Rent increase for v longstanding hermit tenant?

Rent increase for v longstanding hermit tenant?

14:48 PM, 31st October 2022, About 2 years ago 13

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Hello, I have a tenant who has been with me for 20 years or so (AST) in a 2 bed flat. He lives like a hermit and over the years the place has got v dirty and messy.

I’ve done what I can or need to; new boiler when old one became unsafe according to my gas engineer. I’ve encouraged him to get a cleaner in. I also took chance to upgrade radiators and TCVs/room thermostat in prep for EPC(C). It has an EICR.

The trouble is although I’ve made periodic increases, the rent is now a long way behind what would be market value if the place was refurbished but it would need a major refurb (inc new kitchen, bathroom etc) Prob £40K. The current rent is £1300 pcm but refurbished would be £2K. I don’t want to give him notice but the area is beginning to outgrow him price wise (zone 2 London).

This has come to the fore more recently as inflation and rents surge but the discrepancy is getting to be too much and after all this is a business and not a charity.



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10:27 AM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Maybe have a chat with the tenant and explain your situation. I guess if he’s living in a 2 bed flat he’s working? You may be able to come to some sort of agreement somewhere in between what he’s paying and what it’s rental value is worth now. I think I’d rather do this and he stays rather than having to pay out 40k to gain a couple of hundred pounds a month. Also, if he’s been there 20 years and always paid the rent it would be a shame to lose him. As long as he’s not causing any damage to the fabric of the property, it’s his choice to live as he does! Good luck!

Jeff Niehorster

10:31 AM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

I have had a similar situation and if I were you I think I would try to get a small increase from him but if he resisted I would carry on with the £1300 pcm. My logic is why spend £40k. If he stays he will wreck it again, if he goes your have to spend £40k. Plus you have the costs of getting him out and he will probably stop paying the rent for the year it takes. Hope this helps. Jeff


11:28 AM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jeff Niehorster at 01/11/2022 - 10:31
I am usually on the capitalist side of things but a long standing good (arguably messy) tenant is worth their weight in gold. why would you want to lose him and possibly turf him out of his home (after 20 years this would certainly be classed as a home) possibly unaffordable elsewhere. Moreover, using your figures it would take 4.76 years to get your 40K refurb investment back! i would do the decent thing and leave the poor sod in place. and having paid you for so many years i would also pay for a one off deep clean. It will cost you, what maybe £1500 and might help this poor guy kickstart a better 'mental framework' moving forward, or let him be if he is happy how he is!

karma is a great leveller. unless you want to sell up let sleeping dogs lie i say!

Robert M

11:36 AM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Increase the rent to the LHA figure for the size of the property in that area, using a s13 Notice. If the tenant is employed then this will be a very affordable rent, and if he is unemployed then he can claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element to help him to pay the rent.

If he chooses to downsize into a 1 bed property, then he will give Notice and move out, at which point you go in and do the refurbishment and re-let at the full market rent. But essentially it will be the tenant's choice as to whether he chooses to leave or chooses to remain.

Alternatively, if you don't have a mortgage or can afford to accept a low rent, then simply increase his rent in line with inflation each year. Social housing providers use the September CPI rate + 1% as their standard rent increase rate each April, so you could adopt this method. It may not keep up with the market rates, but it may be seen as a fairer method of determining rent increases.


15:03 PM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Hmmmm!! Well put question and both sides of the response well argued.
How old is the tenant?
If he's been with you 20 years, chance is you have to do a complete refurb anyway?
acctsol above is right.

Dylan Morris

15:06 PM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

I struggling to see how you could spend anywhere near £40k just on a kitchen and bathroom refurb in a two bed flat.
New kitchen say £8k and bathroom £3k. Paint and decorate yourself if possible. Even if you need professional decorators only going to be a couple of grand. New carpets and underlay say £3k. Bit of lino in the kitchen or Karndean if you fancy going upmarket a bit. Surely you wouldn’t be spending any more than £20k ?


18:26 PM, 1st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Boot him out, then do a £40k refurb, followed by a bad new tenant that trashes the kitchen and clears off leaving rent arrears! Yeah right, I'd risk that!

Joe Armstrong

22:56 PM, 2nd November 2022, About 2 years ago

I've had a similar tenant for 15 years. I expect that one day I'll get the property back in right state. Leave him be I'd say...Imagine if in that 20 year period you'd had tenants in and out, rent arrears, voids, malicious damage, anti-social behaviour, community charge bills etc may not have been much better off if at all.
Try nudging the rent up a little and when he finally has to go you can refurbish and HOPE you get a tenant as rock-steady as he was. Just my way of thinking.


9:08 AM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

Better the devil you know imo. Keep him happy and be thankful.


10:43 AM, 3rd November 2022, About 2 years ago

the problem you may run into is whether the property meets the EPC requirements and whether you can get access to improve it.

There is also the cost of EPC improvements and whether the rent covers this.

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