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    • kelsall 13
    • By kelsall 13 14th Feb 18, 7:29 PM
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    kelsall 13
    Rent arrears due to hidden late charges
    • #1
    • 14th Feb 18, 7:29 PM
    Rent arrears due to hidden late charges 14th Feb 18 at 7:29 PM
    Hi All

    Posting on behalf of my girlfriend who has just had an eviction notice served on her, ending her tenancy in the middle of this April. This is ironically two months before we plan to move in together, which the letting agents knew as she only asked for a 6 month lease this year. They have never actually procured this 6 month lease and had her sign anything, since the last contract well over a year ago.

    The situation is that she has been living in this property for three years now with the full rent paid, by the end of the month, in two payments of DSS from the Council. The first payment at the start of the month and the second at the end of the month. This has never been a problem until now suddenly.

    We've just found out via the eviction notice that she is £1,860 in arrears, £550 of which we assume is this months rent, even though half has been paid by today. The left over amount is due to 13 months worth of 'Late Charges' on this previous contract. This is, as we found out on closer inspection, something which had been hidden in the contract last year stating payment should be made by the 10th, yet the contract was supposedly a roll over from the previous one.

    It's worth noting that multiple conversations have happened with the tenancy agents within these 13 months yet not once has it been mentioned that she is falling into arrears due to their hidden payments.

    She has spoken to the council about the payments and these dates are set and cannot be changed and they haven't changed once during the three year tenancy.

    Surely it is the obligation of the agency to inform us of these extra charges and also that they've been charging this extra for so long. She has never received an invoice or receipt of any payments, they can however 100% be accounted for. Naturally due to how they're paid not a payment has been missed either in the long run.

    Naturally she horrified that its suddenly been thrown up so close to moving in together as it will ravage the money I've saved to get her out of there. What would be the best course of action moving forward?

    Thanks for all your help!
    Daniel.

    EDIT: It's also worth noting she is looking after a 3 year old in the property.
    Last edited by kelsall 13; 14-02-2018 at 7:37 PM.
Page 1
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 14th Feb 18, 8:21 PM
    • 11,927 Posts
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    Pixie5740
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 18, 8:21 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Feb 18, 8:21 PM
    Hi All

    Posting on behalf of my girlfriend who has just had an eviction notice served on her, ending her tenancy in the middle of this April. This is ironically two months before we plan to move in together, which the letting agents knew as she only asked for a 6 month lease this year. They have never actually procured this 6 month lease and had her sign anything, since the last contract well over a year ago.

    The situation is that she has been living in this property for three years now with the full rent paid, by the end of the month, in two payments of DSS from the Council. The first payment at the start of the month and the second at the end of the month. This has never been a problem until now suddenly.

    We've just found out via the eviction notice that she is £1,860 in arrears, £550 of which we assume is this months rent, even though half has been paid by today. The left over amount is due to 13 months worth of 'Late Charges' on this previous contract. This is, as we found out on closer inspection, something which had been hidden in the contract last year stating payment should be made by the 10th, yet the contract was supposedly a roll over from the previous one.

    It's worth noting that multiple conversations have happened with the tenancy agents within these 13 months yet not once has it been mentioned that she is falling into arrears due to their hidden payments.

    She has spoken to the council about the payments and these dates are set and cannot be changed and they haven't changed once during the three year tenancy.

    Surely it is the obligation of the agency to inform us of these extra charges and also that they've been charging this extra for so long. She has never received an invoice or receipt of any payments, they can however 100% be accounted for. Naturally due to how they're paid not a payment has been missed either in the long run.

    Naturally she horrified that its suddenly been thrown up so close to moving in together as it will ravage the money I've saved to get her out of there. What would be the best course of action moving forward?

    Thanks for all your help!
    Daniel.

    EDIT: It's also worth noting she is looking after a 3 year old in the property.
    Originally posted by kelsall 13
    Whatever notice your girlfriend has been served with, Section 21 or Section 8, it does not end the tenancy as it is just notice the landlord might go to court to get a possession order.

    Rent is due on or before the date specified in the tenancy agreement. That is your girlfriend’s contractual obligation.

    What does the tenancy agreement say about charges for late payment of rent?

