Neighbour trying to make us liable for tenants rent reduction

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    Neighbour trying to make us liable for tenants rent reduction

    This is a bit of a saga so bear with me!

    We are converting our loft and (barring some issues with a license to alter - local authority freeholders are a nightmare!) this was all fully approved via planning, party wall etc., it just took so long to arrange that the downstairs flat changed hands and was bought by its current owner and is now rented out, the presence of an approved planning application for the loft would have been clear in any searches performed at the time

    Early August we notified the owner and the tenants that scaffolding would be going up for the conversion for approx. 10 weeks and that there would be some scaffolding poles at the front and rear of the property to do this, there was no objection to this. Fast forward to the poles going up and suddenly the tenants are complaining about loss of access to the garden and light and demanding a rent reduction from their landlord.

    Despite the fact that they can access their side of the shared garden (we've even seen them using their barbecue!) we offered to compromise and pay some level of reduction for a period, we suggested 20% for 2 months (in lieu of longer notice) rather than the blank cheque of "30% for the whole period" that the tenants were demanding.

    The downstairs owner seemed to agree with us that this was a reasonable offer (everyone else we've talked to has been stunned we even offered!) but the tenants refused and in fact appear to have been deducting 30% from their rent themselves for the last 2 months! The landlord is now demanding that we pay her for this as she's out of pocket despite the fact that they rejected our offer and never followed up and are is now making the usual threats about "trespass" and contacting solicitors.

    The works are basically done now so the scaffolding will be down in a couple of weeks tops so it's not like this is going to stop it from being finished, but am I mad in thinking that this is just a hot air threat?

    I can't see how a tenant can reduce their own rent and then demand that someone else pay for it or how we can be held "liable" for the fact that the tenants are being unreasonable and their landlord has let them get away without paying proper rent for two months - if they wanted a scaffolding agreement then they should have requested it before it went up not agreed to it and then decided they didn't like it!

    #2
    You have no contract with Tenant or Landlord, you made a clear take it or leave it offer, and they chose to leave it.
    Tell the Landlord it's not your problem, and you'll happily let a court tell them that.

    In the unlikely event that you get a letter from a solicitor, I would refer them to Askill Vs Pressdram 1974

    Comment


      #3
      Haha, you're a man or woman after my own heart with the Pressdram comment :-)

      Yeah that was my sort of thinking as well - if they go to a solicitor they're probably going to get told they're an idiot and charged £500 for the pleasure, in the unlikely event that they don't and I do get a letter then we'll see!

      I think the LL has really messed up here by "accepting" reduced rent from the tenants in the first place. If it was me I'd have told them to take a hike and if they refused to pay, replaced them!

      Comment


        #4
        To whom did you make the offer and by whom was it declined?

        Personally, I'd follow the advice given and tell the landlord to sort out their own problem.
        The tenant's have right to quiet enjoyment, but no more than any other person who shares a building with someone else.
        Building work is part of normal life - like street repairs or someone putting in a new bus shelter outside.

        The tenants have a case against their landlord, if the landlord knew or should have known that the work was going to happen, and that this would have materially affected their decision to rent the property and the landlord didn't disclose the information to them.
        But that's nothing to do with you.
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by Logical.Lean View Post
          refer them to Askill Vs Pressdram 1974
          In the true spirit of Pedantry Corner I feel it only right to point out that Arkell, not Askill, was Pressdram's now infamous opponent and that the year was 1971.

          I'd get out more but there's too much to read on Landlord Zone.

          Comment


            #6
            jpkeates,

            We made the offer to the landlord, she appears to have passed it on to the tenants who refused and then just reduced their own rent so there was never any agreement that we would actually do anything(just goodwill) so we took our offer to be rejected. She definitely knew that we had approved planning when she bought the place and we told her again earlier in the year that it would be starting so I guess either the tenants never asked or she never told them.

            And yeah, we said the same thing - if you've got 5 sets of neighbours and houses on the other side of the street you've got to expect a bit of noise. I don't think there's been a single day this year when there hasn't been scaffolding up somewhere on the street, I guess some people think they're entitled to perfection!

            Next they'll be complaining there are too many cars on the road making too much noise....

            Comment


              #7
              I'd have thanked them for their kind suggestion. End of.
              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


                #8
                Originally posted by tatemono View Post
                In the true spirit of Pedantry Corner I feel it only right to point out that Arkell, not Askill, was Pressdram's now infamous opponent and that the year was 1971.

                I'd get out more but there's too much to read on Landlord Zone.

                Indeed. I couldn't remember exactly so have been making it up. (Like most of my life)

                Comment

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