The title question no doubt has an obvious answer (you could be evicted) but please keep reading, it's a complex situation and I have a few questions that I couldn't sum up easily into one title.
I'm trying to move my partner into my flat in London. The situation is as follows:
I have lived in the flat I rent for a bit over 2 years. This started as a 1 year Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and became periodic after.
At the two year mark (August), the landlord asked me to renew as a fixed-term again with a rent increase of about 9%. I agreed. I had moved in during covid when rents were very low and the new rate was reasonable.
My partner is a joint tenant in a rented flat. Her tenancy ends at the start of December.
When my landlord reached out to me about resigning with the rent increase in August, I mentioned that we would like to move in together. I made it clear that this would not happen until Nov/Dec when her tenancy ended. They agreed and asked for a £30 referencing fee, which I paid.
They immediately attempted referencing via their estate agents. This failed as what they tried to do was sign her as a co-tenant, which would have meant she was a tenant on 2 AST rentals at the same time. Apparently that's an issue (though I couldn't get a straight answer on this).
Her landlords also refused to give a reference because she hadn't given notice, and refused to accept notice as she had more than two months left on her tenancy.
I suggested they instead just make an amendment to give me permission to sub-let to her, as the intention was always that I would continue to pay the rent and be responsible for the flat. I was just told that the referencing had failed and we could try again once my partner was in the final two months of her tenancy and had given notice. I didn't receive a refund for the referencing fee, and didn't chase for one as I thought it would just cover the costs when we resumed the process.
We're now in the final months of my partners tenancy and she's put her notice in. A new tenant has been found to replace her, so it's too late to back out.
I reached out to the landlord to let them know this and that we could therefore pick up the referencing again and amend the contract. Their response summarised is as follows:
The referencing is now "£50 plus VAT" i.e. £60. I've pointed out the original £30 and received no acknowledgement. I've confirmed they do indeed mean "plus VAT".
Due to an unexpected increase in the fee for the building shared boiler, they want to increase the rent by up to an additional 6% a month. I stress, they have not said this is because of an additional tenant and that I had already flagged a second tenant well in advance of agreeing the first rent increase. I've seen no proof of this increased cost to them.
Needless to say I'm unhappy as I would not have resigned knowing all this.
We're intending to move out next August anyway and at this point I'm past caring about maintaining a good relationship with the landlord. Looking for advice on the following:
What could happen if we simply moved in together? I'm aware the landlord could pursue eviction, but how long would this take. If we're intending to move out anyway, I wouldn't be bothered if it meant leaving earlier. Could it affect our deposit? Could they sue? Would it have longer term implications to referencing for us when say, buying a home?
Am I right to contest the referencing cost? My understanding is that they aren't allowed to charge for referencing, only a tenancy amendment which should not be withheld unreasonably. My contract does not state an amendment cost.
Is there a means to complain about a landlord's behaviour to a third party? If so, what should the focus of my complaint be? Are there any grounds here?
Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any help!