    Read G_M’s guide to Ending/Renewing an AST for further information.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 14th Feb 18, 9:00 PM
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    Cakeguts
    • #3
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:00 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:00 PM
    Are you sure that these late charges aren't actually the fact that the housing benefit doesn't cover the whole rent and she was supposed to make up the difference?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Feb 18, 9:16 PM
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    G_M
    • #4
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:16 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:16 PM
    Not what you want to hear but...
    Hi All

    ..... eviction notice served on her, ending her tenancy in the middle of this April.
    Was this a S21 Notice?
    Or a S8 Notice (for rent arrears)?
    Or a letter, or what?

    What exact date was it served?
    What exact date does it expire?

    ........two payments of DSS from the Council. The first payment at the start of the month and the second at the end of the month. This has never been a problem until now suddenly.
    Do these two payments add up to the exact monthly rent?
    What are thhe payments for?

    We've just found out via the eviction notice that she is £1,860 in arrears, £550 of which we assume is this months rent, even though half has been paid by today. The left over amount is due to 13 months worth of 'Late Charges' on this previous contract.
    OK - so you know what the arrears are for.

    This is, as we found out on closer inspection, something which had been hidden in the contract last year stating payment should be made by the 10th, yet the contract was supposedly a roll over from the previous one.
    Not clear. You say there was no new agreemant signed last year, so the tenanc became periodic. The terms, including date of rent payment, would be te same as before. Was that always the 10th?

    Or, if you did sign a new agreement, did yyou not read it and see the payment date had changed?

    It's worth noting that multiple conversations have happened with the tenancy agents within these 13 months yet not once has it been mentioned that she is falling into arrears due to their hidden payments. Irrelevant.

    She has spoken to the council about the payments and these dates are set and cannot be changed and they haven't changed once during the three year tenancy.
    Do you mean
    * the date rent is due, or
    * the date the two payments are received from the council?

    I'm not clear if the council is your landlord (council tenant?) or what the 2 payments are for.

    Surely it is the obligation of the agency to inform us of these extra charges
    No - it is the obligation of the tenant to pay the rent on time.

    If the late paymnent charges are written in the tenancy agreement, then the landlord did inform you.

    If they are not in the tenancy agreement, they cannot be charged.

    and also that they've been charging this extra for so long. She has never received an invoice or receipt of any payments, they can however 100% be accounted for.
    In that case they must be paid.
    Naturally due to how they're paid not a payment has been missed either in the long run.
    My undrstanding is that the full rent has been paid each month, but half (or some) of it has been paid late every month, yes?
    Naturally she horrified that its suddenly been thrown up so close to moving in together as it will ravage the money I've saved to get her out of there. What would be the best course of action moving forward?
    Ask the landdord (the council?) if they will kindly waive the late paymnent charges. If they refuse, then pay.

    EDIT: It's also worth noting she is looking after a 3 year old in the property.
    Originally posted by kelsall 13
    I'm not clear how that is worth noting. It makes no difference.
    • kelsall 13
    • By kelsall 13 14th Feb 18, 9:56 PM
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    kelsall 13
    • #5
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:56 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Feb 18, 9:56 PM
    Thanks for the responses.

    The notice is a section 21 and the notice is a 'Form 3 - Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy''

    The date it was served is 13/02/2018, Yesterday

    The court proceedings will not happen until after 28/02/2018

    Two separate housing benefit payments that add up to £450 and she makes up the other £100, always at the start of the month. £220 and £230 respectively.

    She couldn't say with 100% what the arrears are; we have assumed a deduction of one months rent then £1,310 = 13 no. £100 charges with a £10 admin fee - I'm seeing her tomorrow. I'll check what the exact payments are on the contract, if they're stated at all.

    The payment date has always been the 10th, there has never been a problem until yesterday. The clause was only written into the 'roll over' contract which was signed last year, only noticed after this sudden charge.

    The dates the payments are set - the council has confirmed this in writing with the letting agents when it was all set up three years ago.

    Another point she raised earlier following me posting this, the council had to block an unfair rise in the rent prior to the 'roll over' contract as they were trying to put the rent up. (probably why they wrote this in...)

