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  • FIRST POST
    • CVP
    • By CVP 16th Mar 17, 8:57 AM
    • 4Posts
    • 1Thanks
    CVP
    Getting Rid of Difficult Lodgers - Please Help!
    • #1
    • 16th Mar 17, 8:57 AM
    Getting Rid of Difficult Lodgers - Please Help! 16th Mar 17 at 8:57 AM
    Hi all

    I have just had some difficult lodgers move out and would really appreciate some advice on how to handle the final stages of their departure as I think they're aiming to make it as stressful as possible!

    I rented a single room to the first lodger 2 years ago; after about a year she asked if her girlfriend could move in and they would take the double room that was available at that time. I said that was fine, but unfortunately it was many months later that her girlfriend finally moved in, by which time the double room was occupied. They've subsequently been sharing the single room for the last 5 months. Neither of them had a written lodger agreement.

    I didn't mention the girlfriend paying any rent or bills at the time (which I really regret now obviously) as it was a pretty casual conversation and I figured we would sort it out once the girlfriend got a job (which she still hasn't) or I would add on additional cost to their rent for the double room to cover it (which then didn't go through). It didn't occur to me that she would begrudge paying her way as I knew them both fairly well - or so I thought - and didn't think they would be !!!!!!!!!!s.

    When I gave them notice via email and text I asked that we discuss the financial contribution the girlfriend would make for having stayed in the flat rent-free for 5 months. They ignored both messages completely, and ignored me in person for most of their notice period. Needless to say it made for a really stressful living situation for me.

    Now they've left but not returned either set of keys, and demanded the deposit back in full stating that the girlfriend paying bills is a "separate conversation". As the deposit is only £375 I don't feel that I owe them much/any of it given the circumstances.

    I guess my questions are -
    1. Am I being unreasonable asking for contribution to bills, irrespective of that not being in writing at the outset?
    2. At what point can I change the locks and charge them for that? I can't seem to find any clear answers on this one.

    I would really appreciate any help, as I'm currently driving myself mad worrying about it. They've literally only moved around the corner too, which doesn't help!
Page 1
    • Lokolo
    • By Lokolo 16th Mar 17, 9:04 AM
    • 19,632 Posts
    • 14,636 Thanks
    Lokolo
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:04 AM
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:04 AM
    1. Yes you should have made it clear upfront, not said many months later and expecting £ retrospectively.

    2. Not sure about this. Personally I would charge them for a locksmith to change the locks unless they return the keys, and that's it.
    • leespot
    • By leespot 16th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    • 484 Posts
    • 379 Thanks
    leespot
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    • #3
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:12 AM
    You don't need help getting rid of them - they were already gone. For the deposit, you sound like you want to keep it as a form of payment for her girlfriends share of the rent agreement you never got them to sign....not sure that's possible. On the bright side at least you've got them out
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 16th Mar 17, 9:20 AM
    • 2,202 Posts
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    gettingtheresometime
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:20 AM
    • #4
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:20 AM
    1. Yes you should have made it clear upfront, not said many months later and expecting £ retrospectively.

    2. Not sure about this. Personally I would charge them for a locksmith to change the locks unless they return the keys, and that's it.
    Originally posted by Lokolo


    Personally I would change the locks in any event.


    OP is this something you could do yourself or someone do it for you as a favour?
    Lloyds OD / Natwest OD / PO CC cleared thanks to the 1 debt v 100 day challenge
    • DoaM
    • By DoaM 16th Mar 17, 9:21 AM
    • 2,220 Posts
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    DoaM
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:21 AM
    • #5
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:21 AM
    Lodgers ... does that mean the deposit wasn't registered with a deposit scheme? If yes, does that mean they'd need to sue the OP to force OP to return the deposit?

    OP - I'd suggest changing the locks anyway, even if they return the keys. You've no way of knowing if they had duplicates made up.
    Diary of a madman
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    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 16th Mar 17, 9:29 AM
    • 10,060 Posts
    • 13,823 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:29 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:29 AM
    Lodgers ... does that mean the deposit wasn't registered with a deposit scheme? If yes, does that mean they'd need to sue the OP to force OP to return the deposit?
    Originally posted by DoaM
    Live-in landlords do not have to protect deposits with a scheme. If the former lodgers want their money back and the OP won't return it then the lodgers would send a letter-before-action and then take the OP to small claims court.

    OP - I'd suggest changing the locks anyway, even if they return the keys. You've no way of knowing if they had duplicates made up.
    Originally posted by DoaM
    Yes I agree that the OP should change the locks asap. It's one of the easiest DIY jobs and there are lots of videos on YouTube demonstrating how you do it.

    I think the OP could legitimately deduct money for replacing the lock (you can get a BSI kitemarked 5-lever mortice lock for £25) but as for the rest of it I'm not sure how it would hold up in court.

