Landlord problems, aibu?

(79 Posts)
SlipperFrog Sun 07-Apr-13 17:21:13

I realise legally I am being UR but please bear with me!

We rent and have 3 young DC. Our previous home was sold quickly & unexpectedly by the landlord so we needed to move. Rent had skyrocketed and we found somewhere but it meant losing a bedroom and our rent went up by £150 a month.

The landlord wanted £1150 pm for a 2 bed house, we offered him 6 months rent up front if he would reduce the rent to £1050 pm which he accepted.

He has now asked for the next 6 months up front, we didn't realise we had agreed to this but on closer inspection it is in the contract... We are facing major financial problems and can't afford to pay him 6 month up front but have offered him 3 months, then another 3 months. He's said no, if we want to do that he will put our rent back up to £1150PM... We are really worried, aibu or is the landlord?

cumfy Mon 08-Apr-13 01:18:18

You can afford £3000 (3 months rent) but not £100.confused

That makes a lot of sense.hmm

Isn't what he's offering the original £1150 monthly ?

Seems more than reasonable to me.

RapunzelAteMyHamster Sun 07-Apr-13 22:59:47

Although maybe that's unfair, and its just the attitude she's presented here, and she's been lovely to the landlord in person. But my alarm bells would been set off by her saying she hadn't read the contract. OP obviously knows that is the case, but I would be thinking pull the other one mate, its got bells on it.

So she's already on the back foot and as lots of other people have said, she needs to sit down and sort it out, rather than deciding she's not in the wrong and thinking she'll just pay the three months anyway and hope for the best.

RapunzelAteMyHamster Sun 07-Apr-13 22:52:52

To be fair, it's not the landlord's fault that she didn't read the contract.

Also, it's totally dependent on the attitude. I have had tenants occasionally say to me, I'm so sorry, I'm short because of xyz, can I pay you the remainder in two weeks (or whatever). Its a pain in the neck, but we always work it out. OP doesn't seem remotely sorry, or think it's her fault she didn't understand what she was signing, or that she's unreasonable changing terms unilaterally and that the landlord should suck it up. A tenant with that attitude has trouble written all over them, and I'd want to get them out sooner rather than later.

I agree there should be a compromise, but she's not going to get anywhere if she genuinely thinks she's totally in the right.

NotDavidTennant Sun 07-Apr-13 22:39:29

RapunzelAteMyHamster: 'But he's entitled to rent of exactly £x, not a penny more, in one payment. It's not a monthly rent term, it's a six monthly rent term.'

But the OP didn't realise this and doesn't have the six months rent. The landlord could have legal entitlement to the moon on a stick, but if the tenant doesn't have it then they can't pay it. Some kind of compromise needs to be reached.

Or perhaps you're correct that the landlord will move straight to eviction proceedings, in which case there's nothing the OP can do about it anway. But as others point out, there may be impediments to the landlord evicting the OP before the end of the current tenancy. That's why she needs to seek professional advice on her situation.

Gomez Sun 07-Apr-13 22:36:18

Yes you are being unreasonable. The earlier negotiations are neither here or there. You signed a contract which required the rent to be paid 6 monthly in advance at x rate. You can't meet those terms.

Practically pay what you can and be as reasonable and apologetic as possible to prevent the landlord taking action. But be prepared to be served notice, you will be moving on in 6 months. Likely with no reference.

zoobaby Sun 07-Apr-13 22:31:57

Landlord can raise the rent after the initial contract period (one year) using a Section 13 notice. But raising the rent is not the question.

The question is the CONTRACTED OBLIGATION for 6 months of rent (your landlord is NBU to expect that you were putting aside 1 month of rent each month so you could make your 6 monthly installment when expected).

You've unknowingly put yourself into an unfortunate situation that needs to be negotiated.

specialsubject Sun 07-Apr-13 22:22:17

bearbehind (Love it!) - I agree entirely that the landlord doesn't have to agree to anything not in the contract. But it costs a lot more to replace a tenant, possibly with a void, then to let this one change things for the sake of £600 - two weeks with the place empty and that's gone, plus he will be paying the council tax.

the landlord is perfectly entitled to insist on the contract. but with this tenant in financial trouble, it would seem pragmatic to take the money offered for now.

what would I do? I'd take the 3 months and give the tenant 3 months notice, as it sounds like they will default sooner or later.