    The full rent has always been paid without a missed payment, they just suddenly dropped this on her as you can imagine.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Feb 18, 10:12 PM
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    G_M
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 18, 10:12 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 18, 10:12 PM
    Thanks for the responses.

    The notice is a section 21 and the notice is a 'Form 3 - Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy''
    That sounds like the correct form.

    The date it was served is 13/02/2018, Yesterday

    The court proceedings will not happen until after 28/02/2018
    13/2/18 to 28/2/18 is not two calender months, so the notice is invalid.

    Two separate housing benefit payments that add up to £450 and she makes up the other £100, always at the start of the month. £220 and £230 respectively.
    So rent is £550 pm due on 10th?
    Council pays £220 at start of month.
    She pays £100 at start of month
    Council pays £230 at end of month
    Correct?

    So each month £230 is paid late.

    She couldn't say with 100% what the arrears are; we have assumed a deduction of one months rent then £1,310 = 13 no. £100 charges with a £10 admin fee - I'm seeing her tomorrow. I'll check what the exact payments are on the contract, if they're stated at all.
    You need to et a clear statement of how the arrears are made up.

    The payment date has always been the 10th, there has never been a problem until yesterday. The clause was only written into the 'roll over' contract which was signed last year, only noticed after this sudden charge.
    So last year a new contract was signed (the term 'roll over' suggested to me that NO new contract was signed and the original contract continued ie rolled over).

    Before the new contract last year, what date was rent due? You say "always been the 10th" bu then you imply this is a neew date "only writtten in... last year".

    The dates the payments are set - the council has confirmed this in writing with the letting agents when it was all set up three years ago.
    Irrelevant.
    Rent is due on whatever date the contract specifies. The date Benefits are paid is irrelevant.

    Another point she raised earlier following me posting this, the council had to block an unfair rise in the rent prior to the 'roll over' contract as they were trying to put the rent up. (probably why they wrote this in...)
    You'll need to clarify this. What kind of tenancy is it?
    The counccil has no power to 'block' a rent increase in a private AST tenancy. (though a Rent Assessment Committee may be able to under the
    Housing Act 1988 section 13)

    The full rent has always been paid without a missed payment, they just suddenly dropped this on her as you can imagine.
    Originally posted by kelsall 13
    Always paid, but always late.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 14th Feb 18, 10:38 PM
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    Cakeguts
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 18, 10:38 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 18, 10:38 PM
    If you signed a contract to say that you would pay the rent on for example the 10th of the month then that is the day that you have to pay the rent. On that day you have to pay all the rent not bits or parts of it unless there is an agreement written into the tenancy agreement that you can pay it later. What she has been doing is paying some of the rent later than the day she signed to say she would pay it? When she gets the money is none of the landlord's business. Her personal circumstances are none of the landlord's business.

    Imagine going to your local supermarket and telling them that you want to buy a loaf of bread but you can only pay for half of it that day and they will have to wait until the end of the month for you to pay the rest of the cost but in the meantime you are going to take it home and eat it.

    When you rent a house you are buying space to live in. When you get paid or get benefits doesn't alter when you have said you will pay for the place to live in.

    The rent has been paid late every month. If you want to avoid problems like this in the future make sure that the rent is paid on the day that it is due.
    • da_rule
    • By da_rule 14th Feb 18, 11:04 PM
    • 2,562 Posts
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    da_rule
    • #8
    • 14th Feb 18, 11:04 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Feb 18, 11:04 PM
    Just a point of clarification, in the original post the Op said that the date mentioned in the notice was mid-April but in his response to G_M he has said that it is late Feb. Which is it?
    • Asl77c
    • By Asl77c 14th Feb 18, 11:34 PM
    • 49 Posts
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    Asl77c
    • #9
    • 14th Feb 18, 11:34 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Feb 18, 11:34 PM
    I am just curious as to why this is talked about as being 'hidden' if it is in the contract she signed, its not exactly hidden. It is in black and white. If it isn't in the contract she signed surely it isn't enforceable and is not 'hidden' and is illegal.
    • Hippo
    • By Hippo 14th Feb 18, 11:57 PM
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    Hippo
    Charges weren't hidden, your GF merely didn't read the contract she signed.

