Question about adding court costs to rent

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    Question about adding court costs to rent

    I recently took a tenant to court and I was awarded costs against him. However, he refuses to pay them. I would like to add them to his rent but I'm not sure if this is legal.

    Can anyone tell me if there is anything in housing legislation that tells you what a landlord is allowed to add to rent? If anyone can state the exact Act of Parliament, section, etc, that would be even more helpful. Thanks

    #2
    You charge your tenant rent.
    How you calculate it is up to you and the market.

    If the tenant is in their fixed term, you can't change the rent without their consent.
    If the tenancy is periodic, you can set the rent to a new level with a section 13 notice.
    If the tenant doesn't agree with the new figure, they can challenge it at a rent tribunal - otherwise, they either pay it or it becomes rental arrears.

    If your tenant doesn't pay the money they owe you, you can sue them for the costs.
    If a tenant owed my legal fees I would evict them.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      You can't change their rent -- that's for sure.

      However if I am on a phone contract, and have to pay a penalty (as I recently did) for allowing my Direct Debit to bounce, the next payment to them takes, in the first instance, the money owed. In general invoices are paid on a First In First Out (FIFO) basis so you could apply any payment to the legal costs first and issue a partial payment receipt for rent. Not sure that will help you much however as the basic principle may not be accepted as part of S8 eviction.

      Sue them again.

      Comment


        #4
        You can't be charged a penalty fee in the UK - they're not legal.
        You can be charged "admin" fees that you have agreed to when you signed a contract (knowing a mobile phone contract it's probably paragraph 3006.7).

        Unless a tenant has agreed to have charges taken from their rent, there's no way to convert their rental payment into a debt payment without their agreement.

        To take money by direct debit it can only be for the purpose(s) against which the mandate was raised.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Yes its not a penalty - bad choice of word. It is however an amount T owes to L by virtue of a court decision, and presumably relates to the contract.

          Yes I take your point about Direct Debits which have a purpose related guarantee but Tenants pretty much never pay by DD. They might pay by standing order though -- which is no different to T giving L a bunch of cash. Standing orders (like manual direct payments) do not have a stated purpose -- a standing order is just an automated version of the latter.

          In a similar vein a tenant cannot skip rent for March and then pay rent in April and retrospectively claim that the outstanding money is from March and that the payment was "for" April (let's suppose for some 6 year rule). Payment is NOT payment of blocks of rent "for" a month unless explicitly stated so - it is a payment to clear a debt which just happens to increment monthly.

          Comment


            #6
            A few questions come to mind.

            Why was the tenant taken to court in the first place?
            (And why are they still paying rent and not evicted if you had to take them to court?)

            Did the court award any penalty payment, and if so how is T paying that, because costs would be included in recovery of that.

            Comment


              #7
              There is also the general principle that, absent any prior agreement to the contrary, if a debtor owes money on two or more accounts any money he tenders has to be applied to the account for which he tendered it.

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you all for taking the time to advise me on this. However, I still need an answer to my question: which actual law states what a landlord is allowed to add to the rent? There must be some section of one of the Housing Acts that actually gives chapter and verse on this, but I can't find it. Can anyone tell me what it is please?

                As to why I took my tenant to court, it was to get an ASB injunction. I think he'll be OK now, but there's just this problem of the court costs.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There is no law that says what a landlord can add to the rent.
                  You can set the rent as in post #2, but you can't add or collect anything else without the tenant's consent.

                  That's why you can't find anything.

                  You will need to go back to court (I suspect) to enforce the award of the costs.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment

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