Tenant asking for hardship compensation over bins?

by Readers Question

11:15 AM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

Tenant asking for hardship compensation over bins?

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Tenant asking for hardship compensation over bins?

I became a landlord in May 2018 as I moved in with my partner into Central London. I own a 1 bed flat in Buckinghamshire which has a lounge/kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. The property is situated on a corner by a shop and a business park and is a terraced property (ground floor) with no front or rear garden. I sought the work of a letting agent (a larger one in the area) and gave the property to the letting agent to find a tenant and manage it and resolve tenant queries paying them a fixed monthly fee so that I would not have to take care of the work as I moved approximately 30 miles away. The letting agent is a large company within its area and has a lot of properties on its books for letting and for sale.

They found an older, single woman in her 60s who is retired. She moved in during May 2018 and all seemed well. She said that she was recently divorced, had a daughter and son-in-law in the area and wanted the property for 3 years, but with a 12 month break clause between all 12 month periods and even paid a whole years worth of rent up front. The letting agent took their management fees and deductions up front from this money before passing it back to me. This all seemed ok until she started complaining about the rubbish.

The tenant and her son in law recently complained to the letting agent (who manages the property on behalf of me) that there was no place to put her rubbish. The local District Council does fortnightly rubbish collections alternating with general waste collections once a week and recycling the next. The tenant generates approx. one plus more sacks of general waste a week and has no place to put it.

I contacted the council, but they are of not much use. They told me the property is not suitable for a wheel bin as it will block paths, but they also provide no communal collection or can specify where to put that extra bag before the fortnight is up.

The tenant also had a disagreement with my neighbour (a commercial business) as she put the extra sack on the commercial business’s premises without asking them.

The letting agent kept asking me for a solution. Initially when I lived at the property I was happy recycling once weekly and using general waste the next. Any excess I would take to the tip myself which is situated a mile away, but there are recycling bins nearby.

I have had constant calls and emails with the council who advised that the tenant would either need to take part in recycling, or take the extra sack to the waste recycling centre or to ask the Business Park if they would allow her to site a bin on their site.

I went over to speak with the business park 2 weeks ago and they allowed her a temporary solution over the next 3 months to store a waste wheelie bin where she could place her extra sacks in. They also said she could use their waste bins on a more permanent basis inside the entrance of the business park which is approx. 10 metres away. Her son-in-law complained and said that his mother in law would not be happy doing this due to the large vans or vehicles that use the business park (1 every 2 hours!)

She and her son in law has now written a letter to the letting agent complaining and asking for financial compensation for hardship for the issues the waste collection has created on her life.

She knew the type of property she was renting prior to moving in, was aware of the local District Councils rubbish collection policies and I gave this property to the letting agent to deal with, and the council have given me a solution I have actioned.

There is also a written clause in the tenancy agreement under the tenants obligations that insist that they must properly dispose of all rubbish promptly.

I have been a good landlord by doing as much as I can here, by speaking with the commercial business, the local council and the business park and identifying solutions.

Does this tenant have any chance of achieving compensation, or any legal success? I would now like to have her evicted if so.

I look forward to some valuable advice that I can action.

Thanks

Mitesh



Comments

terry sullivan

12:29 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

evict asap--shes and sil are nutters? or more dangerously, have an agenda

problem is due to council

Luke P

12:33 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

If the LA don't have an obligation to provide bins or a specified area, then I would expect that you, as the LL, cannot be expected to either.

mitkx

12:57 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

Terry - I think you might be right there. When I initially went to meet them and the business park the son-in-law started quoting all aspects of tenancy rights, landlord obligations and the housing act at me. I am pursuing surrender of tenancy here now despite the letting agent telling me it can all be resolved amicably. I think they want to extract money in all kinds of ways and the older lady seems bitter like she has been dealt a hard blow in life, I dont see why they need to target me for that?

The LA have all but given me two options and I have already arranged one of those options for her, which she doesnt want to do.

Rob Crawford

14:08 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

Not your fault and "...the son-in-law started quoting all aspects of tenancy rights, landlord obligations and the housing act at me..." gave one of the biggest indicators that there would be problems! I would arrange for the agent to write a formal letter to them that explains the arrangement that you now have in place is reasonable and practicable. On the basis that the tenant does not find this acceptable for personal reasons, you could offer to terminate the tenancy early. Refund the rent from the date that you are able to re let the property but don't seek a new tenant until the property has been vacated as I would suggest you will be messed around. This letter will provide you with evidence that you have resolve the issue for any reasonable tenant and also been open to ending the tenancy early. I would not get drawn into discussing it any further, the ball is in their court! Accept it or leave.

Chris Bunn

14:40 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

Hi Mitesh,
I have had things like this happen to me in the past. It might be she just want to move out early but cant afford to walk away from the money she has paid up. I would write to her stating you have done everything within your power and there is nothing else you can do regarding this matter. Should she find the situation unacceptable you are happy to release her from rental contract early with no finality penalty other than any damages covered by deposit ie cleaning etc, ( you also need to see if your agent will refund payment or find another tenant for you or say that the fees paid will not be returned from agent )
Providing she gives you 30 days notice from the date of moving in. IE 30 days minimum to 60 days if she were to miss the rent due date.

In addition to that if she wants you to serve notice on her which might be the case so she can get council housing or simply want to move out. You need the request in writing from her and you will oblige.
By doing this the ball is in her court and you are seen to be reasonably.
I have had tenants reporting faults which are intermittent or none existent but cost money to send out workmen. Then when they leave the faults go with them. Then find out they have a job farther away and do not want to do the daily trip.

a unhappy tenant can cost you lots of time money and aggravation.
Best of luck
Chris

Dr Rosalind Beck

17:07 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

My understanding is that as long as you have done your best to rectify the issue, you have no reason to worry and definitely no need to offer compensation. Beware that if you are bullied into offering compensation, give an inch and a mile will be requested. Stand firm.

Mike D

21:00 PM, 31st August 2018
About 3 months ago

Her discussion is with the council, not you, you have done all you can, and she saw the flat as it was, so she should resolve waste management with the council and her council tax payment!

Adrian Jones

9:28 AM, 1st September 2018
About 3 months ago

What do the other occupants of the building do with their rubbish?

michaelwgroves

10:21 AM, 1st September 2018
About 3 months ago

Take a look at the planning application for your flat, refuse storage has been a requirement for as long as I can remember. The applicant will of been required to advise where the refuse storage will be. It is not permitted to store refuse internally. You can now do this easily online for most boroughs. Mine goes back to the 70's online. Albeit only the decision has been uploaded this far back. But once you have the planning application number you can easily email the planning department and ask them what the application says about refuse storage. Even if the application advises you can store somewhere, this still might not be the end to it as you then need the lease to also say you can store here, but at least you have a starting point to push for external refuse storage.
I am having the same problem so I know this well, my freeholder wont let my tenant store refuse in the location advised by the lease, so freeholder has been returning rubbish on pavement outside my front door. Freeholder is now being prosecuted by council for fly tipping!

terry sullivan

10:46 AM, 1st September 2018
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by michaelwgroves at 01/09/2018 - 10:21
council will pass the buck most likely--you can store refuse indoors in your kitchen bin. council will say you may only put rubbish out on pavement jutr before collection

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