    A S21 is merely an invite to leave. Will take at least 4 months to get an eviction notice, so I would expect to be evicted late August onwards
    • franklee
    • By franklee 15th Feb 18, 12:01 AM
    • 3,604 Posts
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    franklee
    The dates the payments are set - the council has confirmed this in writing with the letting agents when it was all set up three years ago.
    This might be relevant depending on what was confirmed. Did the letting agent agree to the variation on the payment schedule and is there any written evidence of that? Otherwise what was it that made your girlfriend think it had been agreed not to pay all the rent by the 10th? Really anything important like this should be confirmed in writing.

    It does seem odd the agent waited a year to raise the issue. I would expect them to raise late payments and charges as they happened. So I would be querying why they didn't raise it before. Agents are usually pretty hot at asking for money when they think it's due. It seems unfair to say nothing for 13 months and then charge 1,300 for the lot. That way a tenant under the mistaken belief a different payment schedule has been agreed can make good before running up a huge debt.

    Also £100 a month sounds excessive. I would expect it to be a modest admin fee and then possibly interest. If it's a penalty it may not be enforceable.

    This link is quite old so may not be up to date but you get the gist:

    http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2016/07/07/letting-agent-fees-illegal/

    "4. Late payment letter fees

    Here the law is quite clear. Agents (and landlords) will not be entitled to charge tenants for these unless they are authorised by the tenancy agreement.

    If the fee is authorised by the tenancy agreement then the enforceability of the clause will depend on whether it is 'fair'; or not under the unfair contract terms regulations, which are now part of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
    Modest fees which represent the actual cost of writing the letter will normally be allowed. However, landlords and their agents are not entitled to make a profit out of their tenant's impecuniosity.
    ".

    Also see comment by dsns here:

    https://www.propertytribes.com/how-to-deal-with-late-rent-payment-t-11761.html

    "dsns 16 Jul 2014 at 16:21
    Like Tessa I think you will find that the £50 late rent charge might be construed as a penalty and hence unenforceable. The interest charge is ok although 8% above base might be harder to sustain if base rates were to rise. The Court rate is fixed at 8%. There is nothing wrong with a charge for chaser letters as this represents an admin cost. The £50 though does not appear to be linked to an admin cost and so is more problematic.
    ".
    Last edited by franklee; 15-02-2018 at 12:11 AM.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 15th Feb 18, 7:06 AM
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    FBaby
    Two separate housing benefit payments that add up to £450 and she makes up the other £100, always at the start of the month. £220 and £230 respectively.
    Are you saying that her HB payments are every two weeks rather than monthly? Or when you say end of the month, do you mean that this is the following month's HB payment?

    It sounds like a bit of a coincidence that you've worked out the amount to be the same than what you say she is suppose to pay extra. Does the contract states that the penalty for late payment is £100?
    • kelsall 13
    • By kelsall 13 15th Feb 18, 2:03 PM
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    kelsall 13
    Apologies, I'm getting lost in all the comments - I'll try my best to answer them all;

    The eviction date is set on a date 2 months after the notice was served, the notice actually says that court proceedings will not begin until two weeks after the notice, on the 18th - I assume giving her two weeks to pay up or be taken to court.

    She is requesting a full breakdown from the agents today.

    No, a contract was originally signed when she moved in. No late fees were noted in it and it was for 12 months - this later ended up lasting 18 months before the new contract I mentioned arrived. She was under the assumption that the agency just wanted her to re-sign for another 12 months for 'security'. Nothing was mentioned regarding the amendments on anything other than the contract, which I believe is on page 36 of the 40 page document submitted to her. I'm still awaiting a copy of the document from her myself to have a read through.

    I believe the date was set as the 10th on the previous contract also but nothing was ever raised when her payment plan, which has never changed, was set up and maintained for the first 18 months.

    It was originally a private tenancy set up with her previous significant other, since they split she then had to rely on the DSS. This was pretty early into the tenancy, within a month or so I'm led to believe.

