This is a question to the blog clinic from Keri who is probably a lodger.
Since moving into an unregistered MHO that doesn’t have fire extinguishers, co2 monitors, locks on doors, services gas fire, transparency with utilities (all uncovered after the tenancy started)…
The live in landlady has now refused to let us have any post delivered to the house and leaves/sends passive aggressive notes and emails on a daily basis for us to adhere to her unrealistic cleaning terms (even for the rooms that we do not use).
It has become almost unbearable to live here and what we were leading to believe is no longer comfortable of livable in terms of unattainable expectations and being her in house cleaners amongst other things. Are any of these things sufficient enough for us to end the tenancy early enough? I also know that she doesn’t submit her rent as extra earnings to the government so is also Avoiding tax ….
This is the sort of person who should not rent property. You should be allowed to have your post delivered to your home and she certainly should not expect you to clean parts of the property you do not live in!
Note that if your landlady lives on the premises then you may not have a tenancy but a lodger agreement. If you do have tenancies then they will be common law ‘unregulated’ tenancies. (You can find out more about lodgers and the law here).
The HMO regulations will still apply though – lodger landlords can normally have up to two lodgers after which they will be deemed to have an HMO.
So far as registration is concerned, not all HMOs need to be registered. All HMOs which consist of three or more storeys and which are occupied by five or more tenants in two or more households must be licensed. In some Local Authorities other HMOs may need to be licensed also, so you will need to speak to your Local Authority here.
From what you say it sounds as if your landlady could be guilty of harassment under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 – which applies to licenses as well as tenancies. So you may well have a claim for compensation for this – which you could mention to her.
For example see this post about a landlord who was guilty of harassment by sending too many texts.
So far as ending your agreement early is concerned, take a look at your agreement and see what it says about early termination. However I think you should be all right as you can threaten to defend and counterclaim for harassment if she brings any claim against you for unpaid rent if you move out early. Plus you could threaten to report her for running an unlicensed HMO (if she is) if she does not let you go.
Note that if she is prosecuted for running an unlicensed HMO you can apply for a Rent Repayment Order – you could also mention this to her.
Finally, if you want to report her for not paying tax, there is a government ‘tax evasion hotline’ you can use here. However she is entitled to earn £7,500 pa rent free under the rent a room scheme.