NotDavidTennant Sun 07-Apr-13 22:18:36

AnyoneforTurps: 'Of course he does - assuming it's a standard assured shorthold tenancy lease. The current issue is the rent for the second 6 months of the lease - the OP has already paid the 1st 6 months up front. Provided he gives due notice, the landlord is perfectly entitled to raise the rent as much as he likes for the 2nd 6 months.'

england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/386455/Factsheet_Rent_increases_ASTs.pdf

"Some tenancies are for a fixed period. If there is isn’t a provision in a fixed-term agreement for the landlord to increase the rent, the rent will remain the same unless you agree to a rent increase."

Pretty sure that the OP has said that she is on a one year lease, so the landlord cannot unilaterally change the rent during that year.

zoobaby Sun 07-Apr-13 22:16:35

I think I read upthread that you have no break clause. If landlord decides he wants you out due to breach of contract, then a Section 21 notice covers one rent period. In your case, your rent period is SIX MONTHS and he therefore can't do anything about evicting you immediately. So you have a little protection from being turfed out willy-nilly.

If you break your contract then he has legal protection. It will just take some time and money and inconvenience. So, who knows, he may be willing to compromise.

If he has to go down a legal route, then don't expect to pass any future vetting processes. How successful will future housing endeavours be with that hanging over your head?

The best solution is to have a frank talk. If he wants extra money to change to monthly payments then you really must get a brand new assured shorthold tenancy agreement. Read it carefully and make sure you understand the contents and each side's responsibilities.

FredFredGeorge Sun 07-Apr-13 21:58:53

AnyoneforTurps No the landlord would have to give 1 rental period notice in an AST for a rent increase ie he could give notice now for 6 months time - but can't before.

And yes the landlord can evict you - of course if he does that, he's faced with a tennant who's either not going to show anyone around, or happily show people around and tell them exactly what a shit the landlord is evicting good paying tennants over a misleading contract.

The landlord is likely to lose a lot more than the interest on the a few months. However not paying your 2nd rent payment is a big red flag, so it would be sensible for the landlord to maybe get rid the tennants as soon as possible. However the 1 or indeed 3 month offer to pay would be silly to reject.

Given the landlord has to take reasonable steps to find a new tennant during the 6 months the OP is liable, and the OP is offering to pay the rent throughout that period, I think it unlikely that the court would look favourably on the landlord - who's being pretty silly as described.

RapunzelAteMyHamster Sun 07-Apr-13 21:52:26

He's not reducing the rent it's the payment terms they're arguing about.

He is under no obligation to do anything other than require the 6 month lump sum. He's offered OP another option, which is to pay monthly, but at a higher rate. He doesn't have to offer that, but he is, which is some give on his part, as he will have planned his finances around one lump sum, and now that will change.

Bearbehind Sun 07-Apr-13 21:47:46

Special why does the landlord have to be in financial difficulties because he doesn't agree to reducing the rent that he is contractually entitled to???

specialsubject Sun 07-Apr-13 21:44:42

it sounds like the landlord is also in financial difficulties - the sum under discussion is £600 so if BOTH parties don't have that as 'flex' or savings it isn't good.

OP - as you know you are legally committed and the landlord is being perfectly reasonable. You are given big signals of 'tenant likely to default'

all I can suggest is to meet the landlord, have a frank discussion and see if either of you can afford to compromise. And you need to look long-term at reducing your expenses, whatever it takes, because if you are in this much trouble over £600, your situation is not sustainable.

good luck.

RapunzelAteMyHamster Sun 07-Apr-13 21:42:10

But he's entitled to rent of exactly £x, not a penny more, in one payment. It's not a monthly rent term, it's a six monthly rent term.

If you had a weekly rent, and suddenly decided to pay it monthly instead then you'd be in the wrong and depending on how the contract was written, be in breach of it. This is no different.

OP, it's possible you can get away with underpaying. You might be "lucky" and the contract isn't watertight, he'll find out it's unenforceable legally and not be able to evict you now. He's going to do it on the dot of six months time though, unless you work with him, you'll get your notice to leave in 4 months and then you'll be looking for somewhere les, with no reference and all associated moving costs.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 07-Apr-13 21:41:37

OP is unlikely to be evicted if she pays 3 + 3 months. Landlord could take her to court for breach of contract, but a judge is unlikely to grant the eviction where there are no rent arrears. OP is making a reasonable offer.

