Social Question

poisonedantidote's avatar

What would be the most civilized solution to my housing dilema?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21539 points ) November 17th, 2011

On the 13th of this month I moved to the UK so I could be with the girl who is now my SO.

Rather than rent a house right out, I reserved a room in a shared house for 2 months while I set my life up in the UK. I reserved the room on a website called spareroom.co.uk

The advertisement on the site stated that there was a nice cosy room to rent for a clean and friendly person. The advertisement stated that smokers, pet owners, and couples are welcome.

I paid the deposit and 2 months rent, and moved in. After I moved in my girlfriend came round to see me. This is when I discovered that couples are actually not ok. Smokers are welcome, but pet owners and couples are not welcome.

Now, it is important to note, that I have not done anything wrong, I reserved the room on the basis that I could bring my girlfriend round. However, it is also important to note that the land lord has also not done anything wrong. The party at fault is spareroom.co.uk for advertising the wrong information.

The land lord posted an advertisement stating no couples, no pets, and smokers welcome, and spareroom.co.uk mixed this information up, with the land lord information, namely, that they own pets (2 cats) and that they are a couple.

The situation now, is that I am not happy with not being able to bring my girlfriend back, and they are not happy that I want to.

There is no hard feelings on any side here, we both recognize that the other party is not to blame, none the less, the problem persists for both of us.

Legally, I have a right to ask for my money back, and if I wanted it back I would get it, but it’s a tough year, and the land lord needs the revenue from the spare room to keep their heads above water.

I don’t want to be the bad guy by putting them in a tough financial position, but I also want what I thought I had paid for.

How does the collective advise that we both proceed?

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16 Answers

cazzie's avatar

I would think that the landlords might have recourse against the website? Surely, they wouldn’t have approved the ad in the form it was put out. Had they noticed the error? Did they try to fix it before money changed hands?

I’d simply look for a new place asap and be civil and understanding with the current landlords.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@cazzie The land lord had no idea of the error made by the site until money had changed hands. They have now seen that the site is in error, as have I seen a copy of their original advertisement, showing that they are not to blame.

Maybe they do have recourse against the website, but it would no doubt mean a legal battle for them of some kind.

bkcunningham's avatar

What is their objection, @poisonedantidote, her sleeping over or visiting or both?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@bkcunningham Both, I would be ok with no overnights allowed, but it seems they do not want her here at all.

They work very hard hours, needing to wake up at 4am and 5am, and my girlfriend leaving at 11pm via the loud slamming door is a problem to them. As is her presence a disruption during the day.

bkcunningham's avatar

Can you stay with her at her place and just forget about the money you’ve spent?

bkcunningham's avatar

Or find someone to take over your time? Sort of sublet. Would they go for that? I have no idea how difficult that would be for you to do.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@bkcunningham Negative, she is a volunteer who works helping people with mental problems. Her housing is provided by an organization that does not allow guests of any kind at any time.

Thanks for the info all the same though.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Neither of you are at fault and both are in an untenable situation.
Print out copies of the ad you answered now so you have proof. You may need it later.
See if you can find another place. BEFORE you give the deposit on the new place, go back to the existing landlord and tell him that you really want to work this out but your SO is very important to you and that is why you moved to their place. You would be willing to pay for the time you were there and will leave ASAP but they should return the unused rent..
You would gladly work with them to see if they can collect from the agency who made the mistake and mislead both of you.

If they won’t do it then just be polite and try not to slam the door.

CWOTUS's avatar

There doesn’t have to be any legal fight. Surely they can point out the error that the broker / website made and see what their compensation offer is. Obviously, a broker who is in business for the long term doesn’t want dissatisfied customers (either renters or landlords) who will give them bad reviews, so it’s in their interest to help you all find a workable accommodation (compensation) for their mistake.

marinelife's avatar

Try to get spareroom.com to pay for your tenure there, and then move out.

harple's avatar

I think @worriedguy gives you the best answer.

Where I live now is a somewhere I found through the same website. I’ve just been chatting to my housemate – the owner of the house – about placing the ad. The website is mainly free, and they only had to pay any subsidy to make sure their ad was more prominent than the others. It is unlikely that there is going to be any recompense available from the website at all, so I wouldn’t waste time and energy worrying and trying to go down that route.

The people you are staying with sound reasonable, and you sound like you are being reasonable with them too, so try @worriedguy‘s idea, but maybe run the idea past the owners first – it’s a courtesy to give notice if you’re leaving sooner than expected.

My housemate also told me that a similar thing happened to her the first time she placed an ad with that site, but that they ironed it out.

bkcunningham's avatar

I love your attitude about the entire situation. Enjoy yourselves. Time goes by fast, @poisonedantidote. Too fast. Hold on for the ride and have fun.

flutherother's avatar

I think it was the landlord’s responsibility to make sure the advertisement was correct. If you haven’t signed a contract then the terms on the website are those you agreed to and the landlord should either abide by them or give you your money back.

GladysMensch's avatar

I’m not looking to disturb the harmony here, but you have a right to have guests unless your lease (sublet) contract specifies otherwise. You are breaking no laws by having her over, and as long as you are courteous (not playing loud music, not stinking the place up with patchouli, not having loud sex on the couch at all hours… etc), then they should have no gripes with you or your guest.

Have a conversation with your landlords to make up some ground rules. If they are still unwilling to allow her over, then inform them that you’re immediately seeking other living arrangements, and that she will be coming over in the meantime.

anartist's avatar

Does your ladyfriend have digs of her own? if so, spend more time there.

anartist's avatar

Sorry, didn’t read all of above. Lot of good advice up there. Can’t understand the problem with non-overnight guests. Agree w/ @GladysMensch @worriedguy and @CWOTUS———

good luck in England with your lady.

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