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Live-in landlady with lodger in spare room problem

Reiki Sue

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Now it's my turn to ask you guys & girls for your advice:

I have had a lodger in my spare room in my home, with myself as live-in landlady, for the last 4 months and each month she's late paying her rent (all the normal excuses etc). About 7 weeks ago i wrote her a letter saying that this situation was intolerable and that any further repeat would result in me giving her a week's notice. At the beginning of October i went away and she said her mother would pay the rent (although the date of payment kept moving!), then i went away for 1.5 weeks and found that no rent had been paid.

On my return to my home i found she had disappeared but most of her stuff was still in her room. Over the last week i have tried speaking to her but all i got once was a quick 'i can't talk right now' before she put the phone down and since then i have ended up mostly leaving answer phone messages or sending a couple of texts and get very little info back. The only key text i got from her was ' Hello Sue, my mum is not well that is where i have been the past days. This is a serious problem my dad said he will give u the (deposit*) cheque and the £490 (sum outstanding) on monday 22nd because we needed the money.' (Other info about lodger's character is that she also lies about a lot of things and takes stuff from within my part of the house and moves things into her room (nothing valuable but i have told her off numerous times for not asking me first!)). For some instinctive reason i didn't believe her and I happened to know where her mother worked and called the office (i didn't speak to her but was informed she was at work and definitely wasn't sick - incidentally i didn't say who i was). The only slight snag is that my lodger may have a step-mother that she's choosing to call 'mum' in this instance??? Anyway i left my lodger another answerphone message enquiring about her 'mother', when would she be returning etc and reminding her about the rent she had agreed to pay on 22/10 - incidentally it was supposed to have been paid around 7th of each month. I had no reply. So on Friday 19th October i sent her another text stating 'Hope your mum is ok? As per your last text i fully expect all payments to be in my bank or in 'my hand' by 22/10! However due to your track record, i'm starting your week's notice from today (Fri 19/10) just in case this money fails to materialise. This is non-negotiable and no excuses! Sue'. She replied 'alright thanx'. I don't know if that was with reference to her 'sick' mother or the whole text.

Can you advise me as to what my rights are with regard to these two scenerios:

Scenario One: So if she doesn't pay by say 25/10, then i will text her on Thursday night (25/10) and i'll state her notice period is up and her property has been removed from her room and has been secured safely elsewhere (in my garage) and that the locks have been changed and that her property will be released on full payment of outstanding monies in cash and that i have another tenant now in the room.

Scenario Two: If she pays up within this week's notice period i am then going to give her a week's notice to move out on the grounds that the relationship between us has irretrievably broken down and that as per her contract there will be a one week notice period. If she hasn't reappeared then i'll inform her her property has been removed from her room and has been secured safely elsewhere (in my garage) and that the locks have been changed and that her property will be released to her on request (or if not collected within 1 month will be given to charity) and that i have another tenant now in the room.

* Regarding the deposit - unfortunately she moved in rather quickly after i had interviewed her and after loads of excuses and about 11 days later i managed to get the rent squeezed out of her (her mother paid incidentally) and since then and four months later i have been trying to get a deposit from her. Can you please advise me if i am safe doing the two possible scenarios? I am hoping i have a new potential tenant waiting in the wings.

See below for my contract and last letter to her! Also if there is anything 'illegal' or missing from this contract etc please let me know. Incidentally do you have any examples of contracts/letters etc you could email me for me to use instead of mine (unless you think mine are ok?).

Many thanks

Reiki Sue xx


Here is the contract she signed:

Lodging Contract

This contract is between:

Tenant: ____XYZ__________

Landlady: ____ABC_________

Nature of Contract:

The contract covers the renting of the 'blue' room, the sharing of the kitchen and its facilities, the sharing of the bathroom and its facilities and the sharing and use of the garden.

Basis of contract:

The respectful and responsible use of the above rooms and facilities by the tenant. Failure to abide by the rules on the attached page of 'House Rules' may result in the termination of this contract as stated below under Notice Periods.

Date of Start of Tenancy:



£380 per calendar month to be paid in advance by standing order, cash or pre-dated cheques on the ____ of each month without delay or excuse. Failure to pay the rent within three days of this date will result in the cashing of the deposit cheque (see under Deposit section for details). This will follow one verbal request and after that without further conversation this cheque will be cashed.

This £380 per month includes all bills except the use of the Virgin Media cable/internet service as sited in the 'blue room'. That is a separate service and you will need to set up a personal contract with Virgin Media and be 100% responsible for the payment and cancellation of this service.

Notice Period:

In the event that the relationship between Landlady and tenant irretrievably breaks down to a serious level then the notice period will be one week. In general however on either side the Notice Period is two weeks notice during the first two months and 1 calendar month's notice thereafter. In the event of any disagreement the landlady's word is final.


