PDA

View Full Version : Renumeration for work done



walter01
21-09-2011, 20:57 PM
Hi looking for a bit of advice. Here's the story so far...

Tenant has been in house for almost 3 years, on 6 or 12 month fixed term tenancies and since May on a periodic tenancy. Following my telling her I was getting the house valued, she gave 1 months notice to quit. However, she gave this on 8th September and not in line with rent payment dates as I was under the impresssion she had to do. The rent is paid on 1st of each month.

During the time in the house she has looked after it and made changes sometimes with consent others without my knowledge. Now she is demanding that we pay for these changes- a cheap kitchen that she claims cost £1000; laminate wooden flooring claims cost £800; cheap basic doors, removed original 1930s without knowledge; carpet in 2 bedroom without knowledge.

She is a month in arrears £625. A deposit is held by the agent of £800.

Suppose what I want to know is
Does she have to pay rent up to end of October? Can I legally demand that payment?
Should she be given her deposit back in view of rent arrears/improvements made.

All advice suggestions gratefully received.
Many thanks

westminster
21-09-2011, 23:24 PM
Tenant has been in house for almost 3 years, on 6 or 12 month fixed term tenancies and since May on a periodic tenancy. Following my telling her I was getting the house valued, she gave 1 months notice to quit. However, she gave this on 8th September and not in line with rent payment dates as I was under the impresssion she had to do. The rent is paid on 1st of each month.
In a periodic tenancy, T must give at least one month's notice and it must also expire at the end of a tenancy period. The tenancy periods begin the day after the fixed term expires, and their length is based on the frequency with which rent is payable, not the rent due date. e.g. If the fixed term ran 15th Jan 2010 to 14th Jan 2011, with rent payable monthly on the 1st of the month, the tenancy periods would run 15th - 14th as from 15th Jan 2011, and T's notice would have to expire on the 14th [mm/yy].


During the time in the house she has looked after it and made changes sometimes with consent others without my knowledge. Now she is demanding that we pay for these changes- a cheap kitchen that she claims cost £1000; laminate wooden flooring claims cost £800; cheap basic doors, removed original 1930s without knowledge; carpet in 2 bedroom without knowledge.
Unless you agreed to reimburse for the approved changes, then you have no liability to reimburse. Any alterations made without your knowledge or consent may comprise damage, for which you would be entitled to seek the cost of repair or reinstatement (but you'd need proof of what was there originally, ideally in the form of a check-in inventory/condition report).


She is a month in arrears £625. A deposit is held by the agent of £800.

Suppose what I want to know is
Does she have to pay rent up to end of October? Can I legally demand that payment?
Should she be given her deposit back in view of rent arrears/improvements made.
I would certainly not agree to return the deposit till the tenancy has ended and you have assessed your full losses.

Please tell us:
Is this an AST in England/Wales?
What date did the last fixed term commence? (dd/mm/yy)
What was the length of term and did the contract specify an 'end' date?
Is rent payable monthly?
What date did the T serve notice, and did she do so in writing?
What date does her notice expire?
Is the deposit protected by a scheme?
Did you have an inventory/condition report conducted at check-in back in 2008?
Is the T working?

walter01
22-09-2011, 09:04 AM
Hi thanks for your responses.

The tenancy is in England and AST. The last fixed term was for 12 months and commenced 01.05.10. It stated that the tenancy expired on 30.04.11. I advised her that she was then going to be on a statutory periodic tenancy from 01.05.11. The rent is paid monthly on the first of each month.
She gave notice on 8th September, firstly by text then in writing. She states her notice expires on 8th October. However I dispute this.
Her deposit is held by an agent in a scheme.
An inventory was made in 2008.
She is self employed, with a partner who works but he's not on the tenancy agreement.

Lawcruncher
22-09-2011, 09:20 AM
You have two choices:

1. You accept the notice as valid in which case you are not entitled to rent beyond the date the notice expires.

2. You tell the tenant the notice is invalid, in which case the tenancy continues and you are entitled to rent.

What you cannot do is to accept the notice and demand rent up to the date the notice would have expired if correct.

