Resident Landlord Forced Out by Violent Lodger
I’m assisting a landlord who had been letting the spare room in the flat she owns and lives with a lodger. Recently, as in the past 2 – 3 months, the lodger became violent by pushing and kicking the landlord (unfortunately, there were no witnesses, but hospital staff and the police agreed her injuries were consistent with assault).
Around this time, the landlord stopped spending the night at the flat and fled to a relative’s home, where she sleeps on the sofa. However, she feels safe enough to return to the flat during the day as she can alert her neighbour and a concierge if the lodger threatens to attack her.
She has phoned the police on at least two occasions; on one such occasion, they asked the lodger to leave as the landlord had already given her reasonable notice (as required by law if the lodger is an excluded occupier), but the lodger said she would leave by the date on the landlord’s written notice and the police agreed; she did not leave.
There is no written tenancy agreement though there was a verbal agreement the lodger would pay rent. The rental payments have also stopped.
To avoid doubt, the landlord has given the lodger a second written notice, but the lodger maintains that the landlord no longer lives there, so she has a tenancy.
I have advised the landlord to get witness statements from people who know the situation to the effect that it’s still her main home and she has fled under duress, but they are afraid of the lodger. The landlord has also been advised to apply to the court for a possession order (which I believe may become necessary if she can’t prove it’s her main home).
As I understand case law, this property is still very much the landlord’s main home, so she should be able to evict the lodger without a possession order. However, the police are reluctant to assist with the eviction.
I’d appreciate any thoughts, please.
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