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bassl1ne

Are there late payment fees unfair?

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I am letting from a private landlord and due to financial problems I was late by 36 days with the rent due, which has now been paid.

 

Today I received a letter with charges for overdue payments which seems really high, more than half of the monthly rent fee which puts me in a difficult situation, the landlord is demanding this payment by the weekend otherwise additional fees will be added.

 

Please can someone advise my legal rights here... see attachments for bill and charges set out in contract.

charges1.jpg

charges2.jpg

Edited by bassl1ne
Title error

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Your landlord is a Thief. No other word for it.

 

Are these ludicrous charges listed anywhere in your lease?

 

Any judge woulld throw these out. What were the 37 telephone calls he HAD to make? All within a month? that is harrassment.

 

The charges are just pie in the sky nonsense and I certainly would not pay them at all.

 

I strongly advise you to look for soemwhere else to live. make sure you withold suffient rent to cover any depsoit paid, because there is no chance of this thieving lowlife giving you one penny back.

 

My fee for you reading this is £1 MILLION. Pay by Saturday or I will add another £500k to the bill. :D

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Just to add, the most he could hope to claim off you if he went to court, would be 8% of the owed debt per annum. In this case, if your rent was £1000 a month, that would be £80 a year! 36 days, just over a month equates to about £8.50. If your rent is £500 a month then it would be about £4.

 

This guy is nothing short of shark. Pay him zippo.

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Unfortunately these ludicrous charges are listed in my contract as shown in the first scan.

 

Most of the calls make were to ask me when he's going to get his money, I certainly don't remember there being 37 of them! What should be the reasonable charge for a phone call? His office is next door to my property so its not that he has trouble getting hold of me.

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Can't condone non-payment, sorry, know what happens when bills are not paid, but that's still a pretty ridiculous approach from the landlord.

 

Get the (edited) AST posted here and I'm sure that JimmySpangle and others will help you tear a hole through all of this.

 

I'm not wishing to hijack your thread, but have you paid a deposit?

 

If so, is it "protected" under the tenancy deposit schemes that came in to force in April 2007. Would suggest you say nothing to your landlord about the deposit though and, instead, post a message here.

Edited by NewSAHD

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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You landlord should be shot, trying something like this on. The sums are penal and thus unenforceable.

 

All I would pay is the interest on the rent for the 36 days which would hardly amount to nothing.


If I have been helpful please click on my star and add a comment.

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There is no reason for the LL to phone you at all. He could write. He chose to phone you 37 times in as many days and expects you to pay 15 quid each time? He is clearly insane.

 

His scale of charges is a joke. It is not lawful or reasonable. let him explain the alleged debt you owe to any county court judge. He would be thrown out of court.

 

There is no reasonable amount he can charge as he has no reason to phone you at all. Why didn't he do what most rational humans do and drop you a line?

 

The guy is a con artist and is out for every last penny he can [problem]. Give him nada.

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You landlord should be shot, trying something like this on. The sums are penal and thus unenforceable.

 

All I would pay is the interest on the rent for the 36 days which would hardly amount to nothing.

 

Remember now seeing something similar awhile back.

 

So long as it was in the tenancy agreement/supporting documentation, and the "penalties" had been flagged up in advance, the landlord could seek either the interest on the late payment (which amounts to very little) or a reasonable flat rate charge.

 

The latter applied to a ''larger" landlord, where the argument put forward was of the time/cost of calculating/collecting small amounts of interest, so a small flat rate was sought. Not sure what the outcome was though and modern property management software (even a simple spreadsheet for that matter) makes these calculations and your landlord's position interesting to say the least.

 

Your landlord's not an MP/Estate Agent/Lawyer/delete as appropriate by any chance?!


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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What were the 37 telephone calls he HAD to make? All within a month? that is harrassment.

Just to emphasise what Jimmy's put here, the landlord has shot himself in the foot by admitting, in writing, that he has been harassing his tenant. This is a criminal offence.

