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Lina

giving lodger notice when rent not paid

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Hi,

we've got a lodger who went abroad just before the Covid-19 measures came in place in March and then ended up not being able to return. He had some difficult times and after he initially made 2 rent payments, the last payment covered up to 4 June. He inbetween completely seems to have disappeared to the extent that we called the authorities. He then confirmed beginning of August that he would return 2 days later which was again cancelled. Since, we've heard nothing despite making numerous attempts. His employer recently confirmed that he has been in touch and asked for 2 more  months leave as he needs to sort some personal / legal issues in his home country.

We have now emailed him to give him notice.

My question is however: do we even need to give him notice or is the room de facto already vacated by him not having been there since March and not having paid rent since June?

Please don't get me wrong  - we'd be very happy for him to return and sort things out. But we've made so many attempts to contact him and he seems to blank us, especially considering he was in touch with his employer. On top of it we had some infestation, partially because he tends to hoard in the room?

Which leads me to the next question: can we discard of the property / sell what's worth it to make up for the rent not paid or do we need to store it for some time?

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First be sure he is a lodger and not a tenant.

Basic but if he shares your kitchen and bathroom he is a lodger.

Lodgers don't have rights as a tenant does. You are free to prevent his return into the property w/o any notice. You do have a duty of care toward his belonging though.

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What does a 'duty of care' re belongings entail? Do I have to store them for a certain period? Can I sell any of it to make up for lost rent?

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To add to CoR's excellent advice.....

No you certainly cannot sell his belongings.

I'd pack/box all his belonging up and provided they didn't form to large a pile of stuff I'd store it.....in a shed, garage, spare room etc. I'd tell the lodger that you are storing the items and charging him £x per week.

Then just re let the room.

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I've found advice on how to deal with belongings a bit vague.

Some say 3 months, some say 6 months storage. My way is to create an account of monies due in preparation for defending a claim. The account may be a little awkward as this is lodger related, I've no experience of this. But a judge might view your claim for rents ott and say you could have re let earlier instead of waiting and running up a bill.

In short charge for storage, and to contradict my earlier point it may be reasonable to say the room cost is storage cost as it's still used for his purposes. If / when you dispose of the belongings you need demonstrate their disposal at market value, eBay auction should serve well enough. Your efforts are free. You could employ an agent and charge for their costs. Any revenue can offset your losses, surplus paid to lodger.

Ideally you are better reaching a demonstrable agreement. 

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Make sure you document all of the belongings left, ideally with a witness and take numerous photos to counter any possible claim there was a Rolex left there.

Ideally notice should given be as laid out in the lodger agreement. Without a written agreement best practice would be a notice period the same as any rental payment period ie: week or month. But if the rent has been defaulted on and hasn't been paid despite promises and extra time given, change the locks and notify them they have no further right to the room/property.

Box up the belongings and notify the lodger (in writing/email/text) they have say 10-14 day to collect by appointment only and if you dont hear by xx/xx/xx the items will be disposed of and any cost will be their liability. This may encourage them to enter into some form of dialog and collect the items. However, I would suggest you hold onto to the items a bit longer to be on the safe side say 3 months.

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I have lots of storage space space around my property. I wouldn't want to be faffing around storing stuff for 3 months on the off chance lodger boy is going to turn up and collect it. I'd want to be generating some income from this unfortunate situation, not giving myself a whole pile of extra work. If you have spare space then charge lodger boy for storage and if he's got any sense he'll collect it pretty darn quick.......if he doesn't it's gonna cost him more to get it. That's a win: win for you.

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On 9/14/2020 at 7:51 PM, Richlist said:

To add to CoR's excellent advice.....

No you certainly cannot sell his belongings.

I'd pack/box all his belonging up and provided they didn't form to large a pile of stuff I'd store it.....in a shed, garage, spare room etc. I'd tell the lodger that you are storing the items and charging him £x per week.

Then just re let the room.

Thanks. Sadly it's a lot of stuff (big room plus him being a bit of a hoarder and bringing things like a large dining table in) incl stuff that needs to be stored in a dry environment.

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Thanks all. 

On 9/14/2020 at 8:41 PM, Carryon Regardless said:

I've found advice on how to deal with belongings a bit vague.

Some say 3 months, some say 6 months storage. My way is to create an account of monies due in preparation for defending a claim. The account may be a little awkward as this is lodger related, I've no experience of this. But a judge might view your claim for rents ott and say you could have re let earlier instead of waiting and running up a bill.

