Yes buddy, I was there. All new. Work is still going on… Available from the 1st
Even If you’re happy with things I’d still refuse to hand any money over until you are handed a signed tenancy agreement. Let them sign it first, infront of a witness, then you sign it. Without legal documentation you’ll have no chance getting Universal Credit to help you out. This transaction needs to be fully above board or else you’ll end up seriously regretting it and also potential out of pocket too.
So it sounds like you’ll be a Lodger on a License Agreement, rather than Tenant / Tenancy Agreement?
I would only suggest making sure you have a contract in place, that you’re comfortable with, before you hand over any cash.
Generally a lodger has fewer rights, so it’s worth having whatever agreement you come to with the landlord written down.
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