 

I would be inclined to go on the offensive: Report your landlord to the police for the harassment. They won't do anything but the fact that you reported it will put you in good stead later. You might also want to complain about the way he's trying to extort money out of you. Again they won't do anything but as you're talking to them anyway you might as well mention it.

 

When you've done that write to your landlord telling him to stop his campaign of harassment or you will go to the courts for an injunction and compensation. If you need someone to talk to about this try Shelter. I know they're a homeless charity but they do know housing law inside out.

 

Alternatively you could do nothing, then when he comes to sue you, you can counter sue for the harassment. I wouldn't recommend this, even though it would be cheaper because he doesn't sound like the sort of person that would sue. Instead I think you'd just be inviting more harassment

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I spoke with the landlord today, he tells me these charges have been tried and tested and have been scrutinised by a barrister and as I have signed the contract with these charges in I have no choice but to pay them.

 

Been trying most of the day to get hold of citizens advice line but the line always seems to be busy.

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Can you post an (edited) copy of the AST here for comment?

 

There are those here (not necessarily me mind) who appear to deal with AST's almost daily.

 

Also, without alerting the landlord to this, have you paid a deposit and, if so, is it protected?


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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I spoke with the landlord today, he tells me these charges have been tried and tested and have been scrutinised by a barrister and as I have signed the contract with these charges in I have no choice but to pay them.

:lol:

 

He's a proper comedy landlord isn't he, and his barrister isn't very good either. Steve M has already posted this link for you but have a look at section 5, particularly paragraphs 3.44 & 3.50: Sums up your landlord perfectly I would've thought

 

http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/reports/unfair_contract_terms/oft356.pdf

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I have the AST, is there a particular section I should upload for review as its 18 pages long. I did pay a deposit, I don't know if this is protected or not.

 

It does seem from the OFT document that these charges are excessive however as pointed out this is not the law and my landlord appears to have some good law contacts that can get things done.

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If you can up load the AST in a few chunks that could be helpful as it occurs to me one of the posters here will pick up something that others may miss.

 

Also, out of preference, it's sometimes helpful to look at the whole document anyway. Hope that's OK.

 

Be sure to delete any personal/property information.

 

I remember that the AST should have reference to the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme). May even be mandatory. Apologies, my knowledge in this particular is a bit hazy, plus it's been a year or two since I had any reason to look at an AST in any detail.

 

"my landlord appears to have some good law contacts that can get things done." May well be the case, but you should find similar here and elsewhere. Don't be bullied and see what other feedback comes your way from your next posts.

 

Finally, hope you don't mind me asking, 37 calls seems a huge number over a relatively short period. Was it that he spoke to most days, or was he not getting a response from you? And when he called how was it left? Had you promised payment earlier and so on.

 

Hope you don't mind these questions, it's just that I struck that he's either serial lunatic, or something has got him worked up. Or both etc. Post what you feel you can, so when it comes to putting him straight, it's done so in context of his, frankly, rather odd behaviour.

Edited by NewSAHD
extra two paragraphs at end, sorry

As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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Have a look at this:

 

Penalty clauses & contracts. English solicitors explain contract penalties.

 

There is no way this landlord would take it to court. If terms such as these were lawful then everybody would be using them. My company has recently spent 25 million on something and have regretted the fact that it is *really difficult* to penalise the supplier if it turns out the supplier has been telling a few porky pies.

 

As to "barristers" and the like, I had a high profile law firm (partners get invited to parliamentary committees, and they act for some very big event companies such as those running events that appear on the BBC for 2 weeks every summer) claiming that I owed their client £600, and quoting all sorts of law. They wrote personal letters (ie. not standard print-outs) to me in increasingly snotty tones for over 6 months. Did it ever come to anything? No.

 

So chin up!

 

If you have paid a deposit on your property since April 2007, then check that it has been protected. Suggest you start planning to move...