The deposit needs to be a £200 cheque. This will not be cashed unless there is reason to do so which may entail using this sum in full or in part in the event of any damage to property, furniture, furnishings in any room, cleaning bills or unpaid rent that is more than three days late etc. This deposit cheque is returnable on leaving, subject to deductions for any damage caused/costs incurred whilst lodging. Further deposit cheques will be required to replace any used ones. Also replacement deposit cheques will be required every six months.


As at the day of departure, the room must be left in the same standard of cleanliness and in the same state as when you moved in. You are 100% responsible for all the cleaning and preparation this entails e.g. dusting, hoovering, vaxing carpets and cleaning all surfaces of all the furniture and the removal of all you belongings. You must also ensure all post is redirected to your new address.

Agreed: ________________________________________________ Dated: ______

Signed: ________________________________________________ Dated: ______

and here is the letter i sent her:

2nd September 2007

Dear XYZ,


As I have previously discussed with you on a number of occasions I must have:

1) £110 outstanding from your August rent payment

2) £380 in cash or cheque for September's rent payment

3) £200 deposit cheque outstanding since you moved in (won't be cashed unless required to cover any outstanding rent payments etc).

All three of these must be received by me by absolutely no later than 11.30am on Tuesday morning 4th September 2007.

If this does not occur in full by 11.30am. Then I will be re-advertising your room for rent immediately thereafter and as soon as I have the right person I will give you one week's notice to vacate your room. You will be expected to continue honouring rent payments for the time you are renting the room.

In the event that you do pay the above payments on time this month then you may continue to stay but if you then have payment issues in any future months then this process will applied accordingly.

As it stands this current situation is not viable or acceptable. I have run out of patience and this situation must be resolved by 11.30am 4th September 2007.



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If you want T out then you have already served notice via text ....do it properly and put it in writing...

If o/s monies not received then, again in writing, and send by rec del or srved with witness -write letter detailing ...cleared funds to be received within 7,10,14,21,....28 ( whatever you decide ) or case will be passed to Debt Collector whose fees (15% )will be added to debt along with interest and costs ....

this threat normally elicits immediate payment...

You cant hold her "stuff" to ransom (well you can, but not legally) you have a duty of care to actually look after it for a "reasonable" time...

You are either serving notice or you are not :

"as soon as I have the right person I will give you one week's notice to vacate your room. You will be expected to continue honouring rent payments for the time you are renting the room. " is not really very fair at all ...i it ??!!!

I think although your agreement has "its heart in the right place" it does not read professionally and any legal bod would rip it to shreds .....it needs a complete rewrite ...try googling "lodger or lodging agreements" !!!

Also ..what on earth is the point of taking a dep cheque and not cashing it? If i was your T and i fell out with you ...the first thing i would do, would be to cancel the cheque so you couldn't cash it ??!! An actual financial commitment is very important ....try it ....!

In future get straight on T case when they are late NOT 2 months later ...using Debt collector threat (and action if necessary ) within first month and hammer home a precedent that rent WILL NOT BE LATE EVER ...PERIOD...

Just imagine your T had stolen this money from your purse in cash ( it should be there, and it is not ....) how would you react then ???? That is how you must react when rent is late ......trust me it works !!!!!!!

Let us know how you get on..


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Many thanks Simon for your comments - much appreciated and agreed with!

Well surprisingly she made a brief late night appearance last night and handed over £200. And said she'd 'internet' me over another £150 today and the rest would follow shortly. On Thursday when that week's notice is up i will then give her official actual notice to move out a week later. I don't want to have that final discussion with her until i have squeezed what i can out of her by this Thursday. I just want her gone by end of next week (or there abouts) so that i don't enter into another month. She disappeared off again and said she'd be back here next Monday. She is very cagey about where she's staying. I have decided that by this Thursday she will either have paid all or part of it and that i must detach myself from the 'agro' and be able to let go of the situation in whatever condition it ends in. I must also accept full responsibility for having 'been irresponsible' in the first place by taking her on incorrectly and against my instinctive feelings and not dealing with the situation properly during her tenancy.

I have in the past got so involved in pursuing things because there is a payoff in that 'i want to be right', 'i want to win' - but ultimately when you look into most of my persistent complaints and also other people's complaints it is because we haven't been responsible or have avoided being responsible in the first place and often the anger we show towards tenants etc is actually a reflection of the annoyance we have about ourselves for having created such a situation in the first place. Plus when you look at the impact such persistent complaints have on our well-being, relationships etc it is important to know when to let go of the 'banana'! Hope that makes sense :D


Reiki Sue x

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Amazing - miracles are happening - Tenant has coughed up another £150 into my account! Now she just owes me £140 by Thursday.

I have set the intention / possibility that she will pay the monies owed by 25th October 2007 and that she will have moved out by 1st November 2007 and that this will be done in a peaceful, harmonious and responsible manner.

Calling all the Angels!


Reiki Sue x

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