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To think our landlord should have mentioned ...

(37 Posts)
ChunkyMonkeyMother Thu 21-Jul-11 11:00:32

...The rent increase when they agreed to let us pay half for the laminate flooring and garden?

Bit of back story;

We've been here for just over 2 years and planned to stay here for the forseeable future (Even with a chance to buy when the time is right)

We have turned down other houses that are nicer but not in the area - we also turned down the neighbouring house about 6 months ago as the rent was £30 more than ours, although they did have a grassed garden, laminate throughout, a new kitchen and bathroom and a conservatory -which our house lacks - But we couldn't afford the extra £30 a month

In the 2 years we have decorated every room except the bathroom and carpeted 2 of the upstairs rooms (With a massive hmm decorating allowance of £200) - We estimate that we have put about £500 of our own money into the property.

So this week we have just come to an agreement with our Landlord to go halves each for new laminate flooring throughout the living room and hall way (About £150 each) and to pay half to have the garden levelled and turfed (Its paved and very steep at present - about £275 each) So all together making a commitment to the property of about £425 - This has all been agreed over the phone via our estate agents, all very pleasant - all very nice.

This morning I have just got a letter that states our rent will be increasing to £600 from £575 come September - This means that our rent will now only be £5 less than the house we turned down next door (which has all of the new stuff in it and is generally a nicer house).

I'm angry because we have agreed to pay half of all the work that needs doing to the property and they are basically using it against us saying that "Due to house improvements the home now meets a higher standard of rent" - YES bloody improvements we are paying for!!!

AIBU to up sticks and move to a different house that already has these things done to it? Or should we suck it up and pay? This is a beautiful house, perfect area - pick of schools for our nearly 2yo DS and generally very safe

Sorry this is so long - I really don't know what to do, my DH is saying we have to move because we can barely afford the current rent never mind this increase and I just feel very hurt by our estate agents and landlord who clearly knew about this when they agreed to let us pay!

LRDTheFeministNutcase Thu 21-Jul-11 11:05:23

Can you not just move?

I think it is a bit rude but not surprising, really - some people are just on the make. Bit late now, but you probably should have asked if the improvements would lead to a rent increase - after all he's paid half and presumably would have preferred to pay none.

I know that sounds harsh, I'm just aware that landlords/agents don't always care very much about keeping the same tenants if they can get a bit more money otherwise.

Peachy Thu 21-Jul-11 11:05:30

Have you spoken to them yet?

Sadly rents are rising; not looking forwards to our reneewal this year, not s if there's anywhere else in our village either.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Thu 21-Jul-11 11:09:28

Is it too late to withdraw your offer of paying half?

"Thank you for your letter informing us that due to the improvements being made, you will be increasing the rent. As we had initially agreed to pay half, we feel that this increase is unfair and we are being asked to pay twice. We therefore withdraw our offer to pay for half of these improvements, as this is not a condition of our tenancy and was a goodwill gesture on our part, which we now feel is being abused."

Probably word it better, it's just off the top of my head.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 21-Jul-11 11:15:00

I've never known LLs to do that. I've lived in a few private rented houses and any money I have put into them has come off my rent. My Dad is a builder and a general handy man, LLs were always happy for him to fix things for me instead of bothering their own tradesmen, as it meant they save on labour costs. The price of any parts or flooring etc was always taken off that months rent.

Personally I would remove my offer to pay half, although I wouldn't have offered to pay half in the first place.

mrsscoob Thu 21-Jul-11 11:16:16

Call their bluff? I would write them a letter basically mentioning the other house and what you have said to us and say that you think the increase is unfair and if they go ahead with it you maybe forced to move elsewhere?

Might be worth a shot, you sound like good tenants and it would be a lot of hassle for landlord to find new ones.

AlpinePony Thu 21-Jul-11 11:16:35

I would call their bluff quite frankly.

It'll only take one void month (i.e., the house empty) at 600 mythical quid for it to equate to 24 months (i.e., TWO years!) worth of happy, reliable, clean, honest tenants.

