Landlord and Bills

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  • Landlord and Bills

    I rent rooms in a house and have taken on the bills and council tax in my name. I have done this as I was not sure how to organise the bills where people are on different Tenancies. I have a standard AST and have added on the Rent Line '+£50 to bills' at the time I told the Tenant that I would pay bills and settle at the end of the AST. The ideas was that no one Tenant would end up owing me a lot of money. This has been fine except one Tenant has now said that this means she has only to pay £50 pcm
    I have at various times spoken to the Tenant and said I would come up with an account of the actual bills and the amount she would need to pay or I should pay her (if she overpaid). I have done this and she actually owes me quite a lot of money and has said that the contract says she only needs to pay £50pcm. Have I shot myself in the foot? Also how does this relate to council tax ie there is a set amount of council tax if one person leaves the council tax is shared amongst three people not four people.
    How should I play this situation?

  • #2
    Well I'm afraid I don't know what...
    ...have added on the Rent Line +£50 to bills'...
    ...means, and I'm not surprised your tenant is confused too.

    If the figure of £50 is mentioned in the agreement (although the context is unclear), why do you expect your tenant to pay more than that?

    So yes, I'm afraid I think you may have shot yourself in the foot.

    Comment


    • #3
      What I meant was that in the rent line I added £300 Monthly + £50 to Bills , I explained at the time this was towards bills and we would settle some time in the future. All other Tenants understood this and it has not been a problem. Now this Tenant is saying that I have written £50 is all inclusive which is not what I meant or said. The bills have varied but are generally £60 to £80 PCM. What is the best way to do bills on rented rooms?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Shinyshef View Post
        Now this Tenant is saying that I have written £50 is all inclusive which is not what I meant or said.
        To me that's exactly what you have said --- £300pcm for the rent + £50pcm for the bills.

        The bills have varied but are generally £60 to £80 PCM. What is the best way to do bills on rented rooms?
        You either set the rent so that it covers the bills (i.e. rent = £380pcm inc. bills) or you say rent = £300pcm + tenant to pay bills.

        The former is much easier in the case of letting a room.

        You have shot yourself in the foot, absolutely, and if it goes to court you have virtually no chance of the court ordering T to pay you the balance. She's already paid what she agreed to pay, hasn't she?

        Peter

        Comment


        • #5
          This Tenant agreed that she would pay £50 pcm and we would settle at some point when i got the bills. I wrote this in the contract and can see it is a big mistake, as now she can deny any conversation. But we did have the conversation!
          As this Tenant has been with me 2 years and this is the only issue we have ever had how would you resolve it. Am I wrong to think she is 'playing' me when these are real bills.Should I deny any conversations we have ever had that have not been written down that have been to her advantage and charge her. ie If a Tenant buys an item for the house I will let them take it off their rent and have done this for this Tenant.

          Comment


          • #6
            T has to pay, towards the outgoings, only what you prescribed in the Agreement. The relevant figure is £50 and no more than that.
            Resolve it by simply writing-off (so far as concerns T) the balance of your bills.
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Shinyshef View Post
              This Tenant agreed that she would pay £50 pcm and we would settle at some point when i got the bills. I wrote this in the contract and can see it is a big mistake, as now she can deny any conversation. But we did have the conversation!
              Yes; but you'd have a hard time convincing a judge of that when the agreement says what it says.

              As this Tenant has been with me 2 years and this is the only issue we have ever had how would you resolve it.
              Easy. Bite the bullet, accept that she isn't going to pay up, and learn from it.

              Am I wrong to think she is 'playing' me when these are real bills.
              She probably is 'playing' you, but let's face it, you have given her a great opportunity to do so.

              Should I deny any conversations we have ever had that have not been written down that have been to her advantage and charge her. ie If a Tenant buys an item for the house I will let them take it off their rent and have done this for this Tenant.
              Too late. If you didn't complain at the time, it's obvious that you allowed her to do it.

              Of course you could try and get her to pay the rent that you let her off, but I wouldn't recommend it because
              a) you'd almost certainly lose if it came to court,
              b) you'd annoy your tenant who could respond in some way, and
              c) it sounds like the tenant has been pretty good.

              If she's paid £50 pcm and the bills are in reality on average £70pcm, that leaves you £20 out of pocket per month. Compared to the amount that this tenant could have cost you if she'd turned out really bad, that's peanuts!