    If the OP wasn't happy with the situation the OP should have moved the lodger and girlfriend out within a week not let them stay there for 5 months.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • CVP
    • By CVP 16th Mar 17, 9:31 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    CVP
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:31 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:31 AM
    Thanks so much for your replies

    I could potentially change the locks myself, I've never tried but I was watching some tutorials last night. Failing that there is a really good locksmith that I used before.

    The deposit wasn't registered with a deposit scheme, I did wonder what the legal stance is there with returning it. The only record of my even having it is the bank transfer her parents made.

    Leespot - Yes I'm definitely much happier now that they're out, now I just need them out of my hair haha.
    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 16th Mar 17, 9:32 AM
    • 911 Posts
    • 2,458 Thanks
    Penitent
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:32 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:32 AM
    1. Am I being unreasonable asking for contribution to bills, irrespective of that not being in writing at the outset?
    Originally posted by CVP
    Yes, very unreasonable. If there was no agreement, you can't suddenly decide to charge them for it now. (Imagine this: you go to Tesco and buy a TV. Some lovely person helps you get it to your car. The next day you get a call from Tesco saying you need to pay an additional fee for being helped to your car. Would you consider that fair?)

    2. At what point can I change the locks and charge them for that? I can't seem to find any clear answers on this one.
    They've already moved out, so give them a deadline. e.g. "If you do not return the keys by 23 March 2017, I will deduct the cost of changing the locks from your deposit."

    (I agree with the others, though. If they were that awful, I'd be changing the locks anyway, but you can only charge them for it if they don't return the keys.)
    Last edited by Penitent; 16-03-2017 at 9:37 AM.
    • jonmoneybags
    • By jonmoneybags 16th Mar 17, 9:36 AM
    • 235 Posts
    • 163 Thanks
    jonmoneybags
    • #9
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:36 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Mar 17, 9:36 AM
    Do you not have any friends who can help out. I usually get my friend 'big dave' to help me sort out these types of disputes. He is very persuasive.
    • CVP
    • By CVP 16th Mar 17, 9:49 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    CVP
    Hahaha I did think about that, but sadly I don't know any 'big Dave' types. Luckily it didn't come to that.

    Re the bills: I guess this is my own fault because my original lodger was always on about how we were "friends" and that she didn't see me as a landlord anymore. I don't so much as sleep on a friend's sofa for a weekend without repaying the kindness, so I would never dream of living somewhere for months without paying anything. Lesson learned. I guess I'm aggrieved because this is her first place away from home and she has been stroppy and entitled the entire time she's been here, so I feel I've been pretty accommodating with no thanks in return. Hopefully the next landlord will have a different relationship with her.
    • martinsurrey
    • By martinsurrey 16th Mar 17, 10:21 AM
    • 2,823 Posts
    • 3,403 Thanks
    martinsurrey
    Yes, very unreasonable. If there was no agreement, you can't suddenly decide to charge them for it now. (Imagine this: you go to Tesco and buy a TV. Some lovely person helps you get it to your car. The next day you get a call from Tesco saying you need to pay an additional fee for being helped to your car. Would you consider that fair?)
    Originally posted by Penitent
    Think about it another way.

    You phone a plumber to come out your house to look at a leak, without discussing prices, he comes, does it, and then invoices you

    Do you have to pay?

    Of course you do, the expectation that you would pay for goods and services you use is customary, so doesn't always need to be explicit.

    Does the man in the street expect to pay something if they move into a house to live long term? Yes.

    Now agreeing the amount is the tricky part.

    OP if I was you, I would give them their deposit in full, and tell them to never darken your door, life's too short sometimes, even if you ARE morally/legally right.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 16th Mar 17, 10:52 AM
    • 5,451 Posts
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    TBagpuss
    I think it depends a little whether bills were everr mentioned. If you riased the issue then I don't think itwould be unreasonable to expect them to pay spm,ething, even if you had never discussed the spoecifcs. If is was never mentioned at all then I on't think you can legitimately charge. (It's also worth bearing in mind that a second person sharing won't add much to the bills - ou weren't heting or lighting an extra room. Did you actual bills go up at all after she moved in?

    Regading the locks, I think it is fair to say that you will charge them for changing the locks if the keys are not returned and also that they haven't technically moved out as longas they are holding on to the keys, so you will also deduct rent for the period until the keys are returned.

    in future, even with friends, have somthing in writing.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 16th Mar 17, 11:26 AM
    • 377 Posts
    • 236 Thanks
    saajan_12
    I think it depends a little whether bills were everr mentioned. If you riased the issue then I don't think itwould be unreasonable to expect them to pay spm,ething, even if you had never discussed the spoecifcs. If is was never mentioned at all then I on't think you can legitimately charge. (It's also worth bearing in mind that a second person sharing won't add much to the bills - ou weren't heting or lighting an extra room. Did you actual bills go up at all after she moved in?

