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Is this normal when renting?

(49 Posts)
Mendi Mon 15-Jul-13 16:06:41

Am renting for first time and the agent has called up insisting I have to give them a second address - the address of my parents or a close friend - for after the tenancy ends. My work address (law firm!) was not acceptable.
I kept asking why this is necessary, and all she could say was 'it's to do with the TDS' but not why. I said well presumably you return the money to my bank account, which you have details of, and you know where I work, so I'm not clear why you need a third party's address. In particular I'n uncomfortable about giving my parents' address as they hate all kinds of junk mail and calls and they're in their 70s now. Am not sure why I should give any of my friends' addresses either!

Under intense pressure in the end I did give my parents' address but now am worried about what it will be used for. Any clues?

Next, I asked if I could pay rent on 4th of the month but am moving on 14th. I assumed I would pay to end of month up front and thereafter on the 4th. Instead she says I have to pay for a month plus 10 days up front (plus the deposit). I am already struggling to get a month's rent and the deposit (a further 6 weeks' rent) together. I asked why I can't just pay pro rata and she kept repeating "it's standard we have to take a month up front". So I asked if she could ask the landlord if he would be willing to take pro rata to month end instead, but was left feeling this was a ridiculous request. Is it? I am still going to have to pay the rent on the 4th under the contract, I can't really see the problem!

I paid this agent £500 "holding deposit" 2 weeks ago to get a tenancy agreement out of them and 2 weeks later they've only just started thinking about it. Am meant to be moving in 4 weeks and it's getting to be that unless I agree with everything the agent says, that might not happen!

Please console me and tell me this is all normal, or that it isn't and IANBU.

WeleaseWodger Tue 16-Jul-13 23:18:50

But Mendi, you didn't correct me. You just stated I was wrong, which is really just an opinion. It really would be helpful if you could specify what I got wrong, so I (and others) can further google it.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 06:35:21

I am not a lawyer. But I do know that a contract doesn't over ride actual law. For example, standard contracts usually have a clause about allowing access to LL for viewings at end of tenancy. There is no actual law to enforce that contract clause and a tenant who signs that contract still isn't legally obligated to allow anyone in. In fact, in order to obtain emergency repair access, a landlord needs to first obtain a court order. He won't get one for viewings.

First, contractual right is "actual law". So, if you enter a contract agreeing to something, the starting point is that that thing is fine (subject to a few exceptions such as exclusions under the Unfair Contract Terms Act).

I think what you may have been trying to say is that even if a tenant has signed a contract with a clause allowing the landlord access for viewings, the landlord would not be able to enforce that right as it would effectively be "overruled" by the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the property.

The tenant does have a right to quiet enjoyment, but there is no common law rule or statute which says the right to quiet enjoyment absolutely overrules a contractual right to access. The tenant's right is to enjoy the property unharassed. If the landlord accesses the property on reasonable notice at reasonable times of the day for a purpose the tenant has contractually consented to, that is fine. Clauses permitting access for viewings usually say on 24 hours' notice anyway, as do clauses permitting access for repairs. Also, clauses permitting access for viewings tend to be limited to the last month or two of the tenancy, which also balances the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment.

Next the question is: so what if you do object and the landlord can't access for viewings as per his contractual right? His damages will be the measure of the loss he has sustained as a result of you not allowing the viewing as you are contractually bound to do. So if he had a potential tenant willing to say "I would definitely have rented that property for one year at £2k a month, but as I couldn't see it, i rented another", then the damages would be around £24k.

Conversely, if you refuse access but the landlord does access anyway, then you would be likely to lose any claim against the landlord because you had already consented to reasonable access for viewings in the contract. However, even if you did win, the measure of damages would be your loss as a result of the viewing, which would be... What, exactly? If you sustain no loss, then you aren't entitled to any damages. So if the property is left as it was before the viewing, you have no real claim.

