Tenant reneged on deal – HELP!

by Readers Question

11:45 AM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

Tenant reneged on deal – HELP!

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Tenant reneged on deal – HELP!

It was silly I know, to do informal business with a personal connection, but here is the story:

My wife’s flat became available for rent, (previously rented to a friend for 5 years with no hassle at all).

She put it on Facebook and 5 people immediately replied. She narrowed it down to 1 person, agreed everything, redecorate the flat to this person’s specification, put new carpets, foregoed the opportunity to get work paid for by insurance in order to expedite the decoration – and the tenant PULLED OUT less than a week before she was due to move in, because she had found someone else.

Now we have a problem – we cannot find anyone else at the moment (probably the time of year). We need the monthly rental income. We are now have to put all the bills in our name including council tax etc .

The tenant agreed to pay a months rent to make up for it, but then said that she couldn’t, so reneged on that too.

Does anyone have any advice? Could we take her to small claims? There was no contract signed, and most of the communication was done by my wife, on text. There is plenty of intention on the tenants part and commitment to renting.

Can anyone help?

Thanks
Mattreneged



Comments

Ian Narbeth

12:04 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

Matt
Absent a written contract I think you will have to accept the loss. It is a good idea to get a reservation fee and have a one page agreement committing the tenant to the deal if there is to be a delay before they move in.

You could consult a solicitor but the costs of bringing a claim are liikely to be disproportionate especially as the legal issues are not clear cut. If you had a binding agreement for lease you could sue for all the rent. From what you have said I think it unlikely you can show a binding agreement. You could end up throwing good money after bad.

Furthermore if the lady has no money, you may not be able to enforce a judgment anyway.

Dunsaw Sawyerr

12:24 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

You have no idea how lucky you have been in not taking matters forward with this tenant.

Please get into the habit of taking tenant references and having formal agreements. Ask for references to be carried out and who ever completes theirs within your deadline and is deemed suitable you can proceed with.

Consider this a fairly inexpensive lesson learned for trying to take a shortcut.

Steve From Leicester

12:51 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

As an agent I see people do things like this from time to time. Think of it this way. If a bloke on Facebook said he'd buy your car so long as you fitted new tyres, resprayed it and upgraded the stereo would you just go ahead and do it? Of course not, so why do people regularly do something similar with their house?

I know this is a bit harsh but as a previous comment said, it could have been much worse.

Hazel Taylor

14:23 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

I agree with all the above comments, learn by your mistakes, and book yourselves on a landlords training course, try the Residential Landlord Ass, but other also available.

Hazel Taylor

Romain Garcin

15:48 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

If you can prove the agreement, then you can go after them as a contract was most likely formed.
However, as said, if everything was oral, you're going to struggle for an unlikely result.

You could try formal letters demanding money, and threatening legal action and/or to pass it on to a collection agency (who knows she might even shoot herself in the foot when replying). But probably not worth more than that.
Put it down to experience.

Ray Davison

19:08 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

Unless a consideration has been made by both sides a contract has not been formed. By refurbishing the property to her specification you have given a consideration but if she has not done so by payment or some other identifiably valuable action then the contract was not formed.

As said above a lesson learned. Always get a commitment before carrying out any action that you would not be doing anyway.

Romain Garcin

20:53 PM, 1st August 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ray Davison" at "01/08/2014 - 19:08":

Note that for the prospective tenant (to use the case discussed) to give consideration he does not have to actually pay anything but just to promise to pay.

Renovate To let

9:14 AM, 2nd August 2014
About 4 years ago

Just a thought...

Whatever else you do, focus on letting the place, not ruminating on what happened. Otherwise you are letting this individual continue to negatively affect you whereas they are oblivious and have moved on....

if you want a way to draw a line under it, load up their details on landlord referencing (LRS) so others don't fall for their tricks in future.

Lorraine Thompson

11:27 AM, 2nd August 2014
About 4 years ago

There are plenty of sites to update her details on, then no agent or landlord will touch her in future. This is the way forward with all of us. It's a hard lesson to learn however it could have been much worse, you've learnt from it so move on and in future do full tenant checks/agreements etc.

Jill Lucas

11:49 AM, 2nd August 2014
About 4 years ago

The key issue is that it's essential to have a binding contract in place - even then they can renege on the deal and on amounts under £5k you can go thru the small claims court - even if you win you often don't get the money back. Using a solicitor is costly and can actually cost you more! This is a tough lesson - as we manage our properties I use one agent who charges a finders fee, takes up references, takes the deposit and does the AST contract too! There are no real shortcuts to this. Often being nice comes back to bite!! Don't let this put you off it is part of the learning curve! As regards finding a good letting agent - just go and meet them and find out about their services - I have found that the smaller ones are great that offer a v personal service. The key to this is getting a contract in place, referencing, deposit and I always get an inventory done. Plus a nicely decorated property with quality fittings generally achieves a good rent and is looked after by tenants and you tend to get longer lets. If it is shabby and needs maintenance then tenants tend not to look after it. It is a balance that you can only learn the lessons over time.

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