              Peter

              Comment


              • #8
                Ok so the agreement says £50 to bills. Just to be sure, is that all the agreement says?
                Does it say she will be responsible to pay a share of outgoings such a electric, gas etc anywhere else? If its a standard AST it should say more.

                Anyway; I think she should pay if thats what was genuinely agreed, but it will cost too much to rectify trhough a court.

                If she was genuinely confused, (some people need explaining more than once) I would give her the benefit.

                If she's taking the P; you can threaten to not renew her contract if she wants to stay on unless she pays.
                All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                • #9
                  It Does in two places it was standard AST

                  3. The Tenant agrees with the Landlord:
                  (3.1) (3.2)
                  To pay the Rent on the days and in the manner specified to the Landlord
                  To pay promptly to the authorities to whom they are due, council tax and outgoings (including water and sewerage charges, gas, electric, light and telephone (if any) relating to the Property), including any which are imposed after the date of this Agreement (even if of a novel nature) and to pay the total cost of any re-connection fee relating to the supply of water, gas, electricity and telephone if the same is disconnected. The Tenant agrees to notify the Landlord prior to changing supplier for any of the utility services (i.e. gas, electricity, water etc.)

                  THE FIRST SCHEDULE (attach a separate sheet ifnecessary)
                  Special conditions:
                  It is the tenants responsibility to pay for all utilities and Council Tax on entering the property and to obtain meter readings if necessary.
                  The Landlord(s) will not be held responsible for utilities or council tax.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Isn't it difficult to get tenants on different contract lengths and who may not know each other to agree to split actual bills? I'd be a bit nervous about living in a house where other people could run up a huge bill that I'd have to pay for. I think its more usual to pay a set fee towards bills (and assume that this represented your total contribution) and if your tenant thinks that she may be genuinely confused and not trying to con you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the replies , now what should I do? I did not think it fair to let individuals take the risk and so took on the bills in good faith.Now I am not sure what to do lets say I pass all the bills to the individuals in the house, and people don't pay or leave and the others are liable, this creates bad feeling etc... What do I do in regards to the ast? How should I play it in terms of an agreement if I continue to take the bills on?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Shinyshef View Post
                        To pay promptly to the authorities to whom they are due, council tax and outgoings (including water and sewerage charges, gas, electric, light and telephone
                        This merely adds to the confusion. You say that the rent is £300pcm + £50 towards the bills, but then you say that T is responsible for all the bills. If T is responsible for paying "to the authorities to whom they are due" the bills, why are they paying you £50pcm? It doesn't makes sense

                        It is the tenants responsibility to pay for all utilities and Council Tax on entering the property and to obtain meter readings if necessary.
                        The Landlord(s) will not be held responsible for utilities or council tax.
                        Again, this is just confusing. You say you are not responsible for utilities whilst at the same time you are taking £50pcm from each tenant to pay for the utilities?

                        Thanks for all the replies , now what should I do? I did not think it fair to let individuals take the risk and so took on the bills in good faith.Now I am not sure what to do lets say I pass all the bills to the individuals in the house, and people don't pay or leave and the others are liable, this creates bad feeling etc... What do I do in regards to the ast? How should I play it in terms of an agreement if I continue to take the bills on?
                        Like I said, the easiest thing to do is to charge a higher rent and say "bills included". In other words up the rent from £300 to £370pcm. Then you have enough extra profit to cover the bills that you pay.

                        Peter

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pcwilkins View Post
                          This merely adds to the confusion...The easiest thing to do is to charge a higher rent and say "bills included". In other words up the rent from £300 to £370pcm. Then you have enough extra profit to cover the bills that you pay.
                          ...or else reserve fixed rent and then specify that T is liable for all bills in respect of:

                          a. electricity and gas (including standing fixed charges and any disconnection or reconnection charges);
                          b. Water Rates (and water supply if metered), Drainage Rates,and any associated environmental charges;
                          c. Council Tax;
                          d. charges for television licence; and
                          e. charges for telecommunication services (including line rental and standing fixed charges);

                          in each case no matter whether demands are addressed to (or stated to be payable by) L or T.
                          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                            ...or else reserve fixed rent and then specify that T is liable for all bills
                            Yes, but that could be tricky if it is a shared house and OP is just renting out rooms. See Subway's post above...

                            Peter

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pcwilkins View Post
                              Yes, but that could be tricky if it is a shared house and OP is just renting out rooms. See Subway's post above...

                              Peter
                              True. In that case, why not specify that this occupant is liable for equal proportion of outgoings (i.e. in equal shares with all other occupants)?
                              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                              Comment

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