I agree that the tenant has no claim for her improvements unless you agreed to compensate her for them.

westminster
22-09-2011, 10:20 AM
The last fixed term was for 12 months and commenced 01.05.10. It stated that the tenancy expired on 30.04.11. I advised her that she was then going to be on a statutory periodic tenancy from 01.05.11. The rent is paid monthly on the first of each month.
She gave notice on 8th September, firstly by text then in writing. She states her notice expires on 8th October. However I dispute this.
You are entitled to dispute it; T's notice should have expired on 31st October 2011 (because in this case the tenancy periods run 1st - last day of the month) and yes, you're entitled to rent up to 31st October. Take note of lawcruncher's comment above, however; you must inform T that you do not accept her notice expiring on 8th October (preferably in writing) and that the earliest it can expire is 31st October.


Her deposit is held by an agent in a scheme.
An inventory was made in 2008.
She is self employed, with a partner who works but he's not on the tenancy agreement.
From what you describe of the unauthorized alterations, your losses (i.e. unpaid rent plus cost of repairs/reinstatement of alterations) will exceed the deposit amount. This being the case, and assuming T disputes your claims (seems likely when she's expecting you to pay her!) I recommend you bypass deposit scheme ADR (it's not compulsory) and claim in the county court for your full losses; that is, once you've assessed the exact amount and given T a break-down of your losses in a letter before action. The agent will have to lodge the deposit with the scheme pending the court's judgment.

The claim will be allocated to the small claims track (assuming it's less than £5,000) where court fees are low and you don't need a solicitor. You may, however, find it helpful to buy or borrow a book on the small claims procedure.

MrJohnnyB
22-09-2011, 10:28 AM
From what you describe of the unauthorized alterations, your losses (i.e. unpaid rent plus cost of repairs/reinstatement of alterations) will exceed the deposit amount. This being the case, and assuming T disputes your claims (seems likely when she's expecting you to pay her!) I recommend you bypass deposit scheme ADR (it's not compulsory) and claim in the county court for your full losses; that is, once you've assessed the exact amount and given T a break-down of your losses in a letter before action. The agent will have to lodge the deposit with the scheme pending the court's judgment.

If the changes do not affect the lettability or market price of the property I do not think you can require the tenant to pay to restore it to an as let condition because there is no loss in the diminution of the value of the reversion.

westminster
22-09-2011, 10:37 AM
If the changes do not affect the lettability or market price of the property I do not think you can require the tenant to pay to restore it to an as let condition because there is no loss in the diminution of the value of the reversion.
That will be for the court to decide, but if original period doors are replaced with cheap modern ones then it's likely to have an adverse effect on the appeal/value of the property.

MrJohnnyB
22-09-2011, 12:13 PM
That will be for the court to decide, but if original period doors are replaced with cheap modern ones then it's likely to have an adverse effect on the appeal/value of the property.

completely agree as this would be a proveable diminution!

walter01
26-09-2011, 09:52 AM
Hi
a question for experienced landlords. What is considered a fair % of costs to pay a vacating tenant for work they have made to property? She has been in the house for 3 years.

My tenant is leaving has done some work which she claims cost £1800. No receipts to show this is true. She is in arrears of 625 and I suspect she won't pay her final rent next month.

I want to be fair to her but not get ripped off also!
Many thanks

sparkie
26-09-2011, 09:57 AM
No receipts?? for £1800 squids worth of work??

Can she substantiate, b/c I always require a receipt, even if its £1.50 for a lightbulb!

theartfullodger
26-09-2011, 10:18 AM
Did you agree to the work being done, in advance, and that you would pay?? If not nope, and you'd be entitled to get her to pay for things to be put-back as they were..


(eg T "improves" kitchen cabinets by installing nice flash IKEA stuff, but without LL's agreement or approval. Cabinets no long match rest of kitchen, although IKEA stuff looks nice. I think LL can charge T for ripping out IKEA & re-installing (if still available..) original B&Q s**te..)

walter01
26-09-2011, 10:20 AM
Yes I can see where she spent the money, kitchen and laminate flooring for hall and liv room. However I dont think it was as much as she saying. Also it has been her choice to replace as the kitchen and flooring were fine.

tacpot
26-09-2011, 10:24 AM
If the work can be substantiated as having cost £1800, and you agreed to the works in terms of scope and quality, then you should probably be looking to pay between a third and two thirds depending on when they did the work and how long you thing their work will last you.

