Back rent - Unusual situation

Hi, probably not your usual scenario on this forum but perhaps someone might be able to help ?
With the owners consent we have moved into a house that we were going to buy and now we have decided not to buy it. We have been here for six months without paying any rent because the owner didn’t give us a tenancy agreement and has not asked for any rent.

We haven’t had any direct contact with the owner, only the selling agent to say we could move in . No rental amount was ever mentioned and no tenancy agreement was ever created or given to us.

My question is, can the owner ask for back rent ?


I find it hard to believe that any agent or owner could be so irresponsible as to let people just stay in their property on this basis! How did this come about?

If you have no contract of any kind and you have never been asked for or paid rent then you cant be forced to pay it now. As you say, it doesnt sound like you have any kind of tenancy unless you have been paying for repairs or minor maintenence, in which case it might be argued as a tenancy, but still not one with a specific rent.

However, this does mean that your status is likely only that of a guest and you can be removed without notice or a court order at any time. In your shoes I would find somewhere else to live asap and before telling them youre not buying.

Thanks for the reply. We have told the agent two weeks ago that we no longer want to buy the house that we are living in and have not heard anything back from the owner or agent.

We moved in when the conveyancing was in its last stages and was due to exchange contracts but that didn’t happen as there was a problem and six months later were still here.

Also, we were asked about 5 months ago by the agent if we would forgo our interest in buying the property as someone else was interested in buying it and renting it back to us, but we said no. However, now we have changed our minds and that same interested party has said he’s going to buy it instead of us.

So that’s how we are in a property that we don’t own with no tenancy agreement and have not been asked to leave as the new prospective owner said he will rent it to us.

That’s why I was asking is there any way the owner could legally demand 6 months back rent for living in his house whilst waiting to buy it ? There’s been no tenancy agreement , no rent demands, no conversations, no maintenance, nothing.

I don’t believe there is?

Very strange situation. This is why people shouldn’t let people in their properties.

Forget about the fact you’ve decided not to purchase.

You say it as if you should have a right to live rent free. You’ve basically scammed these people out of free rent and have the audacity to ask if you can be made to pay “back rent”. You should pay!

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Nobody has been scammed , we haven’t been asked for any rent. We were given the keys at the owners consent to move into his house. He hasn’t asked for any rent, how can that be a scam.
I will end this thread if there’s any more idiotic comments like the last one.

The agent should be struck off and the solicitor too if they didnt advise the owner against this in the strongest terms. I hope this works out for you and that you are not asked to leave at short notice.

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