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[HOUSING/LEGAL ADVICE] Landlord looking to cancel rent discount with no notice?

41
Posted 16th Dec 2019
I've been on HUKD for a good amount of time and would welcome any thoughts on the below

London based.

TLDR: Landlord gave us a monthly rent discount due to building works. Said works have ended and they want me to pay the full amount this month, despite having told me less than 2 weeks before rent day and well after my last payday. This is something I really can't afford to do!

When we moved into our flat in July 2019, there was extensive building work going on to the back of the property. They were essentially building multiple new flats behind us.

At the time, we asked the estate agent if the landlord would be willing to give us a discount, and eventually we negotiated a £400pcm discount, down from £1600pcm to £1200pcm. It was written into the Tenancy as '£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the property'.

Since then, we've been paying the discounted rate. On 9th Dec 2019, I received an invoice from my estate agent, stating my rent was increasing to £1600pcm. I enquired as to why and turns out they've finished building works and so the rent is going back up; fair enough.

My question is: shouldn't they give me some notice for this? Our pay date for each month is 23rd, and they told us on 9th Dec, fully expecting us to pay the extra £400 that month.

Like most people I get paid monthly and at the end of the month, so I budget for the next month ahead. It's Christmas guys- I don't have £400 lying around this month at all.

I went back to them and said this, and stated I'd be happy to pay the full amount from NEXT month, stating that fair notice should really be at least 1 month. They've insisted they don't need to give me any notice.

Do I have any standing? I've double checked our paperwork and Tenancy, and there is no notice period in there, but telling me halfway through the month hardly seems fair.

Thanks,
A.
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From what I read I think you have been fortunate with the discount and it seems fair on them asking you to now pay the full amount. You have made a good saving, sounds like a good landlord, I would pay.
Well really you should have been putting the £400 aside each month so that you would be used to budgeting for the full amount. Plus it would have given you a nice rainy day fund.

As for if they can just increase it check the contract. From what you've said they are within their rights to remove the discount as soon as the work was complete. Advance notice would have be a nicety without its mentioned in the contract.
41 Comments
Was there any building work after 23rd November?
chimp14uk16/12/2019 16:04

Was there any building work after 23rd November?


I honestly couldn't tell you. We very rarely heard disturbance even throughout the building. We haven't seen or heard anything for a little bit but I don't know if that's before or after 23rd Nov.

We were told we'd be notified when the discount ended by our estate agent, and we were notified on 9th Dec.
DatAlbino16/12/2019 16:06

I honestly couldn't tell you. We very rarely heard disturbance even …I honestly couldn't tell you. We very rarely heard disturbance even throughout the building. We haven't seen or heard anything for a little bit but I don't know if that's before or after 23rd Nov.We were told we'd be notified when the discount ended by our estate agent, and we were notified on 9th Dec.


Well if your pay date was 23rd November and there wasn't any building work subsequent, I don't think that you can do much tbh.
I'm sure there's more qualified people on here to advise you though.
chimp14uk16/12/2019 16:09

Well if your pay date was 23rd November and there wasn't any building work …Well if your pay date was 23rd November and there wasn't any building work subsequent, I don't think that you can do much tbh. I'm sure there's more qualified people on here to advise you though.


Thanks for thoughts. All opinions are valuable when you're not sure!
Why do you think you need notice? Re-read what you agreed to:

£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the property

It works in your favour if building works starts up at any point in the future, as you could insist on the discount.
themaxx16/12/2019 16:12

Why do you think you need notice? Re-read what you agreed to:£400pcm …Why do you think you need notice? Re-read what you agreed to:£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the propertyIt works in your favour if building works starts up at any point in the future, as you could insist on the discount.


I agree with you, but for now the issue remains that my rent is due in a week and they're pressing me for £400 more than I have. I'm just wondering if I have a leg to stand on.
From what I read I think you have been fortunate with the discount and it seems fair on them asking you to now pay the full amount. You have made a good saving, sounds like a good landlord, I would pay.
This sounds very tricky. You should speak to someone at your local Citizen's Advice or Law Centre.
no, it is a discount and so technically not really rent. it is discretionary discount given by the landlord, formalised in the contract, and it only states that it will apply during the period that the work is carried out. it does not state that there need to be any notice when the discount ends, except that it will end when the building work finish.

it is not the same as the landlord increasing the monthly rent, where he does have to give one month of notice if you are paying monthly rent.
dealtime16/12/2019 16:19

From what I read I think you have been fortunate with the discount and it …From what I read I think you have been fortunate with the discount and it seems fair on them asking you to now pay the full amount. You have made a good saving, sounds like a good landlord, I would pay.