    Regading the locks, I think it is fair to say that you will charge them for changing the locks if the keys are not returned and also that they haven't technically moved out as longas they are holding on to the keys, so you will also deduct rent for the period until the keys are returned. - This is overreaching- its one or the other

    in future, even with friends, have somthing in writing.
    Originally posted by TBagpuss

    If you’re arguing the lodging continues, then you can continue to charge rent (deducting from deposit if unpaid) but must then allow access to the room etc. The lodger has every right to keep the keys and you cannot claim for the new locks. This may not be prudent as OP wants to end the relationship and move on, plus the deposit will run out soon!

    If you’re agreeing the lodging has ended but the lodger has breached an agreement to return the keys, your loss is the cost of changing the locks. You have a duty to mitigate your losses by doing this proactively, and cannot linger while charging the lodger rent!

    You can charge for one or the other, not both. In fact I suspect you'd have a hard time arguing the the rent is reasonable given as your communication will likely suggest the lodging has ended.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 16th Mar 17, 11:47 AM
    • 3,438 Posts
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    paddy's mum
    What's that saying about if you lend a friend £20 and never see it or them again, you got a bargain!
    • csgohan4
    • By csgohan4 16th Mar 17, 11:58 AM
    • 3,363 Posts
    • 2,066 Thanks
    csgohan4
    this is why money and friends don't mix, you got taken for a ride I'm afraid.

    Nothing personal but it's business
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    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 16th Mar 17, 11:59 AM
    • 4,349 Posts
    • 8,561 Thanks
    marliepanda
    You don't need help. It's fairly simple.

    You say 'return the keys and you will get your deposit. If you don't do this by say, next Friday, you'll get your deposit back minus £x to change the locks'

    Even easier, return the deposit in full and spend a couple quid changing the locks regardless.

    This is not a difficult situation. You're making it difficult by trying to keep money you never made an agreement over and are therefore not entitled to.
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    • Penitent
    • By Penitent 16th Mar 17, 12:47 PM
    • 911 Posts
    • 2,458 Thanks
    Penitent
    Think about it another way.

    You phone a plumber to come out your house to look at a leak, without discussing prices, he comes, does it, and then invoices you

    Do you have to pay?

    Of course you do, the expectation that you would pay for goods and services you use is customary, so doesn't always need to be explicit.

    Does the man in the street expect to pay something if they move into a house to live long term? Yes.

    Now agreeing the amount is the tricky part.

    OP if I was you, I would give them their deposit in full, and tell them to never darken your door, life's too short sometimes, even if you ARE morally/legally right.
    Originally posted by martinsurrey
    In this case, though, the original lodger was already paying rent and the OP gave permission for them to move their girlfriend in without telling them the rent would be need to be increased, leading to the perfectly fair conclusion that the girlfriend was covered by the rent already being paid.

    So it's more like the plumber fixing your leak, invoicing you, then after you've paid they come back and tell you that they want you to pay for their lunch, even though that wasn't part of your original agreement. Or the plumber telling you they'd do it for £500 because you're a mate, then coming back after you'd paid and asking for £1000 because that's how much the job usually costs.
    • giraffe69
    • By giraffe69 16th Mar 17, 1:07 PM
    • 2,095 Posts
    • 1,835 Thanks
    giraffe69
    Given there is no legal reason to record the deposit with a scheme but you don't really want a prolonged fight either you might deduct the cost of changing the locks and any other costs you have incurred, itemise them and return the rest. The incentive to take you to the small claims court will be quite weak.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 16th Mar 17, 1:20 PM
    • 377 Posts
    • 236 Thanks
    saajan_12
    I don't so much as sleep on a friend's sofa for a weekend without repaying the kindness, so I would never dream of living somewhere for months without paying anything. Lesson learned.
    Originally posted by CVP
    People are different.. Among my friends / colleagues, I don't so much as dream to charge nor offer to pay for the utilities usage / wear and tear / food consumed / toilteries used etc when at a friend's. However friendly you were, it is still a business relationship and you must have a clear agreement if you expect payment. In fact I'd say it is MORE important with friends as a disagreeement on what's 'fair' after the fact can ruin the relationship and there's more "how could he/she do that?!" feeling.


    Think about it another way.

    You phone a plumber to come out your house to look at a leak, without discussing prices, he comes, does it, and then invoices you

    Do you have to pay?

    Of course you do, the expectation that you would pay for goods and services you use is customary, so doesn't always need to be explicit.
    Originally posted by martinsurrey
    The lodger hasn't refused to pay entirely, just the add on. There is a degree of 'all inclusivity' with rents (we're not counting lengths of showers or numbers of flushes or number of devices that can be plugged in etc). It is therefore reasonable to assume the lodger didn't expect to pay for an extra person when its the same room (so lights, heating, tv usage is likely unchanged).

    It's like the plumber gave a firm quote which you agreed with and during the job, you requested to change the position of something which required more pipe. Can they charge more without specifying this especially if a price was already agreed?
    • cjdavies
    • By cjdavies 16th Mar 17, 1:30 PM
    • 2,193 Posts
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    cjdavies
    What's to say they return keys and not made copies, changing them for security is safer anyway.


    As for payment, this should have been at the start, not months down the line.
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