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 Trapped Landlord

16:41 PM, 28th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 28/01/2021 - 08:51
Cant say I'm surprised at all by this I'm afraid.

by Trapped Landlord

16:45 PM, 28th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Roberts at 28/01/2021 - 12:46
Yes they probably do, but do us as landlords not have a responsibility to our family and dependants to maximise our earnings ?, after all, it is anybodies guess what is lurking around the corner next for us landlords. Seems to me wether your a great landlord or bad landlord , your going to be tarred with the same brush.

by psquared

18:16 PM, 28th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Trapped Landlord at 28/01/2021 - 16:45
I understand and I’m not suggesting you give the house away! I just think its not the tenants fault and if they have been a good tenant and you can afford it then for me its the decent thing to do.

I agree that The way this sector is going you need to be very cautious but i think a tenant dying is really exceptional circumstances..... but I guess we will all do what we feel is right to

by Beaver

18:27 PM, 28th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by psquared at 28/01/2021 - 18:16
A tenant dying isn't "exceptional circumstances": It happens all the time.

Chasing someone for payment when they are distressed, trying to register ther death or organise the funeral etc. isn't a good idea. But the truth is it's easy to make the assumption that they can't pay because Mrs. Tenant gets part of her rent from UC and part of her rent from her daughter. Mr. Tenant might have been sitting on £15K worth of premium bonds; or maybe a savings account that he kept to give some money to his grandchildren. Of course, as the landlord you've no way of knowing but there's no reason you should forego your rent so somebody else can inherit, especially if it's a big chunk of your income. As the landlord you don't have any right to enquire what the size of the estate is and there may be one.

So sympathy is good....saying "...sorry for your loss is good"...contacting the daughter *after* you believe they've had a chance to register the death, sort out their funeral arrangements is good provided you do it politely and in a way that is empathetic. But as the landlord you've every right to know what their intentions are...whether they intend to still live in your property...how they intend to pay you.

It seems they've been able to come to an agreement in this situation.

by Trapped Landlord

19:58 PM, 28th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Also, I think with the way demand is right now though, you'd find a new tenant in a heartbeat.

by Jonathan

12:05 PM, 29th January 2021, About 6 months ago

Not sure I agree that I will get replacement tenants "in a heartbeat"

Before I got the current tenants (now just one tenant unfortunately) , I found it quite difficult to find someone because of the management company's rigid adherence to the over 55 requirement.

For example, I found a 76 year old women who had osteoporosis which affected her mobility and she wanted to move in with her daughter who acted as her carer. Problem was the daughter was 44 and the management company refused to let me grant a tenancy unless the daughter was formally registered as a carer. Their argument was that the daughter could live a hedonistic lifestyle and get home at 2 a.m. in the morning blind drunk!!

I'm now seriously thinking of selling and re-investing in another property (or properties) that don't have the same narrow market restrictions

by Vistaro

7:54 AM, 30th January 2021, About 6 months ago

For me, I’m a softie when it comes to the crunch and I’d let them go BUT it could also depend somewhat on how they approached it, taking into account their awful situation I’d still hope they didn’t just assume they could ignore their commitments by walking away and instead were asking for help in this very sad situation, the latter would make me much more keen to help than the former. For me it’s nearly always about “how” someone does something rather than “what” they do.

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