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Lodging issues (rent)

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390 views 2 replies latest reply: 21 December 2016
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Tenant

I’m writing this on behalf of my girlfriend who’s currently lodging.

Essentially the owner of the property is bizarre, and went from moving her clothes around in her room, to opening her food, to leaving passive aggressive notes around essentially “telling her off” for strange things. Nothing to sinister, just a bit odd.

She found it all a bit too weird & has decided to move out, the issue is she has only lived there for 6 weeks so far so when attempting to give her 4 weeks notice the owner of the house has stated she can only give 4 weeks notice at the end of week 8, thus she’ll have to live in the property until February (12 weeks total); the contract is slightly vague & poorly worded but it does appear to state this in my opinion. Since attempting to give notice the lady has become verbally abusive, locked her in the kitchen & begun acting more unacceptably. She has a new property to move into at the start of January but this means she’ll be contracted to pay rent to both properties.

So my question is what can happen if she just refuses to pay rent for the last 4 weeks when she won’t be living in the property? The owner has already stated she wants the key back as soon as she moves out (January), rather than at the time the contract runs out (February) which seems suggestive she wants to double rent it to me (if that’s a term). 

If she stands her ground, moves out, gives the key back in January & refuses to pay the last 4 weeks rent what sort of issues could arise for her? From what I’ve heard it’s essentially harrassment at this stage, without any proof (but potentially could gather some over the next week or so).

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Tenant

“locked her in the kitchen” – Did you call the police ? I mean this is completely unacceptable behaviour. 

The worst thing that can happen is if the landlady were to take her to court and get a CCJ on her name for the missing rent + legal costs. 

The best thing that can happen is your girlfriend getting off the leash. 

The landlady can’t double rent. If she gets your girlfriend’s money, she’s entitled to occupy the property for the remainder of the time. If she gets in a new renter, the landlady has to return the rent to your girlfriend. 

Your best option is to gather as much proof of harassment as you can until January (which unfortunately means your girlfriend has to endure said harassment ) and then use it as leverage to get out of the deal. 

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Tenant

Cheers for the comment. Pretty much what I thought. 

The locking in the kitchen incident was only for a short period & then obviously denied by the owner, sounds like just mind games that have escalated since she’s told the lady she’s leaving now.

Guess it would be a gamble to just not pay then, in likelihood I imagine the owner wouldn’t dare take her to court due to her own behaviour obviously getting flagged up – but doesn’t sound worth that risk.

If she got a new renter I’m not sure how we’d be able to know that? So I guess it’s best just to keep the key until her contract runs out, that way to double rent she’d have to change the locks & get new keys for everyone, hopefully enough to put her off doing so.

But yes she’s already come to terms with the harassment for another week or so before she gets to leave, I’ll let her know to try & get some proof as I imagine once we get some the owner may give in when it comes to rent.

Another issue will be the deposit, from what I understand lodgers don’t have their deposit secured by the government schemes – I’ve little doubt the owner will try to claim as much of the deposit as possible, any tips on avoiding this situation/getting the money back? Was thinking of suggesting to her not to pay full rent for the final month; just the difference between the deposit & the months rent and let the owner keep the deposit money to cover the rest of the rent for the month – which ensures she pays her contract up but gets the full deposit sum back – would that be a legally sound thing to do?

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