I paid for alternative accommodation but now tenants want rent refunded too!

by Readers Question

10:25 AM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

I paid for alternative accommodation but now tenants want rent refunded too!

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I paid for alternative accommodation but now tenants want rent refunded too!

No Fault Fire in the house – I paid for alternative accommodation while the house repaired and re-decorated. Tenants are now demanding I also refund the rent for the period.fire

The alternative accommodation cost more than the rent I received for the period.

I used a standard RLA tenancy agreement.

Anyone have any ideas how I should deal with this?

Thanks

Miche



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:51 AM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Miche,

We have a reader in a similar circumstance and have documented the legal requirements please see >> http://www.property118.com/fire-damage-and-re-housing-tenants-help/82020/

Unless the fire was your fault you are not legally compelled to find alternative accommodation so wanting the rent back seems harsh, but I am not 100% sure where you stand on this.

Teg's Dad

11:59 AM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Commonsense suggests that they could either have the rent back and pay for their own alternative accommodation or they pay rent and you pay for their accommodation.

Perhaps a letter/email to them saying you are happy to refund their rent provided they refund the accommodation costs to you might just remind them that they cannot have their cake and eat it.

Dr Rosalind Beck

12:38 PM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Tell them 'no.'
I have had similar situations and was advised that apart from re-housing them no other 'compensation' whatsoever is payable. I made the mistake of giving a tenant a month's free rent as well as alternative accommodation, including transporting their belongings etc. and then she didn't pay the next month's rent and her father started demanding 3 months' rent free. Give them an inch and they will take a mile, was the advice I was given and it is true. I had to threaten the father with involving all the other guarantors and/or making the joint tenants pay the rent for his daughter. Finally he gave in and paid. But I would advise not giving any compensation -as why give one month only for them then to be ungrateful and moan. Remember it wasn't your fault.

Graham Chilvers

14:09 PM, 16th November 2015
About 3 years ago

I been a Lanlord for 30 years. 6 fires! I don't get these sorts of simple questions.

There can not be no fault fire! Either your tenant caused the fire or something in the building which shouldn't have, caught fire. So someone is to blame.

The Landlord should have proper Landlord Insurance which completly covers all losses due to the fire. The insurance company decides what is fair.

By civil law

The tenant like anyone else has the right to be reinstated to the same postion as if nothing had happened. That is not out of pocket. You may choose, or they may claim to go past that point and want compensation for the inconvenience.

If the tenant caused the fire then the Landlord, like anyone else has the right to be reinstated to the same postion as if nothing had happened. That is not out of pocket. The tenanat may choose, or the Landlord may claim to go past that point and go for compensatation from them for the inconvenience.

Real basic stuff

Luke P

16:31 PM, 17th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Graham Chilvers" at "16/11/2015 - 14:09":

That's not correct Graham.

There is no right to be reinstated in the same position. If the agreement is frustrated, then the best course would be for LL and tenant to part ways.

LL can then arrange repairs and tenant can move on. Nothing more is required of the LL.

James Fraser

9:37 AM, 21st November 2015
About 3 years ago

Oooooowww... I hate to do this but I'm going to have to step in between Graham and Luke here. Neil and Ros are closer and everyone here is at least partially right.

A no-fault fire CAN occur, of course. For the landlord (or indeed tenant) to be culpable there has to have been an 'act or omission' to make the liability. If this fire is localised within the property, and there has been an act or omission, then Graham is right and the offending party has to put it right 'as if the event had not occurred' (as barristers are trained).

If however the entire house is lost to a no-fault fire, (or explosion or asteroid strike or giant hole in the ground etc) then frustration of contract occurs and no further liability exists on either side.

In short, in this case there is no compensation due. If the fire was your fault, you either provide equal accomodation elsewhere OR compensation, but not both. Insurance can work out the rest.

Luke P

9:40 AM, 23rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "James Fraser" at "21/11/2015 - 09:37":

My comment wasn't a general one, it was based on the OP stating a situation where there WAS a no fault fire.

Graham's insistence was that there is no such possibility (which there is...and in this case, was).

Therefore, not in general terms, but as per the information given by the OP -Miche- then there is no right to be reinstated to the same postion as if nothing had happened.

I suppose my failing was to surmise that the agreement had become frustrated, which was not clear in the OP's post, but my answer was based on the information given and not generic advice.

Graham Chilvers

13:02 PM, 23rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree. With a fire I had over looked an act of god “lighting strike”. I struggle and I worry that perhaps I could have a fire in my property were the tenants hadn’t done anything wrong and my property hadn’t had a fault that caused a fire. Can’t imagine a scenario that fits that. Anyway there is a clause in my tenancy agreement that I am not responsible for my tenants' possessions, otherwise I would have to limit their value in the property if I am going to be liable for it. Luke doesn’t say why there was a fire, so he leves it to my imagination.
The law is “where there is blame, there is a claim” Luke says no one is to blame, so there can’t be a claim, but in the law of tort, where there is blame, you have right to have your loss reinstated back to your original position, but there is a limit on consequential losses. Example; I couldn't get to the store to buy a bargin TV so you owe me the extra I now have to pay!

Luke P

13:07 PM, 23rd November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Graham Chilvers" at "23/11/2015 - 13:02":

I have had several fires across my properties across the years, the most recent being caused by the incoming electrical supply (electricity board's responsibility). I guess in a case like that where there was responsibility on the part of the electric board, it was neither mine, nor the tenants fault. Unfortunately due to extensive smoke damage, it was not possible for the tenant to remain and essentially that was just 'tough luck for them.

I guess it depends on the scenario, but contrary to what many tenants believe, they do not have you at their whim just because they've had a fire.


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