Are you able to write fines into a lodger contract for lost time?

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    Are you able to write fines into a lodger contract for lost time?

    Asking for a friend of mine. She lives with lodgers & struggles with inconsiderate behaviour. Rules are clear in contract but after settling in they all ignore rules, are given warnings & then evicted, cycle begins again with new lodger.

    No amount of vetting before hand seems to work, since everyone is on best behaviour until they move in. Everything is fine at the start but after the lodger becomes comfortable, that's when the problems start. The lodger begins to resent the rent they're paying "because I'm working hard to give the landlord free money". First comes the bad atmosphere they create, then blatant rule breaking such as wearing muddy shoes on carpets, slamming doors or leaving a mess in the bathroom or kitchen for her to clean up after them every day, taking drugs or having group sex in her home when they think she's out.

    The end result is frequent evictions & high turn-around of lodgers resulting in lost rent & time.

    If it happened once it wouldn't be such a big deal, but when it happens with 80% of people, it causes a large drain on time. Most new lodgers aren't interested in the room until it has been emptied & cleaned, and then it takes a month to find someone.

    As a means to putting off the rule breaking (and to have an effect to help her each time she has to waste time & energy dealing with it), can she write fines into the contract for rule breaking? e.g. £20 for slamming the door. £15 per hour each time she has to clean up communal areas after the lodger, with a minimum charge of £10. £50 for smoking + warning, and each time a lodger is evicted early due to aggressive behaviour or rule breaking, they have to leave within 1 week & any vacant period to find a replacement to take over is deducted from their deposit.

    #2
    You can write those into a contract (possibly with the exception of the notice period - unless rent is paid weekly).
    They may not be enforceable when push comes to shove, though.

    How many lodgers are there, because that seems an impossible number of bad lodgers.
    Has she considered putting the rent higher?
    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
      Most penalty clauses in contracts are unenforceable. That is particularly likely to be true for consumer contracts.

      Comment


        #4
        I think greater effort needs to be put into selecting people (it's not that hard)... or your friend is setting standards unreasonably high. Sounds as if the standards are OK as most of those things I would not tolerate in my own home.

        Is your friend living in a very scummy area - most people (or at least 80% of the population) are fundamentally decent. Perhaps only the 20% want to stay in the area? In which case lodgers are a non-starter.

        Comment


          #5
          As suggested, the idea very much smacks of penalties. It might possibly work if the contract also introduces fines for the landlord's breaches.

          Comment


            #6
            What's the fine for group sex?

            Comment


              #7
              I took paying guests for 15 years when younger with just one minor problem. The key was in judging their character before they moved in, setting good standards by example myself, and raising any issues early.
              Many prospects will scan the room/house and quickly say "yes". I'd then say I need to get to know them a little better before I made a decision as I had other applicants. My test was could I get on with them conversationally for 30 mins? This worked well for me.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                Most penalty clauses in contracts are unenforceable.
                If they refuse to pay the fine, she could enforce it by deducting it from their deposit.

                For those who get 3 warnings & are evicted, in line with the contract, the lost rent as a result of eviction would also be deducted from their deposit until a new lodger is found. Would that work legally?

                Comment


                  #9
                  I doubt any of the deposit schemes would go for that. On any part of it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    ExpertInAField what deposit scheme? Not a legal requirement to place deposit in a scheme for a licensee.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Living with strangers in your home can be very trying I did it for 4 years whilst in uni.
                      Make sure the lodgers are in full time employment and ask for a work ref on letter headed paper. Make it clear that there's to be no smoking, children, pets, overnight guests or drugs.
                      Is there a local business that takes on people from the EU? I'm in contact with one such business who send me young people who are, for the most part, excellent tenants. Perhaps she could put her advert in Polish as well as English.
                      bobwilson54 I've pm'd you.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by bobwilson54 View Post
                        For those who get 3 warnings & are evicted, in line with the contract, the lost rent as a result of eviction would also be deducted from their deposit until a new lodger is found. Would that work legally?
                        No.
                        The point about the clauses not being enforceable is that they're not legal.
                        You can, in a practical sense, take money from a deposit because it's in your control.
                        The point is that you shouldn't and, if the tenant sued for its return, it would be handed back (and you could face prosecution for theft by conversion, although that's very remote).
                        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


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                          ExpertInAField what deposit scheme? Not a legal requirement to place deposit in a scheme for a licensee.
                          You are absolutely right. I don't deal with lodgers so I had a momentary lapse of concentration and forgot that their deposits don't need securing.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It's January. Peak.time for lodgers after relationship breakdowns at Christmas.

                            I have a lodger moving into my house next week

                            https://www.spareroom.co.uk/12553126.

                            I'll let you know how bad it is.

                            I've shown a few people around.

                            Not many seemed to want it.

                            I had to.turn.one guy down as he wanted to.pay weekly, and couldn't raise the deposit.

                            The guy who is moving in, own a garage around the corner and I think we clicked.

                            I had previously spoken to.him about some issues with my car, and had planned to put some work his way on my car.


                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                              What's the fine for group sex?
                              1 rental period of monogamy only.

                              Comment

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