Is it even legal to reduce rent?

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    Is it even legal to reduce rent?

    I keep hearing suggestions that landlords might like to consider reducing the rents that have previously been contractually agreed upon.

    Because of the Tenant fees ban, wouldn't this be in breach of regulations?
    As I understood it, landlords who charge a higher rent & then reduce it at a later date would be in breach of this as the higher initial rents are deemed to be an attempt to get around the tenant fees ban.

    Also, any reduction in rent would for most landlords mean they'd be breaching the new 5 week deposit cap legislation as the deposit would then be more than 5 weeks worth of rent.

    Now, rules are rules & laws are laws. So although some would say yeah but common sense should prevail, everyone's common sense is different common sense which is the whole reason for having rules & laws.

    Would a new tenancy have to be put in place? This could be tricky considering social distancing, isolating, shielding etc & expensive for those that use lettings agents.

    Should landlords be very careful that their generosity doesn't make them criminals?

    #2
    The Tenant Fees Act allows a reduction in rent "by agreement between the landlord and the tenant after the tenancy agreement has been entered into."
    So it would prevent an agreement that set rent at a rate and then reduced it to "hide" a deposit, but allow a change in circumstances after the start of the tenancy as long as both the landlord and tenant agree.

    Your general point is sound, though, expecting common sense to prevail isn't a good idea.
    English and Welsh Law is pretty unforgiving, and common sense is (hopefully) going to look different a few months from now when people are actually in court.
    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).

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      #3
      So unless a new contract is made it is indeed illegal to reduce rent due to the tenant fee ban & also the deposit cap?

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        #4
        No.

        An agreement doesn't require a new tenancy agreement. It just has to be an agreement of some kind (which, from a legal point of view is probably a contract - but that doesn't need to be in any particular format).

        If the rent is reduced, the maximum deposit allowed is also reduced, so any difference should be returned to the tenant. Again, that should be documented, so the tenant can't ask for the money back again, but no new tenancy agreement is needed.
        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).

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          #5
          Thanks jpkeates for your replies.

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