Am I being unreasonable?

Am I being unreasonable?

11:50 AM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago 47

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As readers of Property 118 are professionals, what opinions and advice can you offer on whether I’m being unreasonable in holding a widow to the terms of the tenancy agreement.

I own a modern retirement (over 55s) flat and for the last 5 years it has been rented to a lovely couple – model tenants in fact. They pay the rent largely from housing benefit with the shortfall made up by their daughter. I also have a guarantor for the AST. The tenancy was renewed on 6/9/2020 for a further 12 months.

The husband died from Covid last week and the daughter has written to me giving 2 months’ notice after which she expects her mother will have moved out due to ill health (can’t carry on living in the flat on her own) and has assumed the tenancy will then be ended.

I have said I am not prepared to do this as legally; I am entitled to receive the rent (£1100 per month) up to September 2021; if I agree to cancel the tenancy at the end of March, I will lose out on £5500 in rent unless I can re-let the flat quickly. Because over 55s is a very restricted market and most people who would be interested would be downsizing buyers rather than renters, it is quite possible that it could take me until September or even longer to find new tenants.

Am I being unreasonable by insisting that the rent is paid each month until September even though after March 31st, the widow won’t be living there? I’ve discussed this situation with a number of people and opinion is divided but while I feel sorry that a tenant has died and his widow needs to move out for health reasons, I don’t see why I should have to just accept a loss of up to £5500.

As readers of Property 118 are professionals, what opinions and advice can you offer?

Jonathan



Comments

by Neil P

14:50 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

If they’d have asked for the previous tenancy to become a periodic one, then I suspect you may well have agreed? Especially as they looked like they were there for the long term. In which case they’d only have to give you one month’s notice. You don’t reveal your financial circumstances, but if you can afford to take a POSSIBLE hit, then I’d recommend you do the right thing with your long term decent tenant and let her move on.

by Marlena Topple

14:56 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

These are clearly decent people. Do the decent thing yourself and accept the 2 month's notice. In my view you should count yourself lucky to have had paying tenants for 5 years with no voids avoiding all of the costs associated with tenant turnover. I would use my time and energies in securing future tenants.

by Mick Roberts

15:34 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

I'd be grateful I'm getting the notice. And for the last 5 years commitment.
I had family clear their Dad's possessions from my Bungalow who'd been with me 12 years.
I gave deposit back, job done.
I opened garage up few days later, the family had emptied everything into the garage floor to ceiling, as they knew I never went up to check & trusted their Dad.
Some people are awful, even at times like that.

by LordOf TheManor

16:09 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Well said, Marlena!
As we're living in strange times, and with housing benefit increased, you might just find yourself another couple to rent to easier than you think. So change your focus and get pro-active in finding new tenants while time is on your side. You don't know who's out there and - chances are - this flat could be manna in the desert for another family whose circumstances have unexpectedly changed. Please post again with the outcome - thank you.

Lord

by J CHAPMAN

16:43 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Yes, you are being unreasonable.
They have been model tenants for 5 years, show some compassion.
Forever Tenant has summed it up as far as I am concerned.

by Alan Griffin

16:48 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

You know the answer, however, suggest you will accept the two months notice, explain the legal side and suggest they pay you £1000 compensation, and be happy with that.

by Freda Blogs

16:48 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Technical point - daughter has given notice but tenant is widow, from what you say daughter tops up Housing Benefit. I am assuming daughter is not guarantor. You may wish to confirm that widow is on board with the Notice before agreeing anything.

by Beaver

16:59 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Alan Griffin at 25/01/2021 - 16:48
I think my answer would depend upon how well they'd looked after the property. If it was immaculate and they were up to date with payments to date I think I would accept the 2 months notice provided they let you show prospective tenants around the property during that 2 month period. If they won't let you show tenants around when mum is in the property I think I would ask for a further month to cover part of the void period. That should take you into the spring when things should get easier.

That is provided you've taken account of Freda Blogs' post about the widow being on board with what's going on; you don't know for sure that it's been discussed with her.

by Boble

17:23 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

A court would find that you should not profit from this position. In effect, this means that you have a duty to mitigate your losses. A court would expect you to commence trying to relet the premises immediately and charge rent only for any period in which you don't receive rent. Under normal circumstances, two months should be more than sufficient in which to find a new suitable tenant.

Is there/who is holding the rent deposit. If it is with an authorised tenant deposit scheme, they would similarly adjudicate.

by Dylan Morris

17:44 PM, 25th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Have a read of another topic on the Property 118 email today the “Debt Respite Scheme”. I’d look at your situation as a bit of very good fortune and I’d put the flat on the market immediately and sell it.


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