In short charge for storage, and to contradict my earlier point it may be reasonable to say the room cost is storage cost as it's still used for his purposes. If / when you dispose of the belongings you need demonstrate their disposal at market value, eBay auction should serve well enough. Your efforts are free. You could employ an agent and charge for their costs. Any revenue can offset your losses, surplus paid to lodger.

Ideally you are better reaching a demonstrable agreement. 

We'd love to but he's not reacting to any attempt from our side to make contact. Even his employer asked him to get back to us.

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Thanks all. I've had another look in the contract which has a clause that we can relet the room without notice period and abandon of goods left as we see fit. He's gone since beginning of March. We'd tried numerous ways to contact him incl embassy and local and Met Police. He finally contacted us in Aug, stating he would come back in a couple of days, he didn't, and then on asking said he would come back asap and keep us updated. This was again 6 weeks ago. Numerous attempts to contact him on his email addresses (incl new one) and Facebook. He does not answer his phone abroad and we know he is not at his home address there either. He has contacted his employer though but not us. We will probably put things into storage as we do understand that things have a value for him. But strictly, this would meet 'abandonment', wouldn't it?

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You should follow the advice already given........contact him using the contacts he provided you with. It doesn't matter if he doesn't get back to you. Tell him what you are doing with the room (reletting) tell him you are putting his stuff in storage for xxx days then it will be disposed of. Tell him to get in touch urgently. 

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The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977

Where the bailor (tenant) is in breach of an obligation to take delivery of goods or the bailee (landlord) could impose such an obligation by giving notice to the tenant but is unable to trace or communicate with the ten- ant, or the landlord can reasonably expect to be relived of any duty to safeguard the goods on giving notice to the tenant but is unable to trace or communicate with the tenant, then the landlord may impose an obligation on the tenant to take delivery of the goods or give directions as to there delivery. [s12(1)(a) – (c) & (2) Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977].

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Good stuff Grampa,

A bit vague, or lacking, in the notice period. That is how long becomes reasonable notice for a T to get 'their' stuff.

The 'their' bit is hi lighting my surprise that the legislation has misspelled something.

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Shame the Torts Act is not written in plain English.

.........."as you have failed to communicate to my 3 written requests on when are you coming to collect your possessions (insert dates) I give you notice that I shall be taking them to the local recycling centre after 14 days". 

Sorted!   👍

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One alternative to consider is to rent a small storage room. You would need to pay the monthly fee......although some units are offered with the first month or two at £1. You may even be able to put the storage room in lodger boys name. 

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Beware, the law regarding lodgers may not be as simple as commonly thought. I refer to this page, which appears to insist that:

 "if the [live in] landlord decides to evict the lodger, but they refuse to leave, the landlord may need to get a court possession order. "

Here is the page on Live-in-Landlord rights, and that quote was taken from section 5 at the bottom of the page:

https://blog.constructaquote.com/live-in-landlords-rights/

It was a surprise to me too.. and I'm here because I thought live-in-landlords didn't need a court order under any circumstances to evict a Lodger & could simply change the locks if they refuse to move out. Can anyone chime in on this?

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6 hours ago, poopsterfire said:

Beware, the law regarding lodgers may not be as simple as commonly thought. I refer to this page, which appears to insist that:

 "if the [live in] landlord decides to evict the lodger, but they refuse to leave, the landlord may need to get a court possession order. "

Here is the page on Live-in-Landlord rights, and that quote was taken from section 5 at the bottom of the page:

https://blog.constructaquote.com/live-in-landlords-rights/

It was a surprise to me too.. and I'm here because I thought live-in-landlords didn't need a court order under any circumstances to evict a Lodger & could simply change the locks if they refuse to move out. Can anyone chime in on this?

Yes but if you read further down the article it states:

The lodger is likely to be an excluded occupier if:

  • they live in the landlords’ home
  • they share a kitchen, bathroom or living room with the landlord or any other household members

In this case, the landlord only has to give the lodger reasonable notice to end the letting, known as a ‘notice to quit’ and they do not have to go to court to evict them.

The ‘notice to quit’ does not have to be in writing, but it is recommended that landlords provide the lodger with a formal notice to quit stating when they must leave. This is to prevent the lodger claiming they were never asked to leave an eliminating any communication errors.

The notice to quit is usually the length of the rental payment period – so, if the lodger pays rent on a weekly basis, the landlord must give the lodger one weeks’ notice to leave the property.

After this period, the landlord can change the locks on the property, even if the lodger has left their belongings there. The landlord must give the belongings back to the lodger without giving the lodger access the property.

For lodgers of this kind, the landlord does not need a court order to evict the lodger.

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