    Im not 100% how the rent increase was blocked. In January last year they forced her to pay yet another £1,200 for 'rent arrears' due to an increase in rent they never actually told her about. She panicked and paid it to them before she let me look over the documents they 'alleged' they had sent. I can't comment on why she paid in the first place however as I don't know the details, however, I do know they had never sent this letter explaining the rent increase. She also never signed anything stating she agreed to the said increase and arrears, she just paid. The second attempt at an increase came roughly 5 months after this payment and she phoned the council. From this point they never raised the overall cost due to 'unfairly raising the rent' I believe.

    franklee -

    She's awaiting all the documentation through from the council to see what was and wasn't agreed.
    This is what i'm most positive on pushing forward, they are fully aware of the dates and have only recently made it a problem by forcing this new clause in the new contract, knowing full well what dates the money is sent across.

    Again, I still haven't seen the contract - she should send it through today for me to look at. I'll post again when I get back from work. £100 pcm seems extremely excessive to me also, especially without notifying her.

    Thank you for those notices, I'll pass them on for her to read.

    FBaby -

    I don't quite know how the HB work, I've never actually claimed a penny in my life! I would've assumed there were two within the two weeks which land prior to the 10th deadline, as the council are paying and know the agreement after all...

    EDIT - I'm just in a whatsapp dialogue with her - she's given the contract over to a solicitor and is currently in their lobby. It does state that its a £100 late fee 'charge' though, her words. Would that be construed as an unfair 'penalty' and unenforceable, as Franklee noted?

    Thanks again for the help!
    Last edited by kelsall 13; 15-02-2018 at 2:06 PM.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 15th Feb 18, 2:15 PM
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    Comms69
    Apologies, I'm getting lost in all the comments - I'll try my best to answer them all;

    The eviction date is set on a date 2 months after the notice was served, the notice actually says that court proceedings will not begin until two weeks after the notice, on the 18th - I assume giving her two weeks to pay up or be taken to court. - It's 2 months. not 2 weeks!

    She is requesting a full breakdown from the agents today.

    No, a contract was originally signed when she moved in. No late fees were noted in it and it was for 12 months - this later ended up lasting 18 months before the new contract I mentioned arrived. She was under the assumption that the agency just wanted her to re-sign for another 12 months for 'security'. Nothing was mentioned regarding the amendments on anything other than the contract, which I believe is on page 36 of the 40 page document submitted to her. I'm still awaiting a copy of the document from her myself to have a read through.

    I believe the date was set as the 10th on the previous contract also but nothing was ever raised when her payment plan, which has never changed, was set up and maintained for the first 18 months.

    It was originally a private tenancy set up with her previous significant other, since they split she then had to rely on the DSS. This was pretty early into the tenancy, within a month or so I'm led to believe.

    Im not 100% how the rent increase was blocked. In January last year they forced her to pay yet another £1,200 for 'rent arrears' due to an increase in rent they never actually told her about. She panicked and paid it to them before she let me look over the documents they 'alleged' they had sent. I can't comment on why she paid in the first place however as I don't know the details, however, I do know they had never sent this letter explaining the rent increase. She also never signed anything stating she agreed to the said increase and arrears, she just paid. The second attempt at an increase came roughly 5 months after this payment and she phoned the council. From this point they never raised the overall cost due to 'unfairly raising the rent' I believe.

    franklee -

    She's awaiting all the documentation through from the council to see what was and wasn't agreed.
    This is what i'm most positive on pushing forward, they are fully aware of the dates and have only recently made it a problem by forcing this new clause in the new contract, knowing full well what dates the money is sent across.

    Again, I still haven't seen the contract - she should send it through today for me to look at. I'll post again when I get back from work. £100 pcm seems extremely excessive to me also, especially without notifying her.

    Thank you for those notices, I'll pass them on for her to read.

    FBaby -

    I don't quite know how the HB work, I've never actually claimed a penny in my life! I would've assumed there were two within the two weeks which land prior to the 10th deadline, as the council are paying and know the agreement after all...

    EDIT - I'm just in a whatsapp dialogue with her - she's given the contract over to a solicitor and is currently in their lobby. It does state that its a £100 late fee 'charge' though, her words. Would that be construed as an unfair 'penalty' and unenforceable, as Franklee noted?