Muppet landlords eh?

Tigerstripes Thu 21-Jul-11 11:17:21

They are basically taking advantage of the fact this work is being done and you didn't make them agree to freeze the rent when agreeing to improve the house. I would withdraw the offer to pay for work if possible? Also, just because I'm nosy, how can you afford to pay for all this work when you couldn't afford £30 extra for the next door house?

squeakytoy Thu 21-Jul-11 11:18:08

I would say an increase of £25 is reasonable. It is the landlords business and his overheads will have gone up too.

LemonDifficult Thu 21-Jul-11 11:24:30

YABU - £25 pcm increase a year is pretty standard. Inflation is at 4.2% and this is a 4.3% increase. Not really ripping you off.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Thu 21-Jul-11 11:32:11

Sorry, I'm a bit confused. The OP starts by saying 'they agreed to let us pay half for the laminate flooring and garden' - did you ask for this work to be done? And for the decorating?

My experience has been that unless work being done is routine maintenance, landlords tend not to want to improve a property on the tenant's request, unless the tenant pays for it. If you got them to pay half that's pretty good going, no?

I'm just wondering if I'm getting the wrong end of the stick here, reading all the other replies!

JanMorrow Thu 21-Jul-11 11:33:31

That's not a huge rent increase, ours has gone up £80pcm, just due to the market, the place itself hasn't been touched.

I'm a big baffled as to why you would pay half for improvements in a place you could technically be asked to leave at any time (if landlord wants to sell etc).

ChunkyMonkeyMother Thu 21-Jul-11 11:35:02

Crikey that was a lot of responses! Thanks!

Firstly, we are talking about withdrawing the offer and looking at moving, the only problem is because this house wasn't up to a great standard when we moved in the rent was low for this area - since we have done a lot to improvement work on it it is now up to a much better and therefor more expensive standard!

I think I will be calling their bluff but also getting a good backup house, perhaps we will just have to move to a different area :-(

Doo- When we moved in, the place was a state! They very generously give us £200 to decorate 3 bedrooms, a living room and the hall stairs and landing which we had to add to so that the house was up to our standards (Not exactly high - just more liveable) They have not once since given us a penny towards anything else, we have forwarded the invoices for any work we have had to have done to the property and they haven't even acknowledged them - I now see we have been a bit dumb!

Tiger - We got a loan to pay my student fees and had a little bit left over, I have since added about £200 over the last 6 months, we were going to go on holiday with it but then decided that putting it into the house would be of more benefit, thankfully now we can use it as a deposit if we have to - but generally month to month we can barely afford this rent, the increase would tip us over the edge. Call me naive but I honestly did not think of asking for a freeze :-( [could kick herself emoticon]

What winds me up is that the house would be snapped up at that price here now - Previous to us moving in it had been empty for about 7 months because it just looked so bad!

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Thu 21-Jul-11 11:36:43

Presumably the rent for the house next door has also increased?

LemonDifficult Thu 21-Jul-11 11:38:04

Chunky - your next landlord will do the same, it's inflation not bastardness. Stay put, fgs, you've just had the floors done!

Yes very strange I have to agree...how come this arrangement was made. I am a LL and my tenants have just renewed for another year and I have put the rent up £20.

TBH, if my tenants want to decorate they have to get my permission first and whist I wouldnt object (colour dependent though) I wouldnt be paying them half the money. But then, I only refurbed the property a couple of years ago so its lovely anyway.

My tenants are welcome to make any improvements they wish to but I wouldnt offer to contribute. I think they are wanting to put a summer house in the garden but thats up to them, I certainly wouldnt pay half towards it.

I am not on the make, my bungalow is an investment for my future, effectively my pension. I am not a charity.

Maybe though, as you have gone halves on the improvements and that is the reason for the increase, just go half on the increase too so offer an additional £12.50 per month. I cant see the LL evicting you for the sake of £12.50/month as it can be a hassle getting new tenants, and expensive too.

£25/month increase isnt too bad though anyway - certainly not worth moving over.