I would expect to see receipts for the major items - if the work was done by a contractor and the invoce misplaced, the contractor may be prepared to supply a copy or covering letter.

walter01
26-09-2011, 10:25 AM
I didn't agree to pay anything as it was for her own comfort/choice. What she removed was fine. However I do want to be fair to her and also avoid finding a house that has been stripped. :0(

Ericthelobster
26-09-2011, 10:30 AM
I do want to be fair to her and also avoid finding a house that has been stripped.If she wants to remove her flooring (out of spite because you declined to pay), she'd need to reinstate the old stuff or equivalent thereof, or she'd be liable for the cost of making good.

All of which just goes to show - letting tenants do their own work on the property or fund it is never a good idea...

walter01
26-09-2011, 10:34 AM
Beginning to realise that now...

theartfullodger
26-09-2011, 10:48 AM
And she wants a reference??

midlandslandlord
26-09-2011, 11:17 AM
Logically, as I see it...

a - Arguably you could restrict payment to that part of the work which is of value to you, or - as argued - insist on reinstatement (or cost of it).

b - Then you could go on demonstrated receipted cost, or even cost for which you could have had it done, and depreciate in line with normal rates. eg If T installed kitchen more than 5 years ago, it's worth nothing. See recovery of deposit for damages if it was *your* kitchen.

In practice it's worth the extra work to make sure it's a win-win when the work is done, and that needs to be justified.

I tend to say no for major stuff if it is a short term tenancy (or you estimate to be a short term tenancy). A useful working definition of "long term" for each piece of work is "how long do I have to wait to not pay any money back on normal depreciation rules ;-)."

OTOH if you allow it, they are more likely to stay and make it long term. I like long-term tenancies, so I'm willing to do that. Each time I tend to put it in writing and get a co-signed copy of the letter.

In your situation for each element I'd:

1 - take a careful check to make sure that the costs are about right
2 - depreciate that number based on when it was done
3 - take into account if it was done to reasonable standards, and the condition,

and have a horse-trade around that figure. Arguing that 1-3 are objective criteria helps stay friends.

ML

walter01
26-09-2011, 13:17 PM
Thanks for all your help guys.

Can I just ask what is the average % per year to be taken off for depreciation?

Thanks

midlandslandlord
26-09-2011, 14:18 PM
Um. I can't find a well-known list.

And they vary by item :-).

Perhaps other members have an opinion.

ML

Lawcruncher
26-09-2011, 16:42 PM
Where a tenant of residential property carries out improvements, whether with or without the landlord's consent, there is no obligation on the landlord to pay compensation unless the landlord agreed to do so.

As soon as something is fixed to a property it becomes part of the property. The range of fixtures a residential tenant is entitled to remove is quite limited. It certainly does not extend to laminate flooring. If new kitchen fittings has been installed whether the tenant can remove them depends on whether doing so will damage the property. In practice if she did remove the fittings she cannot of course leave the property without any.

tlangdon12
27-09-2011, 11:06 AM
In an house that is occupied by its owner, fixtures & fittings can last many tens of years. But in tenanted properties, five years might be all you get from items like light switches, kitchen cabinets, laminated flooring, etc. So I would suggest 20% depreciation per annum, or maybe 15% if you feeling generous.

One indicator you could use is how much wear and tear is evident from the tenant's own use. If there is little evidence of wear, you can probably afford to pay the tenant a bit more.

Let us know what you agree with your tenant as this information helps others in the same situation.

Lawcruncher
27-09-2011, 17:41 PM
In an house that is occupied by its owner, fixtures & fittings can last many tens of years. But in tenanted properties, five years might be all you get from items like light switches, kitchen cabinets, laminated flooring, etc. So I would suggest 20% depreciation per annum, or maybe 15% if you feeling generous.

One indicator you could use is how much wear and tear is evident from the tenant's own use. If there is little evidence of wear, you can probably afford to pay the tenant a bit more.

Let us know what you agree with your tenant as this information helps others in the same situation.

With respect none of this is relevant if the landlord is under no obligation to compensate the tenant. Please see my previous post.

midlandslandlord
27-09-2011, 18:20 PM
With respect none of this is relevant if the landlord is under no obligation to compensate the tenant. Please see my previous post.

LL might be a generous LL who deems them to be relevant :-).

ML

westminster
28-09-2011, 13:32 PM
Moderator: please merge with OP's previous thread on the same topic:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?41568-Vacating-Tenant-Demands