To charge or not to charge?

by Readers Question

10:33 AM, 19th October 2020
About 3 months ago

To charge or not to charge?

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To charge or not to charge?

I own and manage a small HMO and rent the individual rooms on an AST of 6 months. In August a new tenant moved in, 7 weeks into her contract she told me she was now on the shortlist to move to a council flat, and she hoped to be moved out by the end of September, but would pay October’s rent.

She asked how flexible I was in regard to her having to pay for the whole term.

I reminded her that she had signed for 6 months (with her niece as guarantor (due to her being out of work)) but I would do my utmost to find a tenant from that moment onwards and hopefully the end of October to help her in her predicament.

This is my sole income.

I advertised the room at a competitive rate, but have only a little interest. One tenant informed me that she had Covid-19 last week so halted viewings and currently relying solely on my video tour.

I contacted my tenant this week to find out exactly when she would be moving out, she advised me that she had already moved out (on 6th October), and what should she do with the keys.

My questions are –
1. If I take the keys back, does that mean I deem the tenancy has finished?
2. Is it reasonable for me to expect the lady to pay rent until a new tenant is found?

Thank you in advance
Sez


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Comments

Paul Maguire

15:14 PM, 24th October 2020
About 3 months ago

So Sarah takes her tenant to Court. Doesn't sound as if the tenant has assets and she also doesn't have a job. No matter, you have Righteousness on your side. In Court [a year later at least] the tenant tells the magistrate that when signing and moving in she hadn't considered the dangers of sharing her accommodation with other people in the midst of a pandemic and the Council kindly offered her a safer option where she'd have the place to herself. I'm sure she could give at least one example of a fellow tenant that wasn't being as careful as they should have been, during the weeks that she was sharing the property. I'm an HMO "room by room" landlord too as sole income, but I happen to have noticed that the world's changed a bit.

SARAH UPTON

15:48 PM, 24th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Landlord Phil at 24/10/2020 - 14:04
Thank you

SARAH UPTON

15:53 PM, 24th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Maguire at 24/10/2020 - 15:14
Personally i would always try to come to some agreement that doesn't involve courts. The thought of going to court is a definite No No, too much stress and money wasted. Life it too short.
I am still advertising and hope to get someone soon, i may in a week drop the price as it's better to have someone at a lower rate than no one. I am a reasonable person so am keen to get the room sorted for my sake and hers.
Thanks for responding.

Paul Maguire

17:34 PM, 24th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Sorry Sarah, my post wasn't directed at you personally but at the suggestion that you might go to Court which in my view would be a waste of time/energy/money. I lost half of my tenants in March and half of my income. We all survived though, which is the most important bit and it's now fully tenanted again....until the next time. I hope you and your ex-tenant come to an amicable arrangement.

SARAH UPTON

17:38 PM, 24th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Maguire at 24/10/2020 - 17:34
Me too! I didn't take it personally :o)

Roy B

23:10 PM, 24th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jan Martin at 24/10/2020 - 14:30
One family I know were told the waiting list was 2 years - yet three months later they were offered, and told that if they did not accept, there would unlikely be another for quite some time, a property that suited their needs - the only catch was they had to accept it within 3 days so maybe not as guilty as you think.

Jan Martin

9:01 AM, 26th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Roy B at 24/10/2020 - 23:10
At the end of the day a contract has been signed and at the very least rent should be paid until a new tenant found. I have been a landlord for a long time and in that time have had similar situations. With families I have worked together with the housing and we have agreed dates between us .
As I have already written its up to the landlord how they want to run their business.

Nick Faulkner

10:07 AM, 26th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jan Martin at 26/10/2020 - 09:01
Legally Jan Martin you may be right but Paul Maguire and I agree.....and I have been a landlord for over 40 years it is not worth the hassle. Too much stress for too little reward....you would be flogging a dead horse. In theory you would be doing us (we landlords) a favour by reminding tenants they should not disregard their legal obligations they undertook when signing the lease but if they have not got any money you are wasting your time especially while the government are increasing notice periods and trying to dump the problems of homeless on private landlords. Cheer up you still own the property which gives you opportunities in the future.

Jan Martin

10:16 AM, 26th October 2020
About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Nick Faulkner at 26/10/2020 - 10:07
Thanks for your comments but its not my property .

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