Double-charged rent (old and new tenants) for same period

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  • Double-charged rent (old and new tenants) for same period

    I would really appreicate any help with this. A friend of mine rents out her flat, her tennant gave notice to move out eg: 4 weeks but ended up moving out a week early. A new tennat was found and she moved in straight away, covering the last week of the previous tennant. Both were charged the weeks rent as they were completely seperate contracts eg: the old tennant moved out early and the new tennat started paying when he moved in. Is this legal to charge twice even though the old tennant left early? After all why would you give a new tennant a week free? Any ideas?

  • #2
    No it is not legal to charge twice for the same flat. The previous tenant should have been refunded the rent, as you were lucky enough to get a new tenant so quickly. You can however charge for readvertising and any of your costs of the relet. But these do not ususally cost as much as a weeks rent. I know some landlords do not refund in cases such as these, but legally they should. A tip - treat your tenants as you would wish to be treated!

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    • #3
      Thanks for the advice. My friend treats her tennants really well FYI, it is not a case of mis-treatment, it was a question about a situation that had not arisen before. A tip - don't just presume tennants are not being treated well!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by susan 2
        You can however charge for readvertising and any of your costs of the relet.
        Where does it says that ??
        If at the end of the fixed term of a tenancy or if it's a periodic tenancy and the tenant has given the normal 1 month notice, he can't be charged for readvertising the property for leaving within the month !
        He would be responsible for the rent for the whole month but if the landlord is given the keys back early and he relets the property then it would be fair to reimburse the week rent.

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        • #5
          This is a very interesting thread for me! Two years ago I was in a rental flat my AST ended in October and we were expecting to be abl eto leave at this point as my uncle was in the process of buying me a house to rent. THe mortgage company were an absolute nightmare and on speaking to the LL and her letting agency I continued to rent the flat on a week by week basis. THen it became clear it was going to be another month so I paid for a ful month.

          When it came down the sale went through within two weeks.. the letting agent came out for the inspection, handed over my deposit. When I asked about the two weeks rent I was owed he said I was not entitled to it ... it had been paid to the LL and I should chase her for it, but I would not likely see it as I had "lost" them several tenants. bearing in mind NO_ONE had viewed the flat... or if they did it was done without my knowledge! The flat was then empty for a further 6 months before it was tenanted! So much for a property in great demand!

          Reading this thread it would appear I should have been reimbursed the two weeks I paid. I kept the LL and the letting agent up to date of the progress ... the LL was fine about it and never said there was someone waiting for the flat. I have a feeling the Letting agent pocketed the money!
          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!

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          • #6
            As a landlord, my own view of this is that I require a written notice period of 4 weeks during which rent will continue to be charged - if the tenant wants to leave earlier, then that is up to them BUT I will still charge 4 weeks rent in lieu of notice if either the notice period is short, or not given at all. This is a contractual term available on all my tenancies and I do not hold my tenants to liability for the whole of the fixed term. For example, the tenant is free to sign a years contract, give notice within days of moving in, and be free to move 4 weeks later or immediately if they give me rent in lieu of the notice period.

            If I find a new tenant and it "overlaps" because the outgoing tenant has moved earlier, then I am in the situation of having two tenants both liable to pay rent for the same week or weeks. This only happens if the outgoing tenant has either breached the 4 weeks notice rule by moving out earlier or without any notice at all and I have had it upheld in court that the outgoing tenant must pay for the notice period despite a new tenant having been found quickly and moving in during the outgoing tenants notice period.

            I regard this "double payment" as compensation if you like for the tenants breach of the notice period. A lot of landlords tie their tenants into a 6 or 12 month contract with no "get out" clause so that if they leave early, they are charged for the whole of the fixed period - as I say, I don't do that - so I expect tenants to play fair with me - give me the required notice in writing and leave 4 weeks after they have done that.

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            • #7
              So in effect a tenant who has given 4 weeks notice and paid rent for the 4 weeks, should keep the keys for the 4 weeks even if they moved out earlier.

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              • #8
                Yes Jennifer that is ok with me. But tenants also sometimes expect to move out without giving notice and expect not be liable for the four weeks rent in lieu of notice which they HAVEN'T paid and then they expect me to pull out all the stops to reduce their liability by finding a new tenant quickly.

                I have been to court on this subject twice - where a tenant has buggered off without so much as by your leave let alone notice and I have re-let the property within the "notice period" and still sued the outgoing tenant successfully for 4 weeks rent in lieu of notice.

