What compensation should I offer when tenant 3 months in arrears?

by Readers Question

16:38 PM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

What compensation should I offer when tenant 3 months in arrears?

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What compensation should I offer when tenant 3 months in arrears?

I was looking for some guidelines with regards to compensation of tenants whilst a property had issues.compensation

So for 3 months while we were sorting out leaks and electrical issues how should I compensate a tenant.

Would it for instance be a case of taking a percentage of the property which was not usable and using this to calculate any compensation sum.

The issues were Leaking Conservatory roof – now fixed Electric lighting switch failure – now fixed Dishwasher and toilet flush plumbing issue – now fixed

The only room unavailable was the conservatory for 3 months.

However the tenants are keen not to pay any rent whilst these issues were ongoing and are now 3 months in arrears!

As a compensation sum for the period I wanted to offer a kickback as a gesture of goodwill but am unsure if there are any guidelines on calculating this sum.

They have also requested a reduction in the monthly rent going forward to reflect the inconvenience.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Paul



Comments

Neil Patterson

16:40 PM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Some thoughts and guidance from readers on this would be greatly appreciated.
However don't act rashly without speaking to the professionals. Please also see >> http://evicting-tenants.net/

Gary Nock

17:17 PM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I personally think these tenants are taking advantage of your good nature. You have been fixing the problems. Tell them that they are 3 months in arrears and as such liable for eviction. Issue a Section 8 Notice for possession. Dont mess around.

Gary Dully

22:50 PM, 16th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Paul, you must be a nervous wreck.

For heavens sake, do not offer anything for the loss of a conservatory usage. They are either freezing in the winter or will kill a pet with heat exhaustion in the summer.

Your tenants think you are a soft touch and are taking advantage of your sweetie pie nature.
The repairs are completed and they have lawfully due rent to pay.

If they have a complaint fair enough, but it doesn't give them the right to withhold rent.

There are a set of rules called Civil Procedure Rules For Disrepair that the tenants should have followed and are designed to get repairs done without court action.

In addition your tenancy agreement should have terms within it that discuss how repairs are to be reported and carried out. If you can find any term in that agreement that allows a rent strike, fair enough, but I have never seen one.

You have done your bit, they should have been doing theirs.

They are now in 3 months arrears, I would issue a section 8 notice on grounds 8, 10 and 11.
Get the notice certified as being served upon them as it will give them 2 weeks to get the rent paid.
After which you can issue court proceedings for eviction.
Also issue a section 21 notice, if the tenants qualify for it

As for going forward and to help your confidence, even the landlords arch nemesis called Shelter warn tenants not to withhold rent.

They are in breach of contract not you!

Property Solutions UK

8:41 AM, 17th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks for the comments to date.

Agreed they are in breach of their contract but in some way feel they are not. Yes I have the option to serve a Section 8 on the grounds identified and that may well be the course of action taken.

However as a reasonable Landlord I wanted to reach an amicable win win solution, reach a financial commitment from the tenants, keep them for the duration of the AST and not be exposed to Legal costs and subsequent voids.

It would be good if there was an arbitrary body that could step in and achieve a solution rather than going through the courts.

Any advice in this space would be appreciated.

Gary Nock

10:20 AM, 17th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Paul I get the impression you are fairly new at the landlord game. Trust me unless you deal with this firmly you will be thousands out of pocket. Nobody will come along and wave a magic wand and solve this. It's down to you.

Kelly Joanna

13:33 PM, 17th March 2016
About 3 years ago

I agree with all of the above. Unfortunately, unexpected maintenance does arise. A broken dishwasher, albeit part of your fixtures and fittings, is not an inconvenience (unless you didn't have a kitchen sink fitted, also refer to what the deal is on repairs to white goods in your tenancy agreement). A non flushing toilet is inconvenient if it is the only such appliance in the house. If it is indeed the only toilet facilities, and it took more than a day to rectify, I would offer a token amount as a good will gesture.
With regards to the conservatory, this is not a principal room and although the leak is regrettable, you are not liable to compensate them for this as long as you have acted on their reporting. Scheduling skilled work men to attend, assess and quote takes reasonable time (especially in winter months when roofers are very busy with emergencies), and as long as you can prove this, then the tenants are being unreasonable. Three months arrears is unacceptable. No judge/local authority would ever advise to withhold rent unless the property was rendered uninhabitable by the local authority. You stand to lose thousands unless you act now i'm afraid. Ask them to clear the arrears, minus a token amount of say £100 as a good will gesture. Put it in writing and give them 7 days. If no payment, serve the section 8.

Gary Dully

8:52 AM, 18th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Property Solutions UK" at "17/03/2016 - 08:41":

You are their landlord, not their friend!

Would your tenants be amicable about your situation, i.e.: suffering bouncing direct debits, mortgage not being paid?

No they are using your good nature and abusing your contract.

Will this be your decision for every tenant?

Even the Courts don't allow 3 months arrears!

Issue that section 8 on grounds 8,10 and 11 and get a reasonable tenant instead.

Mandy Thomson

4:22 AM, 19th March 2016
About 3 years ago

This is not about the maintenance - this about the tenants not being or willing to pay the rent... And they think the maintenance issues give them the right / excuse to do this.

Using maitenance issues as an excuse to not pay rent is the MO of professional rogue tenants. Moreover, such tenants will often either exagerate or even deliberately or negligently CAUSE the maintenance issue in the first place....

Ensure all your paperwork, especially deposit protection, is in order so you can serve Section 21, as well as Section 8, as suggested by everyone else on here.

Property Solutions UK

7:23 AM, 19th March 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks for the comments

Should I serve Section 8 and pursue rent arrears through Small claims or ask a player like NLA to manage the process does anyone have experience of using them.

Gary Nock

7:38 AM, 19th March 2016
About 3 years ago

You may find that service of a Section 8 is sufficient to elicit payment of rent. But in this case I doubt it. The actions of your tenants are cynical and exploitative. You need to get it right with these as they will be running off to Shelter or the LA who will tell them to stay put until the bailiffs arrive. Get in touch with Paul Shampalina at Landlord Action.

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