Landlord changing the rent payment method

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  • Landlord changing the rent payment method


    This is kind of a strange one... I'm a postgraduate student who has been living since the end of September in a property run by a nationwide firm specialising in student accommodation. I was supplied with a letter specifying the monthly rental payment dates and amounts and duly submitted the accompanying direct debit authorisation form. I paid the deposit and the first month's rent (October) by cheque, as requested.

    At the start of November I noticed that the money for November's rent was still in my bank account. On enquiry I was told that the direct debit hadn't been processed and that I would have to pay by cheque again (which I did).

    I now find that, with the December payment due next week, the landlord still hasn't made the arrangements to retrieve the payment by direct debit as initially agreed. I find this quite annoying and would like to know if the landlord can insist that I pay the rent by cash or cheque when direct debit was specifically listed in the tenancy offer letter as the method of payment. I should have thought that the failure to get the direct debit processed on time was the landlord's problem rather than mine.

  • #2
    In theory, yes you are right. However, for the hassle of possibly causing issues between you and the landlord, why kick up a fuss? Just ask him to sort the DD out, but dont refuse to pay as cheque, I just don't see the point. What extra hassle does it cause you, realistically? It aint worth it.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


    • #3
      Argon - Just a suggestion. Why not set up a standing order yourself. Advantage - you will be in charge and can cancel it when your tenancy comes to an end. If the agency kicks up a fuss, point out politely that they are a load of unorganised so and so's and that you do not want to have to send a cheque every month. My tenants all pay by SO and personally I think it is much better than direct debits. If the agent is this slow to setup a DD, one wonders (a) which bank the cheques are going into - his own or the company's, and (b) will he be as slow to cancel the DD when you leave. He may just be lazy, in which case he will probably welcome the fact that you have taken matters into your own hands. Good luck susan


      • #4
        SO not DD

        I always ask my tenants to pay by Standing Order; I just give them my bank account details and ask them they need to set it up to transfer X amount to my account on Y date each month. If I change the rent, then they need to change their SO. I would never demand they pay by Direct Debit, which is basically asking them to give the LL permission to debit the tenants account by any amount he likes, at any time. If I was a tenant I'd certainly be pretty suspicious of the motives of any LL who insisted I paid by DD.


        • #5
          As I understand it, payment by any particular method cannot be enforced as long as the payment is made. Don't be wary of DDs though as long as they are for a fixed amount. You can stop a DD with a phone call to your bank, even easier if you bank online.


          • #6
            You're all at it again, muddying the waters and throwing around the problem when the answer is clear!

            The (written) information given to the tenant stated that payment was to be direct debit, and the agency has "cocked-up" - it's the agent's problem and the tenant couldn't be penalised for not having paid the rent if the agency's direct debit system has failed to collect it.

            If the tenant is put to extra trouble in order to pay his rent then the agency should be paying his additional costs for inconveniencing him.
            The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


            • #7
              Paul - You are of course right. However Eric and I were just suggesting that with a dozy agent, it is sometimes better to take things into your own hands. It is of course up to Argon what he decides to do. But the whole point of posting is for advice and to find out what your various options are. That's not muddying the waters. Judging by the sound of this agent, if he tried to get extra costs for being inconvenienced I do not think he would have much luck!

              Mr.Woof - thankyou - I thought only the creditor could cancel a DD.I had great trouble a few years ago and the bank would not stop it until it had a letter from the creditor. Which is why I am very wary of them. Have the rules been changed?


              • #8

                I worked in the banking industry for 2 years I left 3 years ago. It has always been the case that YOU can cancel the DD. The problem occurs when these companies set up DD's using a long card number. These are virtually impossible to stop as they are classed as a debit/credit card transaction and can only be cancelled at the end of the reciever. I have had many a worried customer come to me saying they cancelled a DD and it is still coming out when it is investigated it turns out they gave over the long card number.

                When cancelling ANY regular payment ensure you get a receipt or a letter to prove it has been done. Banks should give you a print out of the cancellation, or you can print a copy if you do it online.

                If you wish to cancel a Transaction that has been set up with a debit or Credit card ensure you put the request in writing and if it continues to be taken from your account take it up with your bank and escalate it through the relevant chanels depending on who receives the money.

                (Sorry this is off topic!)
                GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!


                • #9
                  Just -Thank you very much for the clear explanation. Susan


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for your time and advice.

                    I agree there isn't any great hassle involved in writing a cheque. The reason for my annoyance was really just the fact that the company doesn't give tenants the option of choosing their own payment method - it's direct debit or nothing. As tenants we had to commit ourselves to this form of payment whether we liked it or not: standing orders or monthly cheques weren't an option. It's the company that made the issue out of it, so I'm glad to hear they can't just turn round and change the arrangement just because it suits them. For them to take two months to set up a direct debit and then to demand payment in a form they wouldn't originally allow does seem to me worth objecting about!


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