We have made a good saving, but that was obviously for the other costs we had to go through- the noises and dust and the builders in and out the building.

Granted though, it was well worth it.

I just felt giving me 2 weeks to find a 33% increase in my rent was a tad unfair
Well really you should have been putting the £400 aside each month so that you would be used to budgeting for the full amount. Plus it would have given you a nice rainy day fund.

As for if they can just increase it check the contract. From what you've said they are within their rights to remove the discount as soon as the work was complete. Advance notice would have be a nicety without its mentioned in the contract.
If the tenancy agreement does not actually state a notice period for the increase back to the original rent agreed then I would say that ‘timely’ notice should be given and 14 days would fall into that category.
The Landlord probably thinks you would be putting the £400 saving each month aside ready to be used as and when the rent is increased back up.
Edited by: "Toptrumpet" 16th Dec 2019
DatAlbino16/12/2019 16:30

We have made a good saving, but that was obviously for the other costs we …We have made a good saving, but that was obviously for the other costs we had to go through- the noises and dust and the builders in and out the building. Granted though, it was well worth it.I just felt giving me 2 weeks to find a 33% increase in my rent was a tad unfair


When they gave you the discount, did they apply it immediately or ask you to wait a calendar month/four weeks? If asked to wait then I guess you can request the same and if not then I think it's fair. All the best.
dealtime16/12/2019 16:41

When they gave you the discount, did they apply it immediately or ask you …When they gave you the discount, did they apply it immediately or ask you to wait a calendar month/four weeks? If asked to wait then I guess you can request the same and if not then I think it's fair. All the best.


It was negotiated before we moved in, which was around a month before we started living there. That was because someone was already living there, though.
Toptrumpet16/12/2019 16:38

If the tenancy agreement does not actually state a notice period for the …If the tenancy agreement does not actually state a notice period for the increase back to the original rent agreed then I would say that ‘timely’ notice should be given and 14 days would fall into that category. The Landlord probably thinks you would be putting the £400 saving each month aside ready to be used as and when the rent is increased back up.


Thanks for the thoughts. Seems more and more like I don't have a leg to stand on
joedastudd16/12/2019 16:38

Well really you should have been putting the £400 aside each month so that …Well really you should have been putting the £400 aside each month so that you would be used to budgeting for the full amount. Plus it would have given you a nice rainy day fund.As for if they can just increase it check the contract. From what you've said they are within their rights to remove the discount as soon as the work was complete. Advance notice would have be a nicety without its mentioned in the contract.


Its been a tough year man. Had 2 family passings, earned about £9k less than I did last year, and had to take on a rented flat due to family housing changes. You're right though, I should have been harsher on myself so I could be in the money now
themaxx16/12/2019 16:21

This sounds very tricky. You should speak to someone at your local …This sounds very tricky. You should speak to someone at your local Citizen's Advice or Law Centre.


Thanks for the thoughts
The written term states: '£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the property'.

Your pay date is : Our pay date for each month is 23rd, and they told us on 9th Dec (finished work).

There is no definition of "month", namely, is it calendar month or payment month. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume by implication , rental month, especially if your contract use rental month as terms rather than calendar month.

Therefore, I would put money on this, conclusively as written in your contract, you start paying the higher amount from 23rd or 1st (if in calendar month). There is no pro-rata terms mentioned. Therefore, "for any month" means exactly this. You are on rock solid ground, write to agent and remind the agents to use the agreed term as stated in the contract, unless the works had finished on the 22nd of the previous month and it took them until the 9th to remind you.

There is no notice required nor is it relevant, unless added into the contract, both parties to the contract already had agreed: "£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the property." Therefore, by inference, as a matter of fact, you pay £1600 in the month where there is no building work. If agent could produce evidence to show work had finished on the 22nd, then you have to pay the higher amount, the delay till 9th Dec is a matter of clerical reminder, the fact of the matter, as material fact, is the contract term.
Edited by: "splender" 16th Dec 2019
OP, if you really can’t afford the full amount this month, perhaps put in writing that you would be willing to pay £1200 on 23/12 and £2000 on 23/1 and then the £1600 from 23/2 then onwards.
Edited by: "Toptrumpet" 16th Dec 2019
Wow !

How much for a flat !


London price is beyond belief
DatAlbino16/12/2019 16:14

I agree with you, but for now the issue remains that my rent is due in a …I agree with you, but for now the issue remains that my rent is due in a week and they're pressing me for £400 more than I have. I'm just wondering if I have a leg to stand on.


