The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

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The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

Postby Don » Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:52 pm

A friend wants to know where he stands in the current situation.
He is renting a room in a house (England) he signed a 6 month contract for the room but he has been laid off work after 3 months and wants to leave, there is nothing in the contract that says what to do, but the landlord is demanding the rent for the remaining 3 months to be paid in advance so he can quit the contract.
As it's just a room, is the law the same as a normal short hold assured tenancy?

If he moves out but continues to pay the rent, will the room remain empty, as it is still being rented by him?

Any advice much appreciated, thanks.
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Re: The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

Postby Nick » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:23 pm

Yes it's an AST even if there is nothing in writing (unless the LL lives in the house).

The LL has no right to demand the rent in advance in order to cancel the contract, and he can give notice to quit at the end of the 6 months, and pay rent as and when it is due. The LL has no right to charge rent on the room if he has let it to someone else, and your friend's best legal option is to find a replacement tenant and get the LL to accept the new tenant. The LL should go along with this as it removes the risk of your friend defaulting on the tenancy.

As an aside, one of the big problems for Landlords in a situation like this, if they want to follow the law, is that if your friend disappeared without returning the keys, or indicating in some other way that they wish to terminate the tenancy (and not paying the rent isn't taken as indicating that the tenant wants to terminate the tenancy) - the Landlord doesn't have a right to let the room out to someone else, even though they aren't getting rent. In theory your friend could return at any time, and repossess their room (even though they haven't been paying rent).

Consequently I think your friend's LL would be stupid and greedy to demand payment for the full term of the tenancy.
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Re: The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

Postby Don » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:47 am

Brilliant thanks Nick, I will let him know :)
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Re: The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

Postby Don » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:40 am

What would be different if the landlord also lived in the house?
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Re: The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

Postby Nick » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:44 am

If the Landlord lives in the house then unless there is an actual tenancy agreement to say otherwise, the LL can give the "tenant" a license to occupy, which makes a "tenant" a lodger with far fewer rights.

Is there a written tenancy agreement?

If there isn't a written tenancy agreement, all bets are off in that, although a LL can't end a tenancy within 6 months, it doesn't HAVE to be for 6 months or longer (although the LL would be nuts to do otherwise). If it's a verbal agreement nobody can prove what the agreement is, and maybe the tenant has the right to give 1 month (or 1 week) notice and leave. Anything is possible for the tenant.
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Re: The Law when renting a room, advice needed please :)

Postby Don » Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:17 pm

Thanks Nick, I'm not sure if it was verbal or written, I will find out :)
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