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Lodger rent during COVID

(44 Posts)
CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 14:58:42

Hi all,

I have had a Monday- Friday lodger since June 2019. He was sent to WFH from mid March. My lodger went back to his home several hours away where he stays on normal weekends and therefore wasn’t staying with me. He wanted to stop paying rent as a result but come back once we returned to the office. It didn’t seem fair to me that he should get 100% of the benefit of this situation so I said he could pay April rent as usual, and then a 50% retainer for those months he wasn’t here after that. Or he could give his 30 days notice and I would find someone else. He chose the former and to me that meant we both gained/lost equally from the situation. I thought that was fair. He paid the reduced rent in May as planned. On Sunday he text me to say he was coming back on Monday and he would be working in the office one week on and one week off. I said great- checked my banking (it was 1st June Monday and rent was due) and he had paid me the 50% rent. I sent a text saying that I expected full rent if he was returning. He said “we could discuss it when he got home”. When we did so he said he didn’t think it was fair he had to pay full rent when he’s only using it 8 or 9 nights a month. I said that if he wanted to go elsewhere he was welcome to and he said something along the lines of “well you know it would be hard for me to find something else in these times...and it would be just as hard for you to find someone”. It felt he was insinuating I had him over a barrel. Which maybe I do- but surely it’s not my fault that if you want to have exclusive, reliable use of a room you have to pay for it? It’s a really good price for the area so even if he managed to save something now by paying nightly somewhere, he would lose out when he had to find weekly accommodation again (when presumably he goes back to full time at the office). He said he would think about what he wanted to do (pay full or give notice I guess?).

The money is helpful but I don’t need it and I don’t think it would be worth the hassle for 50% rent so I guess I decided to stick to my guns as I’d be happy either way but I feel irked he is insinuating I’ve acted unfairly and I don’t know if that’s unreasonable! I thought I was being fairly generous to reduce the rent while he wasn’t staying here. He has yet to tell me his decision.

YABU - he is right, it’s unfair he has to pay full rent for 50% use.
YANBU- he is being unreasonable to want to pay half rent for half use.

OP’s posts: |
Tianalia Wed 03-Jun-20 15:03:16

If that's the way he's planning to work then I would let him pay that and stay for the reduced days, but also give him notice, maybe a month or two and get someone full time.

areyoubeingserviced Wed 03-Jun-20 15:04:03

He cannot pick and choose when he uses the room.
I think that you have been completely fair.
If he gets difficult, just give him notice

Cabinfever10 Wed 03-Jun-20 15:05:19

He is a massive cf and should of paid full rent the whole time

Betty98 Wed 03-Jun-20 15:07:00

I think you’re both showing your colours a little. He could have easily* said “I won’t be staying there but am happy to keep paying as normal” and you could have easily** said “you won’t be here so don’t worry about paying.

*easily in that he sounds like he had no drop in wage
**easily in that you said you don’t need the money

Doesn’t sound like either of you have much regard or compassion for each other and that this is purely transactional. So why keep him living there?

DPotter Wed 03-Jun-20 15:07:22

If he is expecting exclusive use of the room from now on - he pays 100%. Or he pays for the nights he is there and clears the room each time.

It's the exclusive use that the key here. That's what you're asking him to pay for.

CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 15:10:29

@Betty98 that’s an interesting perspective. Do people generally rent out rooms out of compassion? I have to be honest and say it definitely is purely transactional for me. In fact I’d find a situation where I cared about the person harder- like mixing friends and business! That said I’d argue it was a nice thing to do to reduce the reduce the rent at all during the time he was away.

OP’s posts: |
NoobTree Wed 03-Jun-20 15:11:01

Continue charging full rent. It's him that deciding to change the days he wants to use the room - you're keeping the room available to him.

You wouldn't walk into a shop, pick up a bottle of coke and insist on a discount because you're only planning on drinking half of it!

CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 15:11:31

That makes me sound extremely harsh. I don’t “not care” about him, but he’s a lodger not a friend if that makes sense?

OP’s posts: |
BumpBundle Wed 03-Jun-20 15:15:05

I would hazard that you can't claim any rent. The contract is frustrated. Legally he couldn't flit between the two properties so, seeing as your agreement only allowed him to be there Monday-Friday, he had no legal alternative. By having a lodger rather than a tenant, you get a fair few benefits but unfortunately I would think this is one of the negatives.
I would argue that if he's there 50% of the time and paying 50% of the rent then that's not too unreasonable really. I do understand why you're irked but, legally, you I don't think you'd have a leg to stand on (especially in the current climate) and it's unlikely you could replace him or evict him if he refused to leave. This situation is neither your fault nor his fault so you both need to compromise here as your contract is probably not enforceable.

