Should I give a refund?

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    Should I give a refund?

    Hi, a male and female from Switzerland wanted to rent my spare room and responded to my advert on Spareroom.com I'm a live in landlord.

    I am looking for concrete advice if I should refund them, here is the timeline of what has happened:

    Feb 2 - Manuel and Doris enquired about the room. They tell me they want to move in on 4th or 5th.

    Feb 3 - they pay and I receive the security deposit via faster payments bank transfer to secure the room.

    Feb 4 - they provide the info I ask them for which I need to complete the tenancy agreement

    Feb 5 - I email the TA to them. I wrote it to start on 5th. The rent is due in advance on or before the 5th of every month. I think to myself I can amend the TA to start when they move in when I receive the rent. They tell me they need to move in because they must leave thetel and that Doris is in a wheelchair.

    Feb 6 - I receive half the rent. I realise they think the deposit is half the first month's rent so ask them for the other half and they say they will send it no problem. A friend in Switzerland, Daniela, is paying the rent for them via bank transfer.

    Friday Feb 7th - Daniela sends the other half of the rent which appears in my account but doesn't clear. D and M want to move in now that the rent has been paid. I explain it hasn't reached my bank account yet so they have to wait until it does. They tell me they need to move in because they have no home and that Doris is in a wheelchair. I reiterate I can't give them the keys until I receive the rent. They start bombarding me with phone calls pressurising me to give them the keys. I am sympathetic but don't give in.

    Saturday Feb 8th - They turn up at my flat, M comes to my door and wants them to move in. Tells me they are living in the car. I suggest they book into a Travelodge which he refuses, keeps going on about they have paid their rent to which I explain it's not reached my account yet. The funds haven't cleared. He is persistent which is quite unnerving, I live alone. I explain some banks don't transact at the weekends so it could be Monday I receive the rent. Then he starts wanting a refund! I explain it's the same situation - it'll not transfer until Monday plus I can't refund money I haven't received! After about 20 minutes he leaves. They message to say they are going to the police. I call the police for myself and they advise I'm doing the right thing. Then they cancel the whole thing. They want a full refund.

    Should I refund anything to them? 28 days notice required from either side written into the TA.

    Horrible situation and I'm nervous going out the house now in case they are there and threaten me.

    #2
    I would think as a live in landlord that it would be a lodger agreement you would have rather than a PRT.

    Has the lodger agreement been signed by both parties? If so then if your agreement is for 28 days then that is what you are entitled to but it may be better to ask them to agree to the property being re-advertised and if you get an alternative tenant who can move in before 28 days then they would only be liable from the lease start date until the new tenant moves in.

    Just out of interest has the payment come through today? I know International payments can take a few days to come through.

    You do have my sympathy I have been hassled by an international tenant who demanded his deposit be returned one day after he moved out and got quite unpleasant. I have since sent detailed notes whenever a tenant gives notice to explain the process in detail and it has worked well. I think it's often a communication issue that causes these kind of problems then after that it can all get rather silly.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Sandi, thanks for your reply. I use the Scottish Government TA template as it covers all the details in a lodger agreement and more.

      The SG TA can be sent electronically via email with names of both tenant/lodger and landlord printed, as stated at the bottom of the template.

      I phoned my bank on Saturday evening to ask them if they could see the payment in the system hoping they could guarantee it would clear which would have probably made me let M & D move in. But apparently the payment is with my bank's security team getting further checks done so they said it could still not clear and still hasn't cleared today.

      Comment


        #4
        This sounds v dodgy. Don't refund until you have confirmation preferably in writing the monies have cleared.

        Comment


          #5
          You were very wise and strong to not allow them to force their way into your property.

          If you are the sole occupier of the property then I would advise to never rent out the room to a couple - only on a single lodger basis. One will always need to gain the upper hand - as you experienced.

          Based upon the manner in which they behaved toward you and their paying only a portion of the rent in the first instance - this provides you with an indication of how your future relationship would look like with them actually, physically living in your property.

          Do not rent to them.

          Comment


            #6
            amarni,

            Thanks for relying.

            So my (original) question is should I refund anything to them?

            Comment


              #7
              You need to be careful
              Make sure the funds clear and are not fraudulent with the bank

              Thank them for their request to cancel the agreement but you could decline and offer them the room. If they refuse then it's them who have cancelled

              What is their situation now?

              You need to get proper advice - have you considered joining SAL?

              Comment


                #8
                UPDATE: So they moved in on 12th February and as I feared their arrogant, disrespectful and demanding behaviour has continued on several occasions:

                1. Excessive heating - 27° so I changed the timer to control the temperature to at least 18° after explaining the government guidelines. Actually the temperature doesn't fall below 22-24° now. Subsequently they turned up the radiator in the hall (not their space) complaining the bathroom was too cold (22°) I explained they should close the bathroom door to keep the heat from the heated towel rail in.

                2. Complaining the WiFi no good. It is good enough for what we need it for browsing the internet, catch up tv.

                3. They have a camper van but they can't drive it because it needs a spare part which is proving difficult to source. There is a good bus service and taxis available which Manuel used to go to Aldi (they will only shop at Aldi) 6 miles away pre Covid-19 lockdown. When lockdown started M asked if I would take him and I said yes the following day early afternoon but he wanted to go early morning. I'm not a morning person so my offer stood but he refused it. A few days later I offered to take him to Aldi the following day early afternoon but he just began demanding early morning so I just suggested he should get a taxi and he said that was too expensive! He eventually took up my offer and after he unloaded his shopping he got back in the car and said ok let's go again!!!! I was gobsmacked - I blatantly refused!

                4. Another free ride request to Aldi and their storage facility....

                5. Fridge request.....

                6. Three daisy chain 4 way extension leads in bathroom out into socket across the hall immediately behind front door - trip and fire hazards - I've requested art least 6 times to stop doing this but they continue.

                The list goes on including abusive texts late evening, I've blocked Doris.

                The rent is due on Sunday and I'm worried they won't pay it and because of Covid-19 I can't get new lodgers.

                Comment


                  #9
                  UPDATE:

                  So they have issues every month, and a lot of cyclical behaviour. Their issues are loud verbal forceful demands which are unreasonable and impossible for me to provide e.g a water bill in their name, help them with their log in for online banking when they fail security.....

                  And now it's come to the point of them sending me a letter to sign saying they will pay the rent (which is due today) when I sign. The letter is telling me the 3rd party hasn't paid them the rent since March so they want a new agreement with me. We have discussed this several times and I have explained a 3rd party is irrelevant to me - the contract is between me and the lodgers so the lodgers are responsible for paying the rent.
                  But they don't give up - last night they fabricated a welfare situation so the police would visit. They went through everything with the police (which was quite amusing really as no crime committed and the police got sucked in by them) and at the end of it all the police said the best thing for them to do is pay the rent then give me 28 days notice and move on.

                  Today they have paid half the rent!!

                  My question is I want to give them the 'reasonable' notice for unpaid rent of 48 hours which the police agreed was reasonable if they don't pay the full amount by midnight tonight - has anyone experienced this?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    They need to pay rent in full
                    Seek advice from SAL or solicitor

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by baldelectrician View Post
                      They need to pay rent in full
                      Seek advice from SAL or solicitor
                      What advice should I seek? From what I've read on websites shelter, Scottish Government etc I am entitled to change the locks?

                      Problem is she's a paraplegic so he only leaves the house about fortnightly for food shopping.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Join SAL
                        They are not dear and will give you correct advice.

                        Comment

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