Tenant handed in notice but wants rent refund?

by Readers Question

13:55 PM, 20th February 2020
About 6 months ago

Tenant handed in notice but wants rent refund?

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Tenant handed in notice but wants rent refund?

My live in tenants break clause occurs on the 21st of march 2020, he served 1 month notice 5 days early on the 16th Feb (in writing), stating that he wants to move out on the 16th of March. Although slightly disappointed, we accepted the notice and began our hunt for a new tenant.

We eventually found a new tenant and agreed to start her tenancy on the 16th of March (our current tenants moving out day). Our current tenant was happy we found someone, however quickly realised that he could make a quick buck and stated “although I’ve stated I’m moving out on the 16th of March, my tenancy doesn’t end until the 21st, therefore you owe me back 1 weeks rent”.

Obviously what he has done is very disingenuous, however is he legally in the right?

Many thanks

Landlord10



Comments

Ian Narbeth

10:44 AM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by WDB at 21/02/2020 - 10:28Completely agree. The OP's upside is that he is richer by 5 days' rent. Possible downsides, the tenant complains to the housing department of the Council. The OP then has to spend time dealing with them. They may decide to inspect the property and find works that need doing. Before he knows it the OP has to spend money on works that could have been ignored.

He is also now on the Council's radar as a problem landlord (undoubtedly already a "rogue landlord" in the eyes of the Guardian-reading classes!) and he can expect to receive little or no benefit of the doubt on any future complaint by a disgruntled tenant.

Ian Cognito

12:06 PM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

I would have had a chat with my tenant along the lines of "all being well, I'll find a replacement for the 16th and refund you the 5 days".

However, if 5 weeks, rather than 5 days, then I'd probably ask for a proportionate payment to help with the costs of re-advertising and referencing etc.

Frederick Morrow-Ahmed

12:41 PM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 21/02/2020 - 10:44
If tenant was a live in tenant, in other words a lodger in the private home of a resident landlord, and assuming there are no more than 2 lodgers, can the council get involved?

Of course, the council could come round to check that there are not 3 lodgers or more and therefore potentially a licencable HMO.

But returning to the topic in question, I would imagine that natural justice dictates that the OP returns the excess rent. Presumably, if the tenant went to small claims court, this is what the judge would likely rule.

If the tenant felt really aggrieved he could refuse to move out till the 21st, or report matter to Shelter or to genrent. In which case they could expand it to the media as another justification for their raison d'etre. Polly may get additional funding from Nationwide on the back of this!

Ian Narbeth

13:48 PM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Frederick Morrow-Ahmed at 21/02/2020 - 12:41
I read the OP's post quite quickly. If the "tenant" is in fact a lodger in the family home, the Council probably won't get involved. If the landlord lives in a property with several other peopled that's a different matter. In the circumstances the Landlord is getting a windfall. If he had not been able to relet before the 21st he would not have.

Steve Masters

14:03 PM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

If you make the old tenant pay up until the 21st, he might stay until the 21st, then what will you do about the new tenant moving in on the 16th?
Another reason to pay the 5 days back.

Paul Maguire

14:45 PM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

I always wait until the new tenant moves in and pay the rebate that same day.

Mike W

15:38 PM, 21st February 2020
About 6 months ago

Landlord and tenant signed a contract for the tenant to live in the property until 21/3. The tenant paid until 21/3 and is entitled to stay in the property until then. In my view, the tenant would also be responsible for any costs in the period up to 21/3.
If he decides to move out on 16/3 and the landlord did not get a new tenant before 21/3 nothing changes. But if the landlord gets a new tenant from 16/3 then he ought to seek permission from the previous tenant for the early move in and of course reimburse him at his request.
The same ought to apply to hotels but who checks?

Michael Barnes

3:47 AM, 22nd February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike W at 21/02/2020 - 15:38
T chose to leave before the end of the period paid for.

There is no requirement in law for T to be refunded for the time not in occupation.

Frederick Morrow-Ahmed

12:23 PM, 22nd February 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 21/02/2020 - 13:48
Sorry to be pedantic, I am just trying to educate myself. You wrote:

"If the landlord lives in a property with several other people that's a different matter".

Is that somehow different from having a lodger(s), or are these 'several other people' also 'lodgers'?

As I said, I am just trying to understand if there is a difference, or are they both one and the same thing?

Mike

13:31 PM, 22nd February 2020
About 6 months ago

I think this thread is a joke, what are we debating on what 5 days rent! It must have cost everyone's combined time into hundreds of pounds when the rent for 5 days would most probably not even amount to £50.

this landlord has no idea how some of us have suffered months and months of rent and court and lawyer fees amounting to amounts approaching well over 5 grand!
Just refund the rent asked by your tenant and move on. Why risk being taken to the cleaners for charging overpayment under the new legislation, even if assuming you had the right to retain that rent for just 5 days!

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