You are on solid ground, as above, unless the work had finished on 22nd, prior to them telling you on the 9th. The material fact for the contract is : did works occur from 23rd to 22nd in any month, not when the agent tells you when start or end is.
Edited by: "splender" 16th Dec 2019
DatAlbino16/12/2019 16:06

I honestly couldn't tell you. We very rarely heard disturbance even …I honestly couldn't tell you. We very rarely heard disturbance even throughout the building. We haven't seen or heard anything for a little bit but I don't know if that's before or after 23rd Nov.We were told we'd be notified when the discount ended by our estate agent, and we were notified on 9th Dec.


Therefore, unless evidence is produced, it is reasonable for you to assume the work finished when you were notified , subject to better evidence, the onus is on the landlord (agent).
ashmac16/12/2019 17:00

Wow !How much for a flat ! London price is beyond belief


It certainly is, my friend.

Although that is for a 2 bed flat in Central London. You get what you pay for.
I would suggest you ask to pay half the £400 increase this month and then the full £400 increase next month onwards. If they push for the full amount say as it’s Christmas you are a little short, can you pay the amount over two months. That would mean £600 more in January though.
DatAlbino16/12/2019 17:28

It certainly is, my friend. Although that is for a 2 bed flat in Central …It certainly is, my friend. Although that is for a 2 bed flat in Central London. You get what you pay for.


In london you get a lot less than you pay for you mean, 2 bed flat would be under £500-600 most places, ive never understood why anyone would stay there, unless you have a 100k job close by i guess
Edited by: "Mark_Hickman" 16th Dec 2019
Mark_Hickman16/12/2019 19:11

In london you get a lot less than you pay for you mean, 2 bed flat would …In london you get a lot less than you pay for you mean, 2 bed flat would be under £500-600 most places, ive never understood why anyone would stay there, unless you have a 100k job close by i guess


Yes but outside of London my job barely exists and where it does in other cities the rent is not that much lower in the centre
Unless you're in a hurry to have your tenancy terminated you'd best just pay it.
It'll be cheaper in the long run.

If your landlord or letting agent reads this thread you might be on your way out too.
Edited by: "Erudite" 16th Dec 2019
I bet the works finished long ago and you kept quiet, I would do the same but asking for notice is pushing it. I would rather keep good relationship and watch out, only notice you might get is one that puts you out of a home.
Edited by: "MR1123" 16th Dec 2019
I have read all the comments above and one thing is missing - you pay your rent in advance, if I m right. So the rent on 23rd December should be for next month (period), whenever it starts. If so, I can't see any issue with payment of £1600. Sorry its not helpful but that's my opinion.
doorswitch16/12/2019 21:24

I have read all the comments above and one thing is missing - you pay your …I have read all the comments above and one thing is missing - you pay your rent in advance, if I m right. So the rent on 23rd December should be for next month (period), whenever it starts. If so, I can't see any issue with payment of £1600. Sorry its not helpful but that's my opinion.


Well spotted, though you highlighted a possible mistake by the OP.

However, month in advance or arrears, the contractual term , "'£400pcm discount for any month that has building works " is unambiguous whether the payment term is in advance or arrears.
Consider getting a lodger in to split costs. ?
2 bedrooms. Sparerooms . Com
Edited by: "EyeExpert" 17th Dec 2019
EyeExpert17/12/2019 05:36

Consider getting a lodger in to split costs. ? 2 bedrooms. Sparerooms . Com


Normally subletting is not allowed so check your lease before taking on a lodger.
As a landlord myself I would say you had the discount for any month that building work was been carried out and the landlord themselves might have only just been notified that the building work has been completed as they don't live there. I would speak to the landlord and ask if you can split this month's extra £400 across the remaining tenancy term and then pay fully from January. But will all depend on the landlord and what they want Good luck
EyeExpert17/12/2019 05:36

Consider getting a lodger in to split costs. ? 2 bedrooms. Sparerooms . Com


jbecker17/12/2019 06:41

Normally subletting is not allowed so check your lease before taking on a …Normally subletting is not allowed so check your lease before taking on a lodger.