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In response to NewSAHD, all of the calls made we to ask when he would recieve the money. He was told on each occassion that I would pay as soon as I had the money but could no promise a date.

 

He has a self assured attitude that he is in the right, he remains polite and keeps telling me how much he has done for me to get this resolved. I have remained professional and polite back to him but I am getting nowhere.

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If you have paid a deposit on your property since April 2007, then check that it has been protected. Suggest you start planning to move...

 

:D

 

Just a note to say that if ever a post put a smile then that was it!

 

Don't let on to the landlord about this though. And post again when you are getting ready to give in your notice/move out, as there are steps you should take as a tenant to protect yourself further still.

 

Signing off for now as feeding three sparrows :) back later.


As for me, happy to help out. I am not a Landlord, but I have been in the past. I am not an Agent, but I have been in the past. I am, therefore, a has been, so always seek independent and suitably qualified advice elsewhere before relying upon whatever has been posted here :-)

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In response to NewSAHD, all of the calls made we to ask when he would recieve the money. He was told on each occassion that I would pay as soon as I had the money but could no promise a date.

 

He has a self assured attitude that he is in the right, he remains polite and keeps telling me how much he has done for me to get this resolved. I have remained professional and polite back to him but I am getting nowhere.

 

You don't have to get anywhere. It's the landlord who has to get somewhere because you are not going to pay him.

 

*Do not* engage any more on the issue of the penalties. Write a one line letter saying "I believe these fees are penalties in contract law as they are not a genuine pre-estimate of your losses. They are therefore unlawful. I am not prepared to discuss this further." If he phones or demands to talk to you, just insist on everything in writing on that matter.

 

You might also add that the clause about being liable to another fine if you are "obstructive" in letting him get tenants in to view the property during the last month of your tenancy is also unlawful.

 

And make sure your deposit is protected.

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I note it says that call times and dates are available on request... may be worth requesting these, as you then have irrevocable proof that he has been harassing you. Make a note of any calls that are at unsociable hours, weekends etc.


Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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I wonder what the charge is for providing the itemised bill? And , will he phone you to say it is ready for another £15?

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Pay your rent - but do not pay any of these ridiculous extra charges.

 

You said that you did not know if your deposit was protected. There should be a clause in your AST which refers to protection of the deposit. The law says that a deposit paid by a tenant to a landlord (after April 2007 and on a property where the annual rent is not £25,000 or over) should be protected in one of the three government approved schemes. The law also says that within 14 days of the deposit being paid, the LL should notify you of the details of which scheme it is protected in.

 

It certainly appears that he may not have done this. If you telephone the 3 numbers below and ask, you will find out for definite whether your deposit is protected. If not, keep it up your sleeve as when you do leave, and if your deposit is not returned, you can sue the LL for deposit + 3 x deposit penalty for non-compliance with the deposit protection legislation.

 

DPS 0870 707 1 707

TDSL 0871 703 0552

TDS 0845 226 7837

 

You could sue him now - but he might rush off and protect it and some courts would consider that he had complied - whereas others would consider that he had not! Another mushy piece of legislation poorly drafted!

 

I don't believe he will sue you, and if he does, I think you will find any judge will be sympathetic towards your case.

 

And the CAB are extremely busy at the moment as there are lots of people in trouble with their finances etc. because of losing their jobs - and as a result their homes.

 

And do follow Steve's advice ["I believe these fees are penalties in contract law as they are not a genuine pre-estimate of your losses. They are therefore unlawful. I am not prepared to discuss this further." ]. Insist on all future communication being in writing. Your LL is harrassing you and this is a serious offence.


Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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I see that Tenancy Deposit Protection was launched April 2007. What would be the case if the deposit was paid before this time. I notice on the AST I provided (page 5) it states the deposit is held at Hicks Hadley which I believe to be another letting company?

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I understand that if you signed a new tenancy since April 2007, the deposit should have been protected. If the letting agent are no longer managing the property, I'm not sure what happens. Ask them.

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