In practice of course it's unlikely people will make claims over something like this. It's better to cooperate with the landlord and come to some agreement about viewings. But if you really hate your landlord and decide to dig your heels in, you could be in breach of contract (if your contract contains a clause permitting access for viewings) and that is more likely to cause the landlord a recoverable loss than his accessing the property is likely to cause you a recoverable loss.

ThemeNights Wed 17-Jul-13 07:11:21

Mendi, you stated up thread you are a litigation lawyer, now you say you are not a lawyer.

Either way you come across as rude to people just trying to help.

"Wow. Just wow." comes across as rude.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 07:53:41

The bold part of my post is me quoting WeleaseWodger before explaining why her/his comments were incorrect.

cottoncandy Wed 17-Jul-13 08:03:54

I would be surprised if a property litigator at a big City firm knew much about private residential short term leases. It's not really the sort of thing they would normally deal with.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 08:10:43

Property law is property law. And yes, property litigators at City law firms act in residential disputes. Most recently, this one has done a boundary dispute for a famous screenwriter, and a landlord tenant dispute in a multimillion pound development in Mayfair (acting for developer).

The law is the same regardless of the value of the property involved.

WeleaseWodger Wed 17-Jul-13 08:10:51

Mandi was quoting me earlier saying I am not a lawyer/solicitor.

I think perhaps I'm not using correct terminology when I write a contract doesn't over rule law. A contract isn't law in that a police officer will not enforce it - you have to go to court to try to enforce it, and only court of law can make the other party adhere to it.

So to continue the analogy, you don't have to let your LL in, and the LL cannot force entry. The LL cannot call the police to make you open the door and allow them in, but a tenant can call police if LL enters without tenants' permission. Because that's not legal.

As to your example that a tenant would be liable for 24k damages for not allowing viewings - I don't know if you were trying to oversimplify for me , but that's just plain ridiculous. At most a tenant would be liable for the period between moving out and when LL got a new tenant. Month, maybe two max and I imagine the LL would have quite a difficult time proving this in court in order to receive even that much compensation.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 08:24:29

You are correct WeleaseWodger that the LL would have to try to mitigate his losses by re-letting and I most cases this would probably mean the damages would be limited to the vacant period. However, you could have a scenario where the the tenant who was "lost" as a result of the refusal of access was willing to pay say £2k a month but the tenant the LL actually managed to let to would only pay £1.5k a month . So then the damages would be the difference over the life of the tenancy, possibly subject to some discount to reflect the possibility of the tenancy ending early. All this is at the discretion of the court, subject to evidence. The simple point is: as a tenant if you refuse access which you're under a contractual obligation to allow, you expose yourself to liability for damages which could easily run to the thousands. Plus if you lose in court you are liable to pay the LL's legal costs of suing you, as well as your legal costs. Usually costs run to several thousands and for a fully contested case going to trial, tens of thousands (each) as a low estimate,

Who wants to be exposed to that?

On the enforcement side, yes the police will not get involved in civil matters such as contract disputes. And it is correct to say that if a tenant digs their heels in, the LL would have to go to court. In light of the financial consequences of putting a LL to that course of action, unless you don't mind being made bankrupt, I wouldn't recommend it.

ThemeNights Wed 17-Jul-13 08:35:40

Apologies, bold doesn't show up on the app.

I think your search for a suitable property / contract will be a long one.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 08:40:59

Yes, that is the point of this thread: it's ridiculous that tenants are in the position in this country where LLs' terms are completely non-negotiable (and IME, largely very similar so it's not easy to find one without unreasonable terms), but for the tenant EVERYTHING has to be negotiable - price, start date, break date, etc.

WeleaseWodger Wed 17-Jul-13 08:52:40

No, it's really not that hard. Most of us don't go around trying to renegotiate standard tenancy agreements, and you will find most LLs are going to give you a pass because you're sounding like hard work before you've even moved in.

Llareggub Wed 17-Jul-13 08:57:26

Which is the point I made earlier down the thread. Renters are not regarded as the customer.