AntiHop Wed 03-Jun-20 15:21:25

I think you're right to stick to your guns. Either he pays the rent he always had, or he pays per night and clears the room in between.

monkeymonkey2010 Wed 03-Jun-20 15:23:11

Who's the landlord - you or him?
You could be getting full rent for that room - even if it takes a short while to find a new lodger.

You need to stand your ground and not allow him to treat you like a 'little woman'.......either he pays for having the room reserved for his exclusive use 'whenever he feels like it' or he finds someplace else.

Jaxhog Wed 03-Jun-20 15:25:55

I would have thought it was simple:

Either he has exclusive use and pays the full rent - regardless of how often he uses the room. You can't rent out the room while his stuff is there.

Or he vacates the room, taking ALL his stuff with him.

Whether you 'need' the money or not isn't the point. He isn't a relative down on their luck that you want to help. He's a stranger and this is a business transaction.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 03-Jun-20 15:26:50

I'd get another lodger unless I was happy with reduced rent but the opportunity to sit around in my pants more

ChateauMargaux Wed 03-Jun-20 15:27:11

YANBU. He is.

His income has not been affected.. the room is still available for his sole use as and when he chooses to use it. Nothing has changed from your perspective.

Sparklfairy Wed 03-Jun-20 15:27:35

I was a lodger paying weekly. Sometimes I would stay at my boyfriend's for a week or two at a time and not come back to my room at all. My rent was paying for the storage of my stuff, the ability to come back if and when I chose and of course the fact that even if I wasn't there the room couldn't be rented to someone else.

He's a CF. Full rent or he's out.

CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 15:29:54

All those who are saying he can pay per night- that’s not the situation I wanted so it’s not the situation I set up. If I didn’t mind doing more then 2 sheet changes a month and having variable income from it, being available to meet and greet people and having a parade of strangers in my house- I’d do Airbnb- and probably earn a bit more money. As it is I decided I wanted one person. Monday to Friday. For less money but also less hassle. So I think I will stick to my guns. He can give notice and go elsewhere paying nightly if he wants but this is the situation on offer at my house. Thank you for your help.

OP’s posts: |
Snagscardies Wed 03-Jun-20 15:32:16

BumpBundle wtf? Of course legally she can charge him the full amount. If she said he could only be in the room half the time then yes she could only charge half the rent but he has full use of the room for the full month.
I continued to pay rent for a room that I didn't live in for two years whilst I went traveling because at all times I could use that room. He's a cf.

Khione Wed 03-Jun-20 15:32:44

How about 75%. Full for the time he is there and half for the time he isn't. Or even 80% as a goodwill gesture as he isn't there all the time.

That way you are both still winning.

CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 15:40:33

@kione I like the 75% in theory as it’s no reel change from what I’ve done, but what happens if he goes back to full time half way through the month? I fear if I did nightly at slightly below Airbnb rates for example - and he went back to full time part way through the month he would assume there was a cap of the original rent? Which funnily enough I’d probably offer but I feel irked again that he expects it haha. Maybe it’s got too emotional and it’s time for a new lodger anyway. As you say @LaurieFairyCake more time in my pants is no bad thing.

OP’s posts: |
CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 15:41:53

I shouldn’t be letting myself get frustrated and definitely shouldn’t be letting those emotions affect my decisions with regards to this. It’s meant to be business. Tells me a lot really.

OP’s posts: |
DontTouchTheMoustache Wed 03-Jun-20 15:45:09

He is a CF. Stick to.your guns as he is.taking the piss. The 50% reduction was a nice gesture because you could have said 100% or nothing and not been out of pocket.

MyOwnSummer Wed 03-Jun-20 15:46:26

I feel your pain OP. It is really hard to get the balance right as a LL. I had great tenants prior to COVID and I won't bore you with the shenanigans they've put me through since then, but does seem to be a case of "no good deed goes unpunished" sometimes - you do the right/nice thing and then its like they see a big ceramic handle sticking out of your head.

If he wants exclusive use of the room, he can bloody well pay the price! He is still getting a full time wage FFS, not that that is even a concern of yours.

CRbear Wed 03-Jun-20 15:49:47

@myownsummer I think he would like to pay nightly and would happily take his stuff away. He barely has anything and I’ve always used the room at weekends. It’s just not the situation I wanted for the reasons above when I set this up. So i think I’d prefer no lodger to nightly situation.

OP’s posts: |
Starbuggy Wed 03-Jun-20 15:52:10


You’ve been more than reasonable. It’s his choice not to use the room all the time he normally would.

50% when he wasn’t there at all was reasonable, but if he’s going to be spending time there again then he needs to pay in full for the use of the room.

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