct property (e.g. a separated flat in a block with a communal stairwell).

That is really the distinction you need to establish. If you are a “Lodger”, then your Landlady does have the right to enter and leave your room as she pleases, and to replace the carpet if that is her whim. If you are a “Tenant”, then she does not.

This may help:

Good luck!


Thanks, Steve – yes, she is definitely stuck in a Time Loop ( one of my friends thought it reminded them of a “Rising Damp” episode )

I am definitely a Tenant and not a Lodger- she actually has me sign a new Tenancy agreement every time the Rent goes up ( which is about every 3 years ). My landlady does not live in the building herself and consistently refers to the building as HMO. It’s a house of three floors with two bathrooms and a toilet. Each room has a sink and fridge and a little cooker ( some have a shower but not my room which is tiny ) so it’s sort of a lowerscale variation of a bedsitter. I could understand her logic if she was living in the house herself but this is just a Men’s Only block ! 

I just met her again this morning – she’s already ruined my weekend because I’d been thinking about this confrontation. When she started by telling me she was going to replace my carpet ( and thus cause tremendous upheaval ) I let her have my views quite stridently during which time she put on her “pretending to be senile” act and removed her hearing aid halfway through my discourse ! But she’s backed down ( I think ! ) I said I could clean the carpet thoroughly and even put a nice new rug over it, even though there’s no actual wear and tear there. I also pointed out that the Council were more likely to be shocked by the large stain on the Ground floor and the filthy walls which are on the 2nd floor level than be worried by my slightly dusty carpet, so what was she going to do about that? She chose to ignore the question !

Anyhow, thanks for your input – I’m hoping that the subject has been laid to rest and sorted now !

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