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My friend is having some trouble with her deposit return. Basically, March year she signed a lodger's agreement when the landlord was living in his property. A few months later, the landlord moved out and started renting the other rooms (non-HMO and that's also being currently investigated by the council). However, now she moved out and hasn't received her deposit back yet - the landlord keeps saying he's busy etc.
On the lodger's agreement there is a note saying that because it is not a formal tenancy agreement, the deposit does not have to be protected. However, the people at the council who are investigating the non HMO status advised her to seek legal advice and it may be that the lodger's agreement automatically became a tenancy agreement when the landlord moved out of the property, and therefore the deposit should have been protected from that point onwards and she could therefore claim up to 3 x deposit compensation.
Does anyone have experience regarding this? What happens to the lodger's agreement once the landlord moves out of the property and starts renting other rooms out? Could this straight up convert into a tenancy agreement even if nothing else was signed?
There are many variables in this situation and I very much doubt the council will be able to give appropriate advice. Possibly try CAB or Shelter.
The situation very much depends on the agreements made and the landlords intentions (and knowledge).
A tenancy may have been created for some, none or all of the occupants.
Thanks - she's got an appointment with CAB later this month but she's wondering whether it's worth going straight to a solicitor and she wouldn't mind paying if she definitely got the compensation - do you know if any operate this no win/ no fee business for these scenarios?
I'm not aware of any no win/no fee solicitors. I believe Giles Peaker at Anthony Gold would be able to advise on the situation.
Some initial questions:
What are the landlords intentions with the property, do they intend to return?
Where is the landlord registered to vote, GP, banking address, etc? This may indicate which is their main home.
What are the agreements with the other occupants? If one is on a licence for services or employment this can change the situation and they may be considered part of the landlord's household (this will also effect the HMO investigation).
It's all very dependant on the landlord's knowledge and it may be a simple case of when the landlord moved a tenancy was created, and the deposit should have been protected, prescribed information issued, etc.
As I said, the landlord lives in a house in the same town, together with his family.
As a matter of fact, the landlord even used this other address on the lodgers agreement as his address - would that change anything?
Possibly, its certainly not usual practice. Depending on the wording of the agreement the landlord may have issued a tenancy, not a licence to occupy, its the detail that's important, not the title. Unfortunately, its beyond my knowledge to say for certain and expert advice should be taken.
There are loads of No-win, no-fee solicitors out there, advertising for work in the Housing sector, seeing Landlords as Cash-cows. Just Google search Conditional fee Arrangement solicitors or No-win, no-fee
( although this is a Landlord support blog, not a Tenant support. As has been pointed out, CAB or Shelter will more than adequately advise without seeking any 'help' from Landlords. )
Thanks - she just contacted some of them.
I myself am a landlord and didn't know where else to ask hence posting the question on here .
The lodger agreement will not automatically convert to a tenancy. It depends on whether the landlord intended to return among other things. In principle he or she can at any time.Generally the nature of an occupancy agreement becomes fixed based on events at its outset and doesn’t change because the circumstances alter.
Thanks guys - so the landlord has let out all the rooms in the house and lives with his family in a house in the same town.
So if the occupancy agreement becomes fixed at the outset, are there not going to be any consequences for the landlord if they break this agreement?