Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
I’d appreciate any thoughts and experiences on this matter, but I think it might take a binding court case to settle the question, and then some! I’m hearing of landlords who gave their tenants rent discounts during the first lockdown, without specifying whether the difference was to be paid back and in one or two cases not even stating how long the arrangement would last.
When the landlords tried to recover the rent now the tenants’ circumstances have improved, they are finding the tenants won’t pay saying they were not told the discount was only a loan, not a grant! One landlord tried to get around it by using Section 13 to increase the rent only for the tenants to serve notice and move out.
It boils down to this, and opinion seems to be divided between:
1) The rent specified in the tenancy agreement still stands and is payable in full unless the landlord categorically agrees otherwise (so if the landlord reduces the rent from £1000 to £500, but the terms are vague once the condition that gave rise to the discount is resolved, the full rent plus the discount is payable).
2) The terms of a rent discount will override the tenancy agreement, so if the landlord doesn’t state whether the discount is repayable, the landlord is not entitled to recover the discount.
While I agree a tenancy agreement could set the terms for a rent concession, most agreements were not drafted with COVID in mind so don’t include this.
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