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Hi there.

I've run into a spot of bother. I'm running late on my rent and as a result my landlord - and his wife, I might add - have gotten quite threatening and abusive.

 

After threats to throw all my stuff out onto the streets and general unreasonable comments, he has changed the lock to the front door (which then leads to my flat door and another flat).

As such, I'm locked into my house.

 

Is there anything I can do about this? I'm unwilling to stay here in the long term, or indeed any longer than I have to, as I find this kind of behaviour completely unacceptable, but it also means I can't really leave the house without taking the lock off until I have a means and place to move my belongings.

 

Even if there is nothing to be done immediately, is there anything I can do regarding the uneccessary stress this has put on me? I've recently come off medication for depression and this is not exactly helping.

 

Thanks,

 

~DP

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Hi there.

I've run into a spot of bother. I'm running late on my rent and as a result my landlord - and his wife, I might add - have gotten quite threatening and abusive.

Threatening and abusive behaviour on the part of the landlord is something that would be frowned upon by a judge if anything ever went to court. But a lot of LL's still do it in the hope that you will just move out. Don't. It would help us o know how behind you are. ie: 1 month? 2?3?

After threats to throw all my stuff out onto the streets and general unreasonable comments, he has changed the lock to the front door (which then leads to my flat door and another flat).

As such, I'm locked into my house.

Be assured that, if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, he cannot just throw you out onto the street. He has to use legal recourse to have you evicted and, if he uses the non-payment of rent then there has to be arrears of at least 2 months both at the time of serving a section 8 notice to you and at the time of the court hearing.

He also cannot change the lock that way without giving you a key, as that would deny you the right of access to the property and your right of enjoyment. If you are on good terms with the other tenant I would ask them if you could get a key cut from theirs for now.

Is there anything I can do about this? I'm unwilling to stay here in the long term, or indeed any longer than I have to, as I find this kind of behaviour completely unacceptable, but it also means I can't really leave the house without taking the lock off until I have a means and place to move my belongings.

 

Even if there is nothing to be done immediately, is there anything I can do regarding the uneccessary stress this has put on me? I've recently come off medication for depression and this is not exactly helping.

 

Thanks,

 

~DP

 

This is a totally unacceptable way for any LL to behave. You do have some rights regarding what they are allowed to get away with. The Landlord, though some think otherwise, is not God where his property is concerned.

 

A little more info here may be helpful.

What tenancy do you have? Is it an assured shorthold or has it rolled onto a periodic?

How behind are you in rent?

When and for what reason did the LL change the lock on the outer door?

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Actually he can change the locks, it IS his property after all, however he would have to gill all tenants a key... a useful caveat as he can say the tenant never collect it from him. Do also remember it is NOT the lock to the flat that has changed, only to access the 'common' areas.

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I believe it is an assured shorthold tenancy. I have paid him money but not yet signed the contract as he has not given it to me to sign.

 

I moved in february, paid £500 cash upfront which I have a written reciept for, and owe a further £500 deposit + £250 rent for march.

 

All of this is able to be paid today, I have a cheque waiting, but in light of his behaviour I'm unwilling to give it to him just yet.

 

The lock was changed last night because of the rent arrears. The landlord was here and did not even attempt to talk to me about the situation, I only knew as his wife was yelling at me about it a few minutes earlier and I took the liberty of checking my key before leaving.

I do have a witness to the whole situation, if not a few.

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In light of the fact that it was changed when the LL knew the tenant was in the property I don't think they could use the excuse that the tenant did not collect the new key.

 

If you have paid rent and been given a key to your flat, then you now have an agreement, irrelevant of whether you have signed anything. Though I would have thought he would have given you the agreement to sign by now.

 

From what you have said I would guess that your rent is £500pcm? If this is so, then you owe him less than one month's rent. Totally unacceptable behaviour for that amount of arrears.

But, as said before, by accepting money and giving a key you already have an agreement. He cannot get you out now for the next 6 months.

 

I would recommend that you offer him the deposit and make up the rent and try to talk to him to calm him down. He has acted very unreasonably in regards your arrears, but this may calm things down. If you have any mitigating circumstances for the late payment it might help to tell him.

 

If this doesn't work then I would suggest going to seek advice from CAB or Shelter regarding the matter. Either way, you may want to prepare to move out after the 6 months are up.

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Thankyou for the response. I have informed the landlord both of my rights and that his money is waiting, but I now have work tonight and will not be home till 4am.

 

No one is home to get a key cut. Am I within my rights to remove the lock or get it replaced? If I get it replaced, can I bill the landlord for it?

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To be honest, I don't know. This all depends on whether it states anythig in your agreement about keeping the outer door locked at all times. Personally, I'd be inclined to remove the lock and take it with me, but I can't recommend that you do it. ;)

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