    Thanks again for the help!
    Originally posted by kelsall 13
    In anycase, s.21 requires no fault, so she will eventually be evicted. So perhaps it's a good opportunity to move in together and put this behind her.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 15th Feb 18, 4:32 PM
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    G_M
    This is still unclear.

    For proper advice you need to be very precise!
    The eviction date is set on a date 2 months after the notice was served, the notice actually says that court proceedings will not begin until two weeks after the notice, on the 18th - I assume giving her two weeks to pay up or be taken to court.
    Please give the EXACT DATES:
    1) it was served
    2) it expires

    Expiry should be at least 2 months later.

    The 2 weeks sounds like an extra grace period, but this is not clear.


    She is requesting a full breakdown from the agents today.
    Please let us know.
    * how much is actul arrears and for what period(s)?
    * how much is fees for late payment?

    No, a contract was originally signed when she moved in. No late fees were noted in it
    Do mean the contract did not include late fees, or she did not note (see) them?
    and it was for 12 months - this later ended up lasting 18 months before the new contract I mentioned arrived. She was under the assumption that the agency just wanted her to re-sign for another 12 months for 'security'.
    Yes but did she actually sign it? If so, the original contract becomes irrelevant.

    Nothing was mentioned regarding the amendments on anything other than the contract, which I believe is on page 36 of the 40 page document submitted to her. I'm still awaiting a copy of the document from her myself to have a read through.
    So the fees were in the contract which (I think) see signed.

    I believe the date was set as the 10th on the previous contract also but nothing was ever raised when her payment plan, which has never changed, was set up and maintained for the first 18 months.
    Assuming she signed this 2nd contract, what was the payment date within it? The date in the 1st contract became irrelevant as soon as she signed the 2nd.

    It was originally a private tenancy set up with her previous significant other, since they split she then had to rely on the DSS. This was pretty early into the tenancy, within a month or so I'm led to believe.
    Who is named as the tenant on the 2nd contract (assuming she signed it)? Hers only, or hers plus ex-partner?

    Im not 100% how the rent increase was blocked.
    so a mystery......
    In January last year they forced her to pay yet another £1,200 for 'rent arrears' due to an increase in rent they never actually told her about. She panicked and paid it to them before she let me look over the documents they 'alleged' they had sent. I can't comment on why she paid in the first place however as I don't know the details, however, I do know they had never sent this letter explaining the rent increase. She also never signed anything stating she agreed to the said increase and arrears, she just paid.
    Having ad this, did she then eiter
    * claim it ack or
    * deduct it from future payments
    since you say the rent increase on which these arrears were based was 'blocked'?

    Might the current arrears be related to this 'blocked' rent increase? too?

    If so, the question of how the increase was introduced, and then 'blocked' might become highly relevant.

    The second attempt at an increase came roughly 5 months after this payment and she phoned the council. From this point they never raised the overall cost due to 'unfairly raising the rent' I believe.

    I don't unerstand
    1) the council has no say about private rent increases
    2) was this 2nd 'attempt' successful or not? How was it implemented?
    3) or did she get a written stattement that the rent increase was not tto be implemeted? When? From who?

    franklee -

    She's awaiting all the documentation through from the council to see what was and wasn't agreed.
    ????
    What has the council got to do with the tenancy?
    I understood this tto be a private tenancy managed by an agency.
    Is this not the case?
    Is this a council tenancy?

    This is what i'm most positive on pushing forward, they are fully aware of the dates and have only recently made it a problem by forcing this new clause in the new contract, knowing full well what dates the money is sent across.
    I think you had better check who the landlord is!
    Council?
    Private individual?
    Company?
    It will be named on the tenancy agreement.


    ...

    I don't quite know how the HB work, I've never actually claimed a penny in my life! I would've assumed there were two within the two weeks which land prior to the 10th deadline, as the council are paying and know the agreement after all...

    EDIT - I'm just in a whatsapp dialogue with her - she's given the contract over to a solicitor and is currently in their lobby. It does state that its a £100 late fee 'charge' though, her words. Would that be construed as an unfair 'penalty' and unenforceable, as Franklee noted?

