Compensation from Tenants

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    Compensation from Tenants

    Greetings
    I have been a LL for some time. My tenants have been great for the last 3 years, very polite and nice.
    They are leaving now and I have put my property on the rental market.
    But they are refusing to allow prospective tenants in-person viewings due to covid fears. The clause is mentioned in the tenancy agreement to allow access to the property for buyers and next tenants.

    I have assured them that people will be wearing gloves and masks and will use hand sanitisers before entering the property.
    I have warned them through emails, multiple times so far, reminding them of their legal obligation and breach of contract. I have also told them that I will be deducting from deposit to make good for the loss of revenue and my fixed costs in letting out the property. They have not responded to these warnings. Does this mean they accept the deductions?

    Does any LL here have a success story, where they could put a deposit dispute and claim rent loss and other fixed costs due to refusal for viewings?

    Thanks


    #2
    The tenants have every right to prevent viewings or any access to the property.

    Your chances of success are remote to none of obtaining any funds due to any void you may have.

    What you are about to do is leave in your own words, Great tenants, with a poor opinion of landlords. Respect their choice, its an extremely reasonable one. Go back and be humble.

    Comment


      #3
      I don't think you would succeed in any claim for compensation for declining to allow viewings, even if it is a contractual breach.
      You won't be able to show an actual and reasonably foreseeable loss arising from the breach.

      You can claim that there must have been some lost rent, but you won't be able to prove it.
      It's a claim for consequential loss, and they're quite tricky in themselves.

      The scheme adjudicator will (and probably should) decline to adjudicate on the issue because it's outside their competence.

      The tenant has an implicit right to exclude people from the tenancy along with a right to quiet enjoyment (and there's a plague happening) - the now deprecated OFT guidance to unfair terms in tenancy agreements suggested that "excessive" requests for access for prospective tenants would be unfair.
      In a pandemic, it could be argued that any such requests are "excessive".
      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


        #4
        The words that come to mind are flogging, dead, and horse.

        No deposit scheme adjudication is going to find in your favour.
        The clause is unreaaonable in the face of covid.

        Comment


          #5
          claiming loss of revenue - thats never going to be paid.

          Surely as a LL you budget for "gaps" between tenants?

          Comment


            #6
            As above, absolutely, surprised you even asked. Especially during covid. It's their home, their property, whilst there's a tenancy: Even if not paying the rent!
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for your inputs and opinions. I get the morality and all, and about covid fears- people are there on both the spectrum, not afraid of it and carrying on with their lives and some others wearing two masks. What I am asking is from a legal point of view. Do I have a legal leg to stand on, if I go to court for the breach of agreement?
              I m not sure what will it constitute and how much will it cost?

              Surely I should be able to have recourse for the loss of rent due to access being denied to my property.

              Thanks

              Comment


                #8
                No, you do not have a legal leg to stand on.

                Comment


                  #9
                  For starters you'd have to prove beyond doubt that you WOULD HAVE let it out had you shown people round, in order to show any kind of claim for loss of revenue. You won't be able to do that.

                  Also say what you want about legal wording etc in a contract that was thought up before a global pandemic, but a court would look at what's reasonable and, sorry, but you're not reasonable at all.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It may be your property but it is their home. They have been "great" and "very polite and nice". Why on earth would you treat them like this when they have a perfectly valid reason to refuse viewings? I do not blame them for not responding.
                    Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                    Comment


                      #11
                      While I understand why you want to do it I would not do it. When I had tenants leaving I waited till they vacated until showing the house. Yes I ended up with a void period but that felt like the right thing to do in these circumstances.

                      While I have no legal training I would have thought you will struggle to get the DPS to even entertain any costs associated with any void period. It's not part of the contract or anything to do with damage to the property.

                      Gas Safety and Electrical checks fair enough but to have multiple different people tramping through the house doing viewings would be a no go in my view, I suspect a judge would say the same.

                      Sit back and think you might have had 3 different sets of tenants each one for a year with associated voids so you have done very well in these times and that has been helped by your current tenants....

                      All the best

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The majority of TA have written into the contract that tenants must allow viewings usually during the final month/months of their tenancy, so by disallowing those viewings to take place the tenant is in breach of contract.

                        That said I agree with everything else said. Firstly proving any loss and quantifying that loss would be exceedingly difficult, and secondly even if you could, why not do the right thing whereby your tenants do their own risk assessment and make their own decision, which the tenant in this scenario has. I would be fine with that as presumably I'd already taken a huge amount of money off them and they'd been good tenants. If they hadn't been that would be galling, but hey ho . . . it is what it is.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You will find that most contracts have a clause whereby tenants agree to have viewings etc. Basically, this only works if the tenant participates. It might be written in black and white, but if the tenants refuse - that is their right. With the pandemic in place, I would imagine the majority of departing tenants will exercise their legal rights.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by LL_LonST View Post
                            Surely I should be able to have recourse for the loss of rent due to access being denied to my property.
                            It’s a contractual matter, so you will have to show that there has been an actual loss, for which financial compensation is the appropriate mechanism for putting matters right.

                            So you’d need to be able to show that you actually lost rent (and how much) due to the property not being available for viewing as per the contract. And I don’t see how you can do that.

                            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


                              #15
                              What a monumentally crappy way to treat - in your own words - great tenants !

                              Void periods are a part of being a landlord. If you're too tight to accept them, or your finances are to tight to handle them, then you should wait for them to move out and sell up. This game isn't for you - maybe try Premium Bonds or ISAs !

                              Comment

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