Shelter’s Income and expenditure figures highlighted13:57 PM, 4th February 2019
About 2 weeks ago 35
This is a problem which occurs quite regularly; we do some work in a house and the tenants ask for a rent reduction while it is going on.
The current scenario is this:
We are changing a 4-bed, 1 bathroom house into a 6-bedroom, 2 bathroom house. Phase 1 is converting a large, drafty bathroom into two separate ones. Bathroom 1 will have a roll-top bath and shower attachment, sink and toilet and Bathroom 2 will have a walk-in shower, sink and toilet. Thus the tenant/bathroom ratio will go from 4:1 to 3:1 and the new rooms will be greatly improved in terms of insulation.
The work started last Thursday and is progressing well, with at least one of the bathrooms ready soon. The drawback from the tenants’ point of view is that there will be added occupancy as a very large lounge will be divided to become a bedroom and a smaller lounge and a very large bedroom will become two double bedrooms (the tenant here is most likely going to leave, but quite amicably).
Two of the other tenants haven’t said a dickey bird, but one tenant is complaining every day. Firstly, he said the builders were noisy and the house was dirty, so we visited yesterday and the builder said the tenant had told them he did not find them noisy and the house was clean – the builders are very good about cleaning up and are mostly confined to the back of the house. We pointed out to the tenant that the house was not dirty and so today he has sent another text saying that he cannot sleep, cook or shower. In fact, he can shower in the evenings no problem and also the workers have even stopped work so that he can have a shower in the afternoon as he often starts work at 4pm.
There is no reason why he cannot sleep – the workmen arrive about 8.15am and also no reason why he cannot cook as the kitchen is largely clear apart from a bathroom shelving unit being placed there by the builders in the daytimes.
So, to the question: what would other landlords do when someone keeps saying ‘it’s not fair I pay the full rent?’
If we gave him money then all the others would also ask for it and it is my experience that when someone asks for compensation they have a very large figure in their head, so no amount will please them and I then wish I hadn’t given them anything!
I’m toying with the idea of a case of wine and beer (finding out first what the tenants like) and gifting them that at the end of the works to thank them for their patience… NB. they are a very transient group – we let to them including all bills (and this particular tenant has apparently turned the heating on so high that others have had to open windows…). At least two of the four are likely to move within December and the complaining tenant had previously intended to leave in December too…
Anyway, I would welcome your thoughts, tales of how you have dealt well or badly with this kind of scenario.
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