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  • Landlords in Distress

    Tenant asking for compensation

    Hello - can anyone advise please, new to rental (although we are using a letting company, so you would think they would help, but I am not sure they actually know what they are doing in this area!).

    The carbon emission alarm went off, so the tenant callout out British Gas who said there is a leak on the 6 month old boiler (under warranty, so is covered), so the gas was turned off overnight and the tenant chose to stay elsewhere (we did offer alternative portable heaters).

    Following day the letting companies gas engineer came out and charged £150 to look at the boiler (emergency charge) and said it needed replacement parts and the door looked like it had been tampered with (but can't prove this, so we are not taking this into account). The Boiler Company came out the same day and replace the parts needed and the seal, tenant was advised they could go back to the property that day but they chose NOT TO.

    So the problem is not that the tenant is asking for a full months compensation - we told them 'no chance', but we are still going back and forth and the letting agency has advised to offer them £100 as a gesture - which they are NOT willing to accept, they are asking for £150! FYI Rent is £550 a month.

    Can anyone advise what needs to be done in this situation? My concerns are that by paying compensation we are accepting responsibility and also setting a precedent for when things go wrong again (i.e. what if there was a flood in the house and they were out for a month!!!!!??????). Obviously, there is nothing in the contract and the letting agency are saying it is up to the tenant/landlord and not having much of a backbone sorting this out.

    Any advice much appreciated, thanks in advance, Amanda Smile

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    Dont give them a penny you offered portable heaters, provided it was in good time you've done your bit. The issue here is offering them compensation in the first place, they are just being greedy now.

    Regards

    Mike Smith

    Notts Relocate Ltd

    https://www.nottsrelocate.co.uk

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    Thanks Mike - I have just realised, I had typed 'NOT wanting a months compensation' instead of 'they NOW want a months compensation' and they have said they will seek legal advice too. So yes they are being greedy, sound like they don't know their rights too, and they are definitely not aware that a months rent rebate will stand us at around £800 (which broke down is £550 a months rent, £150 call out and 12% agency fees!).

    So them wanting a months rent back, they have been told 'no chance' and Mick has stuck with the £100, which from what I am reading is more than we need to do (this site is amazing, so much knowledge and experience, thank you all so much!) - I have advised Mick to stick with the £100 as recommended, this being a generous offer under our circumstances (although if I made the decision, it would be a non-renewal of their tenancy agreement because even now I feel this will be setting a precedent for future issues and like you are accepting the fault - again, the box looked to have been tampered - and they have said if they don't get £150 they will seek legal advice, which again (only in my opinion) I am now thinking what would they be like if they had had a flood or fire in this property when they had to be out for weeks??!!! How much would they want then??! Luckily for them though I don't get to make that sort of decision around here, so for now they will be staying, even though they are bonkers for suggesting they will take legal action - good luck to them though with that one, maybe they have been reading a book on 'how to wind up your landlord' haha!!!

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    I agree with Mike

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    Offering compensation on a “without prejudice” basis for the inconvenience is not an admission of liability. If the boiler was off overnight and was repaired promptly then you did everything you reasonably could. The tenant chose to stay elsewhere and did not have to. So you have no obligation to offer any compensation. I would suggest offering the £100 again and make clear that is all you are prepared to offer. If the tenant says no then that is up to them.

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    Hi Fryer

    I've been letting houses for 12 years and have had over 30 tenants which I manage myself and am still learning! Throughout this process, breakages, unforeseen events DOES happen for us and the tenants - and I have had those type of issues you mention in your post.

    From reading your post  - you have responded quickly, taken responsibility for fixing the issue, communicated well and taken advice from the agent. You have been more than reasonable. Unfortunately there are always people looking for a "Freebie" or taking advantage of a situation like a see here.  

    My advice is to get the letting agent (that's their job) to state to the tenant that you have taken reasonable measures to fix the problem and met your obligations within the AST. However as gesture of goodwill, given we in the season of goodwill you are willing to offer £100 compensation for the inconvenience caused and you hope you can agree this is a amicable solution.

    If the tenants don't accept that then  get the agent to ask them to break down how they arrive with One months rent as compensation and to provide any particulars of associated cots involved. If the tenants go this far ( I doubt they will!) - I would very politely get the agent to say you disagree with their evaluation of compensation and satisfied your obligations as  a landlord.

    Just my thoughts





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    You have done every thing to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. The fact that they decided not stay in the flat was their choice and offering £100 as a gesture is more then fair if not really necessary. I expect they are trying it on and be firm otherwise they see you as an easy touch should things go wrong in the future.- Don't open yourself up to this. Give them the offer of £100 as final settlement now and if they don't take it within 7 days withdrawal it . Just don't renew the rental contract with them when renewal comes up.

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    In the circumstances you describe, I wouldn't offer any compensation and would tell them the contract wont be renewed, if they continue with these expectations

    they will have you at their beck and call, its meant to be let and forget (ideally)


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    Chartered Accountant, FCA 34th year in public practice,

    BTL since 1992

    http://www.blythepropertyholdings.com

    Will it cost you more than what they are asking to find a new tenant as they will no doubt take the hump if you don’t and start looking elsewhere?

    Its not right but they clearly think their inconvenience is worth more than you were offering so will convince themselves they have been done over.

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    Depends if tenants have the necessary cash for 10 weeks rent upfront for next rental - plus maybe a rent increase - plus agent fees etc

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    All I am saying is it could be the beginning of the end for very little outlay in the grand scheme of things even though the immediate issue seems to have been dealt with very quickly and professionally.

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