ChunkyMonkeyMother Thu 21-Jul-11 11:40:48

LRD we did indeed ask for the improvements when we had our last inspection on the advice of the estate agent, we mentioned that we were going to do it and he suggested we ask our LLs to pay half - But what I'm wound up about is that nobody from their side mentioned it when we went in to say we would be happy to be this money towards it! They clearly knew as the letter is dated from Monday and they spoke to me Tuesday! They should have put all of our options on the table and said "Ok we'll pay half but the rent goes up" which they didnt!

I know that £25 doesn't sound like a lot but they haven't done anything themselves which warrants it - plus it just doesn't fit in with the house next to ours that is only £605 and has much better features!

Anyway - I'm off to the estate agents to find ashithole a different house in a different area [totally fucking gutted emoticon]

MackerelOfFact Thu 21-Jul-11 11:41:16

I see your point, but I don't see why if you couldn't afford an extra £30 a month in rent for the other property, why you're able to afford to pay £400-odd for improvements of the one you're in? It's your choice, obviously, and there are probably other factors, but that doesn't really add up to me.

I'm usually on the side of the tenant for things like this, but £25 a month is a very small rent increase really, especially if it's the only one you've had in 2 years. Plus, with all the improvements and investment the LL has also promised to make, he/she is going to want to recoup it somehow, and a nicer property commands a higher rent.

It's irrelevant whether the LL has done anything to warrant an increase - it doesnt work like that.

I dont understand why anyone would make an investment in a property that isnt theirs and they could be asked to leave at any time but that aside, rental increases are common and if you move you will face the same again at some stage.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Thu 21-Jul-11 11:45:24

Sorry, but that is very unfair! You say they haven't done anything that warrants a rent increase - yet they paid half the money for improvements you asked for! How is that nothing?

They were presumably not struggling to find tenants paying your previous rent amount with the house in its original state - why should they pay for you to live in a nicer place and not recoup any costs?

I had originally assumed these were repairs done on the landlord's instigation, but if you got to choose them I think you're not doing badly.

LemonDifficult Thu 21-Jul-11 11:47:13

CMM- You can't really be thinking of moving?! Moving house is expensive (always) and not worth the hassle, surely. Don't cut your nose off.

You really mustn't take this rent increase personally, and it has nothing to do with the floors. It's the economy. The rent increase is in line with inflation and utterly reasonable, even predictable, which is probably why the LL won't have mentioned it.

ChunkyMonkeyMother Thu 21-Jul-11 11:50:05

I think you're probably right ... As much as I hate to admit it, now that we have been here, it probably is worth it - I suppose I'm just upset we cant afford it ... Just need to level my head out a bit, we have looked at our money a lot recently and there just isn't £25 there.

Thanks for the thoughts guys - It has put it into perspective and although the house needs the laminate (Carpet is full of marks and coming to pieces in parts) the garden is a luxury that we don't need - Its very easy to see them as the baddys but really we're pretty lucky, still means we will have to start looking elsewhere but I suppose now I don't hate them quite as much

Thanks

sausagesandmarmelade Thu 21-Jul-11 11:51:55

I think your landlord is really cheeky, making you pay for the improvements and then upping the rent.

You shouldn't have had to pay for the improvements (as a tenant).

If you feel that you cannot afford the rise then you should move....but I'm wondering if it's worth negotiating with the landlord, reminding him of what you paid out for improvements (is that legal?) and asking him to stall the rise for the next 12 months or something...

Might be worth a shot!

Chunky - just one more thing to remember - the £25 per month it is costing to stay....well if you move out and rent somewhere else you will just incur that in fees anyway so it wont really save you anything. It'll prob cost you the first years rent increase in new fees - just bear that in mind.

LRDTheFeministNutcase Thu 21-Jul-11 11:52:23

It is horrible to get a shock like that, I know. We're tenants and I hate that sick feeling when you realize there are going to be far more costs that you though. Sadly this looks like an unavoidable one, but it's not dishonest, which would have been worse.

Hope you find somewhere else nice.

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