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Tenant or Lodger

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231 views 1 replies latest reply: 11 July 2017

I have recently moved into a property (renting a room) and there a several things which many of my friends and family agree need addressing legally. By way of background: the house is a 4 bed with 3 rooms (2 stories) being rented by 3 single, unconnected people. We are not allowed to use the lounge (although I only found this out after I moved in via a What’s App message, nothing in writing).

Firstly, the landlord does not ‘live’ in the property and has verbally confirmed he has no intention of coming to live in it as it is too far out, central London being more conveniently located. I believe he has not lived in the property at all this year and he has no belongings in the property. However, I recently asked for a lock on my door (having failed to check when viewing the room, en suite) and his reaction was unreal. He said that I couldn’t and that if I felt like I needed a lock on my door then this wasn’t the house for me and I should consider giving my notice! He then phoned me and tried to goad me into leaving. Note this is my first and only request, we barely spoke before so it’s not like we’ve had a run in and for the record, I’m very clean and tidy.

I said that it was usual in such situations and given that our front door could be opened from the outside, I’d feel safer. I was told I’m a lodger and had no right to a lock on the room. I said that I was a tenant as he didn’t live in the property to which he replied ‘I keep one room spare so that I can stay in it anytime’.

He and his mother come into the house whenever they wish, without any notice – even as a courtesy. I believe they have been snooping around my room (not that I have much of any interest but that’s really not the point).

Finally, there are two cameras in the house which he said were for security purposes when in fact, it is evident he does not like any visitors to the house and clearly watches who goes into the house and whether anyone opens the lounge door! I’m 99% sure they record audio (which I have not and would not consent to) so that the one area downstairs we are permitted to use, he is listening in!

Is he allowed to do this? Surely it’s clear that he doesn’t live in the house and he is trying to shirk his responsibilities and control the people in the house by refusing their rights? It’s evident that he is controlling and I do not intend to stay long term but in the meantime, I’m stuck here until I find something else.

Any advice (with reference) would be very much appreciated.

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My most honest advice is to find a new home. Even if you manage to win every fight for every issue you have – the lock, the camera, the visits, the lodger vs tenant status, etc., this landlord sounds like a creepy fellow, who would give you more trouble than you’re asking for. 

In fact, the property sounds like an HMO, but one who doesn’t have a license. It’s certainly not a lodging, as there is no resident landlord. A locked room means nothing. 

I would just stay away. Find a new home that will make you happy – not anxious or stressed.

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