What are my rights if I live with my landlord?

I recently moved into a flat where I'm renting a room from the owner who lives there too. The thing is, it was advertised as fully furnished but it isn't. There's no proper flooring throughout the house and there isn't a sofa in the living room, initially there wasn't a fridge and there still isn't a washing machine either. Is this right? Or can I do something about it? On top of all of this, the landlord insists on me telling her when I want to have guests over. Do I have to do this? Do I have any rights at all?

It’s very important to know what type of tenancy you have because it can have a big impact on your rights. If you share your home with the landlord then it’s likely you’re an excluded occupier and the following information is based on this.

There is no legal definition of what furniture must be provided or its condition if a property is let as furnished. Normally you should be able to expect a level of furnishing that would be reasonable to enable you to live in the accommodation, this includes:

  • table and chairs in the kitchen/living room;
  • sofa and/or armchairs in the living room;
  • a bed and storage for clothes in each bedroom;
  • heating appliances;
  • curtains and floor coverings;
  • a cooker, fridge, kitchen utensils and crockery.

But as an excluded occupier you, unfortunately, have very few tenancy rights. It is relatively easy for a landlord to evict an excluded occupier. Your only right to stay in the flat is until the landlord asks you to leave or for as long as your written agreement says.

Your landlord can evict you by giving reasonable notice but this notice does not have to be in writing and could be for as little as one week. After this notice has expired you could be evicted. Your landlord wouldn’t need a court order for the eviction.

Because of these circumstances it might be difficult to get repairs done or to get the level of furnishings bought up to a reasonable standard. Your landlord may simply prefer to evict you. You could try to negotiate with your landlord about the condition of the flat or you might want to provide your own furniture.

Whether you need to ask for permission to have guests will depend on what was agreed with your landlord, either verbally or in a written agreement. But it is important to remember that if you try to force these issues you landlord may again decide to evict you.

You could decide that you want to leave and end the tenancy yourself. Whether you can do this depends on your contract, so check what it says about what notice you can give and whether you can leave before your contract is up.

Finally, you can get further help and information about your situation from a local advice service.

Answered by Shelter on 06-Mar-2014

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