Mutley77 Wed 17-Jul-13 08:59:08

Yes you do have to pay a month in advance - always IME. At the very least you would need to pay a month in advance on 14th then possibly re jig the dates after that.

The other address (for a next of kin) I would imagine is a legal requirement as well - I think someone above mentioned they would need it if something happens to you in the property. Also, they may need to send you letters about the deposit if they are planning not to re-pay it all - or confirm that they are re-paying it all.

Chubfuddler Wed 17-Jul-13 09:04:46


Just, wow. OP you sound like a nightmare.

If this mythical rodent infestation should appear, and if your ll tries to make you pay for it, and if it actually predates the tenancy, you can challenge it. That's the point of litigation over contract disputes. Which you should know, if you are a litigation lawyer.

Everything else you have described re deposit/rent etc is completely normal.

Mutley77 Wed 17-Jul-13 09:06:45

PS - just to make you feel better we are renting in Australia and a standard clause here is that the landlord can raise the agreed rental payment at any time during the tenancy if the market value of the rent increases in that period. As tenants we are tied to the contract for the entire period of the tenancy and therefore if we could not afford the rent that they decide on we would be charged significant penalties for breaking the contract.

We did manage to get that clause removed as we have a really nice estate agent, but that is certainly unfair IMO.

We are landlords in the UK and I know our tenants weren't happy with how the agents managed the process at the start. I have some sympathy but at the end of the day demand for good rentals is high and that's the way it is. I feel justified in saying that as I am also facing that issue in reverse as a tenant !

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 09:46:05

Chubfuddler I haven't actually raised the infestation clause as an issue with the landlord or agent, nor any of the other weird clauses. I've limited myself to asking if it would be possible to re-jig the rent payment date (answer: not unless you pay 5 weeks' rent upfront) and for details of the energy suppliers (as the contract says I have to notify them of my tenancy "immediately on executing his tenancy agreement"), which the agent seems to think it is not possible to provide.

The general consensus on here seems to be that you should just sin whatever tenancy agreement you're offered and not ask any questions about it. Seeing the problems I deal with every day in my work, it's very hard to do that in my personal life.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 09:46:26

sign not sin

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 09:49:21

And Chubfuddler, being a litigator I want to avoid even having to deal with any disputes through litigation. So while yes, if the LL decided to claim against me under, for example, the infestation clause, I could defend the claim, I really would rather not have to incur those costs. Bottom line should be: if the tenant causes a problem, tenant pays; anything else, LL pays. Not some shitty clause worded to make ANY infestation the tenant's responsibility.

WeleaseWodger Wed 17-Jul-13 09:53:10

You've been posting about negotiations in the contract. That's not the same as asking questions.

Mendi Wed 17-Jul-13 10:17:37

I'm not sure I follow you there, WeleaseWodger. Before signing a contract, if there are any points you're not clear about or need more information on, you ask the appropriate questions. Whether or not you then try to change the relevant clause, it's all general pre-contract stuff which can generally be termed "negotiation".

PerilsAsinger Wed 17-Jul-13 10:40:18

Mendi - you need to know how to play the game.
When asked for an address all you do is say 101 Kensington Palace (or such like). This is just a box tick.

I never give true addresses. 1) It's such an idiotic thing to ask for. Addresses cannot be checked and if I were a criminal, of course I would give a false address.

PerilsAsinger Wed 17-Jul-13 10:42:20

Mendi - I've just read about your request to pay rent on the 4th. Perfectly reasonable and that is actually what we do (pay in advance on a day that suits us and is actually to the benefit of the landlord).

WeleaseWodger Wed 17-Jul-13 10:50:43

Perils, the address is requested by the deposit protection scheme, not the LL or agents so if there is a dispute, that is where the deposit scheme company will send you the relevant correspondence once you've moved out.

PerilsAsinger Wed 17-Jul-13 10:56:55

Welease - yes, but of course addresses can be changed. People are mobile and it's not against the law to change addresses regularly.

This is one of these nonsensical issues that raises it's head every now and again.

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