We already have a lodger, long story short our 3rd tenant screwed us over right after signing the contract so we were forced into finding a lodger, who is now leaving themselves so we need to find ANOTHER lodger. Nightmare tenancy apart from the discount so far.
cliosport6517/12/2019 09:00

As a landlord myself I would say you had the discount for any month that …As a landlord myself I would say you had the discount for any month that building work was been carried out and the landlord themselves might have only just been notified that the building work has been completed as they don't live there. I would speak to the landlord and ask if you can split this month's extra £400 across the remaining tenancy term and then pay fully from January. But will all depend on the landlord and what they want Good luck



EyeExpert17/12/2019 07:15

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/subletting-and-lodging/subletting/subletting-your-home/



splender16/12/2019 22:38

Well spotted, though you highlighted a possible mistake by the OP.However, …Well spotted, though you highlighted a possible mistake by the OP.However, month in advance or arrears, the contractual term , "'£400pcm discount for any month that has building works " is unambiguous whether the payment term is in advance or arrears.



splender16/12/2019 16:53

The written term states: '£400pcm discount for any month that has building …The written term states: '£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the property'.Your pay date is : Our pay date for each month is 23rd, and they told us on 9th Dec (finished work).There is no definition of "month", namely, is it calendar month or payment month. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume by implication , rental month, especially if your contract use rental month as terms rather than calendar month.Therefore, I would put money on this, conclusively as written in your contract, you start paying the higher amount from 23rd or 1st (if in calendar month). There is no pro-rata terms mentioned. Therefore, "for any month" means exactly this. You are on rock solid ground, write to agent and remind the agents to use the agreed term as stated in the contract, unless the works had finished on the 22nd of the previous month and it took them until the 9th to remind you. There is no notice required nor is it relevant, unless added into the contract, both parties to the contract already had agreed: "£400pcm discount for any month that has building works at the property." Therefore, by inference, as a matter of fact, you pay £1600 in the month where there is no building work. If agent could produce evidence to show work had finished on the 22nd, then you have to pay the higher amount, the delay till 9th Dec is a matter of clerical reminder, the fact of the matter, as material fact, is the contract term.


Thanks to you all and to anyone I haven't cc'ed in here who posted, I spoke to my landlord and they've agreed to give me a 50% discount this month ie. pay £1400 instead of £1200 or £1600 either way.

Renting is such a massive pain, it honestly needs total digital disruption. The law is extremely ambiguous and neither landlord nor tenant are fully protected and from what I can see from my question and other forums, most cases just become arguing or bartering matches. Very weird.
MR112316/12/2019 19:39

I bet the works finished long ago and you kept quiet, I would do the same …I bet the works finished long ago and you kept quiet, I would do the same but asking for notice is pushing it. I would rather keep good relationship and watch out, only notice you might get is one that puts you out of a home.


Erudite16/12/2019 19:15

Unless you're in a hurry to have your tenancy terminated you'd best just …Unless you're in a hurry to have your tenancy terminated you'd best just pay it.It'll be cheaper in the long run.If your landlord or letting agent reads this thread you might be on your way out too.


Thanks for the comments, @Erudite there is no financial gain from paying more, perhaps a save of a headache but to pay more is statistically more, I won't get anything from paying more this month out of my future tenancy.

To both RE: being put out of a home, we have a 2 month notice in our tenancy so if they decide to hand it to us, we'll simply find somewhere else. The one benefit to renting is the flexibility to move.
Unfortunately 2 weeks is classed as fair notice. If your try and take it further they would state you knew the t&c and should of put money aside. It’s a shame it’s landed on the Christmas period side of things but unfortunately you will have to pay
ndyanem17/12/2019 16:56

Unfortunately 2 weeks is classed as fair notice. If your try and take it …Unfortunately 2 weeks is classed as fair notice. If your try and take it further they would state you knew the t&c and should of put money aside. It’s a shame it’s landed on the Christmas period side of things but unfortunately you will have to pay


If you're in the UK and have a standard agreement (AST) it's two months by the landlord and one month by the tenant outside of the initial agreed period. This from memory, correct me if I'm wrong !
jbecker17/12/2019 17:07

If you're in the UK and have a standard agreement (AST) it's two months by …If you're in the UK and have a standard agreement (AST) it's two months by the landlord and one month by the tenant outside of the initial agreed period. This from memory, correct me if I'm wrong !


Because it’s a gesture of goodwill to have a reduction on price and agreed it’s on there till building works are completed there isn’t really a leg to stand on.
Hope thousands of people will start building 2 million council houses at £100 per week or less. Then, extremely good for business in UK as 10 million people would have bags of money to spend which drives the non fixed assets economy.

The rent would come crashing down which slows down billions of pounds of cash going abroad for foreigners' and expats' pensions or their workers' union pension fund e.g. Canadian teachers' union pension trust, expat Aussies and Maoris, Singaporean State Provident funds..,etc.

e.g. if OP's rent were £400 per month, then he would have extra £1000 spending power per month extra, could easily offer a better send off for relatives, buy lots of flowers and wonderful wake parties.
Edited by: "splender" 17th Dec 2019
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