Issues with changing monthly to weekly rent payments?

by Readers Question

13:19 PM, 21st January 2016
About 3 years ago

Issues with changing monthly to weekly rent payments?

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Issues with changing monthly to weekly rent payments?

I have a tenant who is terrible at paying his rent. He does pay, eventually, but is bad with money management and has now asked to pay his rent weekly as that is how he is paid.weekly

I do not have a problem with doing this, but wonder how this affects my tenancy agreement and the deposit protection? Is this something I can just do, or do I need to make changes?

Thanks everyone

Zoe



Comments

Ross McColl

16:39 PM, 21st January 2016
About 3 years ago

As far as I can see, this makes no difference from a legal standpoint, although you may find he is in arrears on paper because of the timing of the payments. Example - rent due 1st month, but on the first of the month he only pays 1 week, so until week 4 he is in arrears. My advice would be to make sure you are on the right side of it, tell him it is fine to move to weekly but he must make the payments in such as way that he stays in advance and abides by the terms of the tenancy. Example - 1 months payment due on 1st of the month, then start paying weekly on the 8th. There will still be some timing inconsistencies but this is a much safer option as you can see any problems arising sooner rather than later. Hope this makes sense.

Denise G

11:23 AM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

We did this once for a couple when they (well the husband really) were having money problems - It worked ok and I suppose it's easy enough if they pay the right money straight into the bank but ours sometimes paid random amounts in cash too (because whenever he arrived home with surplus cash the wife would snag it for rent) so we really needed to keep on top of the paperwork.

Kerry Hayward

12:03 PM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

This can become hard work, esp if the money management problems then continue on a weekly basis. Rent book also becomes necessary.

Ian Narbeth

12:05 PM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

"As far as I can see, this makes no difference from a legal standpoint"
Sorry this is WRONG. If the tenant pays weekly you MUST provide a rent book. Failure to do so is a criminal offence: see e.g. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/crossheading/provision-of-rent-books
and http://www.propertylawuk.net/residentialrentbooks.html

Chris Byways

12:30 PM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

So this comes down to whether the TA CONTRACT is monthly, but you ALLOW the rent to be paid in weekly? Seems care is needed, but should work out satisfactorily for both sides. It would be proposterous if a tenant could just start depositing weekly amounts and make us guilty of a criminal offence by not spotting it immediately!

I am today sending a statement to UC where a tenant paid 3 X £100 in one month for a £350 rent. Two months earlier it had been £400. Please visit me in clink!

"The words in consideration of a rent payable weekly mean payable as a matter of obligation under the tenancy agreement (Crane J, para 2).
A clear distinction has to be drawn between the basis on which the rent is calculated and the periods at which the rent will, in fact, fall to be payable. In addition of course, there may be differences between the periods at which the rent becomes payable, as a matter of obligation, and the periods at which the rent is, in fact, paid (para 10).
The mere fact that on some occasions the rent is paid, say, fortnightly (or housing benefit four-weekly) does not necessarily mean that as a matter of obligation, the rent ceased to be payable weekly. There may have been reasons why the landlord was prepared to accept fortnightly payments and why the local authority found it convenient to pay every four weeks. (para 11). "

Ross McColl

12:41 PM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "22/01/2016 - 12:05":

An obvious mistake on my part. We issue all tenants with rent books whether they pay monthly or weekly so assumed this was a foregone conclusion. Well spotted. As far as I can see the rest of my logic still stands. Pleas correct me if I'm wrong.

Denise G

12:57 PM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

we accepted a HB tenant some years ago and after completion of all documentation the Borough Council informed us they ALWAYS pay rent 4 weekly in arrears - after some discussion (!!) about the terms of OUR Tenancy Agreement they agreed to pay a full month up front and then 4 weekly thereafter - they paid the rent directly to us and provided us with 4 weekly invoices.

Ian Narbeth

13:01 PM, 22nd January 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ross McColl" at "22/01/2016 - 12:41":

Hi Ross
The problem is as the case that Chris Byways cites reveals, judges are good at making "clear distinctions" but then say "The mere fact that on some occasions the rent is paid, say, fortnightly (or housing benefit four-weekly) does not necessarily mean that as a matter of obligation, the rent ceased to be payable weekly."

Because it does "not necessarily" mean something, it means it might in some cases do so. Judges always have the get out of saying that "each case depends on it own facts" which is of little comfort after the event if the court decides the landlord has got it wrong and has committed an offence. The OP proposes what appears to me to be a variation of the tenancy. Even if that is wrong it would be reckless not to have a rent book. This is because a tenant might turn round later, having defaulted/done a runner and use the absence of the rent book as a threat: "If you want your arrears I will report you to the police. If you let me off I won't." Even if the landlord wins he may have to incur hundreds or even thousands of pounds of costs to defend himself and avoid a criminal record, which will hurt his prospects if he needs a licence from the local council.

Rent books are an out of date anomaly from the time when landlords went round every week and collected rent in cash. Rent books provided proof that the rent had been paid. Nowadays if rent is paid from the tenant's bank account there is ample proof of payment. The law has not caught up but is unlikely to be changed any time soon. Given the current anti-landlord climate, landlords should not take any risks.

Mandy Thomson

15:02 PM, 24th January 2016
About 3 years ago

I agree with Ian and Kerry - there is a legal requirement for a rent book for weekly payments, even if it is as Ian says a rather dated law.

Rent books can be downloaded for free from the internet. There is one such legally compliant template with spaces for the information required under Clause 70(5) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (the address of the rental property, along with the name and address of the landlord) here https://www.wrinq.com/goodies/free-rent-book.html

That site, Wrinq, also provides a facility for a tenant to pay their rent by credit or debit card, either permanently or on an ad hoc basis. Although you wouldn't want to encourage someone who doesn't manage money well to run up uncontrolled credit card debt, it's better to run up some interest on the odd occasion rather than go into rental arrears and risk eviction.

For a tenant who can't get a credit card (or has already maxed theirs out..) it is possible to get pre-pay debit cards, often for free http://www.moneysupermarket.com/prepaid-cards/, which the user then loads money onto, from another card or more usually with cash. This works on a similar principle to topping up a prepay mobile phone account. A pre-pay card is also useful for budgeting.

A credit or debit card is necessary to pay through Wrinq which in turn uses PayPal. The landlord or other recipient receives an email, either advising them that the money has been deposited into their PayPal account or gives them easy to follow instructions to open a PayPal account if they don't have one.

zoe

2:23 AM, 25th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Thanks for the comments everyone. I have never used a rent book before! So, silly question, but can I manage it online, ie through email?
If I allow him to go to weekly payments will I need to change my TA? and subsequently the resecure the deposit with TDS?

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