AnyoneforTurps Sun 07-Apr-13 21:40:39

e fact that the landlord considered this to be a discounted rate is neither here nor there, he has no right to unilaterally raise the rent even if the OP is technically in breach of contract.

Of course he does - assuming it's a standard assured shorthold tenancy lease. The current issue is the rent for the second 6 months of the lease - the OP has already paid the 1st 6 months up front. Provided he gives due notice, the landlord is perfectly entitled to raise the rent as much as he likes for the 2nd 6 months. He is not retrospectively raising the rent for the 1st 6 months of the tenancy.

And how would you expect rent to be raised, other than unilaterally? Not many tenants volunteer for rent rises! Perhaps you mean retrospectively?

CloudsAndTrees Sun 07-Apr-13 21:34:29

There may be that technicality NotDavid, but it would be pretty shitty behaviour on OPs part to know that she had negotiated a discount on the basis that she was going to pay six months in advance and then expect the discount to still be honoured when she isn't honouring her side of the deal.

NotDavidTennant Sun 07-Apr-13 21:30:40

AnyoneforTurps: 'Arrgh - please read the OP. He isn't demanding extra.'

The rental agreement will say something to the effect that the montly rent is £x. Unless there's a clause that says that the rent rises to £x + 100 if the tenant doesn't pay in six month blocks (and my understanding from what the OP has written so far is that there's no such clause), then the landlord is entitled to rent of £x and not a penny more. The fact that the landlord considered this to be a discounted rate is neither here nor there, he has no right to unilaterally raise the rent even if the OP is technically in breach of contract.

RapunzelAteMyHamster Sun 07-Apr-13 21:16:27

That's exactly the attitude that will get you evicted.
He owes you no favours. How on earth is he to know you'll really give him the next block of three months, in three months time? You've hardly given him reason to trust you?

If it was my property, I'd be double checking my legal position, and as soon as your underpayment hit my bank account, I'd take whatever option got you out quickest, breach of contract, whatever, so I could get another tenant in who would pay the rent that I was expecting to get (£1150) in the first place, which would leave me least out of pocket,

Uppermid Sun 07-Apr-13 21:12:49

Sorry but I think yabu. You knew the price but managed to negotiate down for a lump sum, you can't expect him to keep it at that price on a monthly basis. Not what you want to hear I know.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 07-Apr-13 21:05:56

But you are being incredibly unreasonable. You are trying to change the terms contract you signed just six months ago.

I can completely see where enough are coming from and I can see why it would seem harsh of the LL to not allow you to pay in two blocks. But you have to see that you have been given a significant discount based on you paying six months up front. If you aren't able to do that, you have to accept that you are no longer entitled to the discount.

Astley Sun 07-Apr-13 21:01:40

How is he getting what he wants?! He's giving you a £100 a month discount for specific terms you're already trying to break!

Bearbehind Sun 07-Apr-13 20:58:30

^slipper* why did you bother posting, you think you are right, legally you are not if you have signed a contract agreeing to these terms. You have no choice, if he evicted you, you are still liable for the rent until the end of the tenancy.

If you can negotiate a better deal then great but if not, it's tough shit really, lesson learnt, read all contracts in future. You got a discount for paying six months in advance, you can't move the goalposts.

In your position I'd offer £3,300 now then the same in 3 months- it's half the discount for half the payment terms. The landlord has no obligation to accept but he might.

AnyoneforTurps Sun 07-Apr-13 20:48:41

It doesn't sound like he actually has any legal basis to demand you pay extra

Arrgh - please read the OP. He isn't demanding extra. The OP asked for - and got - a £600 discount in return for paying the 1st 6 months up front. The landlord - quite understandably - doesn't want to continuing offering a discount if he is not going to continue to get the upfront payment.

I feel sorry for the OP but I also think the landlord is not BU. He may depend on rental income to cover his own mortgage and other expenses. He has already been pretty accommodating by giving the original discount.

SlipperFrog Sun 07-Apr-13 20:48:20

I don't know, the more I think about it the more I think we aren't being incredibly UR, we have given him 6 months up front, and are offering him 2 lots of £3150 rather than one lot of £6300. We are still paying him what he asked, just in two lots rather than one.

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