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CV19 rent reduction now being chased to set up repayment play when never told would have to pay money back

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My ex-partner is getting constant harassment from the letting agency about the following situation and it is starting to effect her mental help.


At the beginning of lockdown her income was drastically reduced ( like many others) and she had to start living on her savings. I suggested she approach the letting agency to see if there was some way of arranging a temporary rent reduction ( no harm in asking right? I feel responsible for the mess she now has because of that suggestion!).


The agency replied the would ask the landlord and replied that he was okay with her paying what she could afford for a short while. 

She agreed to pay half rent for a few months. 2 months later they started chasing her to set up a payment plan to repay the money they say she owes.

The problem is at no point did they say that this was a rent holiday rather than a rent reduction and they never told her she would be expected to repay the other half of the rent.


This has put her in almost £1000 of debt that she never agreed to. Had she known it was going to be a debt she would have put her notice in and moved in with a friend ( unfortunately that option is no longer available so she is trying to find somewhere else that allows pets).

She has gone back to paying the full rent but it is seriously draining her savings.


Several weeks ago the agency booked in a house inspection and it was the director of the agency that attended! She spent less than 10 min checking the house before she started on about how my ex owed them the money and a repayment plan would need to be set up. My ex told her multiple times she did not wish to discuss  this situation face to face and that all communication about it should be in writing. The director refused to leave and kept harassing her for almost 1.5hours. She kept saying it was a rent holiday and then 5 mins later calling it a temporary reduction. saying it was in the contract she had to pay the full amount, saying my ex should have asked if she had to pay it back so its all her fault she didn't realise she would.


She brought up phone conversations she said she'd had with my ex ( not true, they've never spoken before) and point blank refused to stop talking about the situation or leave.


Since then they have brought up stuff like she wasn't allowed to add an extra lock to a door a gardener had a key to meaning he couldn't turn up when he wanted to do the lawn ( I KNOW that's not an issue since any contractor they send needs to give 24hrs notice and she has to agree to them attending and she's well withing her rights to add a lock to feel secure in her property, they've back off of that one. They tried to blame her for not letting them know the gardener had stopped attending ( again not her problem, they employ him not her and she DID tell them abet a few weeks late). There is a bit more as well.


Anyway my question at last. I know she should have gotten the situation clear at the beginning and in writing, but can the agency put her into debt like that? shouldn't THEY have clarified that it was expected my ex would pay the rent back even though they have called it a temporary rent reduction in emails? I didn't think it was possible to put someone into debt without their written agreement?

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oh forgot to say, initially they had the amount owed as much lager, they had messed up their calculations. Also they haven't replied to emails for several weeks leaving her not knowing what on earth was going on, and in some replies they have completely ignored her questions.

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If she signed a tenancy agreement, she's liable to pay the amount of rent according to that agreement. The fact that the landlord agreed she could pay what she could for a while does not mean she's not liable to pay the arrears due during the reduction period. In short, she's owes the rent arrears unless there was a change to the tenancy agreement. She should now pay the rent due each month plus an amount to reduce the arrears as she is at risk of eviction for those arrears.


She could complete a benefit check to find out if she's entitled to any benefits. There are benefit checkers online such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo. She might be able to backdate the claim for a month if she has a good reason she hasn't claimed her entitlement before.

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13 hours ago, workaholicandy said:

The director refused to leave and kept harassing her for almost 1.5hours.

Whoa there!


Lets get this straight.. Man in single woman's house, asked to leave but refuses? 


She should have called the police.. Is there any proof that he was in the house?.  This is damning the police should take this extremely seriously. It doesn't matter what the pretext is. 


Frankly if he'd done that to my wife or daughter a £1000 debt would have been the least of his problems.



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