    Thanks again for the help!
    Originally posted by kelsall 13
    If there was, say, a £10 late payment fee in the contract, and she paid late on 10 consecutive months, that would = £100
    • Annie35
    • By Annie35 15th Feb 18, 4:52 PM
    • 214 Posts
    • 184 Thanks
    Annie35
    Is it that the agency increased the rent but the council said 'no' to more hb? & gf assumed increase had been blocked but this is actually the arrears?
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 15th Feb 18, 5:02 PM
    • 37,087 Posts
    • 156,237 Thanks
    silvercar
    It was originally a private tenancy set up with her previous significant other, since they split she then had to rely on the DSS. This was pretty early into the tenancy, within a month or so I'm led to believe.
    Sounds like she relied on the DSS to such an extent that she just paid over the HB she received without ensuring it was enough to pay the rent in full or making sure it was with the landlord or agent on the date agreed in the tenancy.

    Old HB used to be paid fortnightly in arrears, current LHA is paid 4 weekly but still in arrears. Relying on both with no input yourself risks running up a shortfall and being late paying every single month.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 15th Feb 18, 5:10 PM
    • 43,765 Posts
    • 51,723 Thanks
    G_M
    Is it that the agency increased the rent but the council said 'no' to more hb? & gf assumed increase had been blocked but this is actually the arrears?
    Originally posted by Annie35

    Sounds like she relied on the DSS to such an extent that she just paid over the HB she received without ensuring it was enough to pay the rent in full or making sure it was with the landlord or agent on the date agreed in the tenancy.
    seems increasingly likely.

    And talking to the council is a wase of time if the tenancy is a private one.
    • kelsall 13
    • By kelsall 13 15th Feb 18, 7:45 PM
    • 12 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    kelsall 13
    Hi again all

    No the fee is 100% an accumulation of 13 late payments and this months rent of £550.00 - over half of this has already been paid however. This was confirmed via phone call earlier, we're still awaiting the written charge break down.

    Nothing has been sent through regarding increased rent payments, it was just a phone call. The latest documentation detailing the rent is that it is set at £550.00. She has now confirmed that because she was still under contract for another 5 months at that point they couldn't put the price up.

    The date was set at the 10th, as I've said previously.

    So what I do know now is that the actual chargeable sum will be £1,310 - the £550 will be removed from this months rent and the agency has agreed to not charge late fees until the termination in April.

    Moving forward I have consulted the OFT356 and this £1,310 is construed as an excessive penalty in my eyes, regardless of how it was pre-estimated. Once I've received a response from the tenancy agency with a full breakdown of the figure I may be stand corrected

    It is as follows;

    Group 5: Financial penalties

    !!!8211; paragraph 1(e) of Schedule 2

    3.44 Schedule 2, paragraph 1,
    states that terms may be unfair if they have the object or effect of:
    (e) requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his disproportionately high sum in compensation.

    3.45 It is unfair to impose excessive sanctions for a breach of contract. A term that requires the tenant to pay more in compensation for a breach than a reasonable pre-estimate of the loss caused to the landlord is likely to be void as a penalty under common law. Other types of excessive sanction are considered in Chapter 4, Group 18(c).

    3.46
    We regard a requirement to pay unreasonable interest on arrears of rent, at a rate substantially above the clearing banks' base rates, as an unfair penalty. We regard the imposition of a fixed daily or monthly charge for overdue rent, and regardless of the amount due or the surrounding circumstances, as being penal rather than compensatory in nature, and unfair. Tenants would have to pay more than the cost of making up the deficit caused by their default.

    Group 18(c): Unfair enforcement powers

    4.15 We consider there is an unfair imbalance in a contract if it gives one party
    the power to impose disproportionately severe penalties on the other, or if it
    misleadingly threatens sanctions over and above those that can actually be
    imposed. See also our views about financial penalties in Group 5.39

    I've also been consulting other people which gave me this advice. They state that the penalty is hard to enforce in a court as the figure was obviously an estimate written into the contract. Again all I can say is we will know more when the agency finally reply to me.

    Thoughts?
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 16th Feb 18, 5:27 AM
    • 5,275 Posts
    • 7,408 Thanks
    deannatrois
    What did the solicitor say? I assume she was seeing a solicitor about her rent situation?
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