                And the way I define notice is thus:-

                "20. Serve any notice that you intend to terminate the tenancy in writing and by giving a minimum of 4 weeks notice. You are liable for rent for 4 weeks from the date you give notice, for 4 weeks after discovering you have left without giving notice or 4 weeks from when the property is cleared of your belongings whichever is later."

                This is another bone of contention - acting as unpaid storage service for tenants who bugger off and leave me a house to clear. Yeah, sure I will do this at £9.25 per hour per person and 80p a mile x 120 miles with trailer - average clearance bill works out at about £250 a day - so if it runs into two days the tenant can easily get a bill for £500 - more if redecoration is required - and the way to avoid this is leave the property clean and tidy and clear of personal property (mine are all unfurnished lets)

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                • #9
                  Jennifer - of course you are right about not charging at the end of a fixed period. I've got a stinking head cold and it's obviously affecting my brain!

                  Toottoot - also take your point, it was just the way you worded the post, made me a bit snappy. See above for reason. Best wishes

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                  • #10
                    David John, I understand what you mean but it seems here that you would be punishing people who actually gave you proper notice by charging them for a week (for example) even though they gave the keys back and the property was let to someone else, simply because other people didn't follow the rules.

                    I know that for you it's a case of you lose some you win some but for the tenants themselves, the good ones are the ones losing out.
                    I would guess that many of them don't ask but maybe some find it unfair?

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                    • #11
                      I remember an old episode of Only Fools and Horses where DelBoy stays in a hotel and gets a huge bill - when he asks what each item is for - the hotel manager says one charge is for the jacuzzi, one charge for the sauna etc. DelBoy says "But I didn't use either of them" The manager replies "Ah, but they were there if you wanted to use them"

                      So clever DelBoy knocks some money off the bill and announces he is making a charge for use of his car and the manager says "But I never used your car" to which Del replies "Ah, but it was there for you to use if you wanted to"

                      With an outgoing tenant - its "there for him to use" for the 4 weeks of notice - if he doesn't, then that is a matter for him. I might not be able to get a tenant in to cover any rebated period, and on the other hand I might just end up lucky. For every bit of luck I get in doing this, you can guarantee I will have a loss somewhere else by a tenant buggering off without paying. Jennifer, your philosopy about the decent tenants getting penalised is the same as the speeding moptorists that get fined - its the ones who have properly registered their cars who get punched - not the ones who have the car in someone elses name who is untraceable etc.!

                      Life's like that!

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                      • #12
                        Well we're talking about a case where you'd have another tenant in the property paying you rent on the last week of the previous tenant's month notice. That's two people paying rent for the same property.
                        By giving the money back to the tenant who did give you proper notice etc. you wouldn't be losing anything out because you'd have a new tenant in already.

                        A bit like if you agree to let a tenant leave in the middle of a fixed term tenancy, you wouldn't be allowed to charge him rent for the remaining of the tenancy if you found a new tenant paying you rent.

                        Maybe I'm too honest

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                        • #13
                          PMS, you're relatively new to this forum. Please tell us are you a landlord, tenant, agent? Just want to know where your argument is coming from.

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                          • #14
                            No actually it does not boil down to greed - it boils down to people honouring what is in their agreements - and like I said, for every few times I get "double paid", there will be several times I will lose out big time because of rotten tenants who either smash the property up or bugger off without paying rent leaving me to chase them through the totally ineffective county court process - thats if I can find them - cos there is an army of people who know where they are and they won't tell me cos of the data protection act! (i.e. gas board/ electricity/council tax/hb offices etc.)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Poppy
                              PMS, you're relatively new to this forum. Please tell us are you a landlord, tenant, agent? Just want to know where your argument is coming from.
                              POPPY: I'll come clean with you.I'm a qualified EHO, A certified expert witness,a fully qualified building surveyor and a property investigater. I also run a property management service and I try to be impartial to tenants and landlords.My arguement is that some of the advice on this forum is misleading and a balance needs to be struck.

                              I hope this answers your posting.
                              Disclaimer:I have over 30 years experience in housing(both social and private) as an EHO and Building Surveyor.I am also a certified expert witness having spent the last 15years working in housing litigation.The advice I give is from experience in working for various Local Authorities and how the law is interpretated.Housing Law is a minefield and is continually being amended if in any doubt you should consult a solicitor or someone of equal legal standing.

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