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Is modifications in a standard AST legally binding for non payment of rent ? **RESOLVED**


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Posted (edited)

I have rented my house to a company who use it to house people. Recently the flat roof developed a leak and they asked me to fix it which I did the next day. 6 months later I get a bill for £1900 for scaffolding, various surveys for some tiles they replaced. My roofer was on the same roof and did not see any tiles out. 

 

They are now deducting the £1,900 from the rent due. This is absolutely ridiculous as I got the work done and they never gave me notice about the tiles. They said it was the flat roof which I got fixed. 

 

Now my question is can they do this? I know a tenant can't as they need to pay the rent. But can they do this considering they have their own 20 page tenancy in place covering them for everything. 

Edited by axil23
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  • axil23 changed the title to Is modifications in a standard AST legally binding for non payment of rent ?
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I have rented my house to a company who use it to house people.

 

I think you are going to have to expand on this if you want practical advice. Who is the company what type of rental agreement do you have with the company ?  Does your agreement allow for them to do their own repairs ? Does your agreement allow them to deduct costs from the rental income ? What arrangements do you have in the agreement for subletting ?

 

You was not informed of the repairs which were required nor was you given any advance notice with quotations ?

 

Andy

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Hi

 

I have to agree you need to give us more information to assist you and I assume you are the Landlord please correct me if I am wrong.

 

I assume you are using a Letting Agency to rent out your Property and if so you as the Landlord would have signed an Agreement with that Letting Agency. (Can you confirm this and name the Letting Agency)

 

You need to have a good read of the Agreement that you signed with that Letting Agency and specifically any clauses in it to do with repairs and maintenance.

 

Could you clarify that it is a Flat Roof we are on about and what the Flat Roof is made of as you mention Tiles. (is the flat roof tiled)

 

If their is water penetration into the property by the Roof in a rented property whether it be social housing or private rented by law it need to be Wind & Watertight so the Letting Agency you used would have need to take action to repair this issue.

 

As for the costs involved as you are the Landlord you are entitled to aske them for copies of the invoices from the companies they use for the entire repair to this roof (scaffolders/roofers etc.) and for clarification if these specific companies are on the Letting Agencies books for these types of repairs.

 

As I have said you need to have a good read of the Agreement you signed with this Letting Agency.

 

(note: I use the words Letting Agency as I am only assuming that is who you have use to rent out your property until you clarify this)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry about that. So I am a LL and have rented the property directly to Mears who use it to house Asylum Seekers. 

 

They informed me on the 7th of June about a leak in the flat roof (no tiles) I sent someone the next day to look at it and got the work done on the 11th of June. Kept them updated on the both the visit to inspect the damage and once repair was done. Got email reply back from them on the inspection visit (8th June) to allow visit but never heard back from them once I informed them on the 11th that the work was done. I wasn't too worried by this as they never reply to emails normally.

 

I get a bill from them in December for £1,800. I asked them what this was for and they advised that it was for the repair to the main part of the roof (replacement of tiles) I was never advised of this. I have all communication on email there was nothing discussed via phone calls

 

The contract states that I need to fix any roof issues within 5 days. I did it within 4 days and sent email confirmation of the same. 

 

They are now saying the roof was inspected on the 10th of June and works were found to be not done so they got them done. This was 3 days after the email from them to notify me of pending work. Their own contract states that I get 5 days to get roof work done. 

 

 I was advised it was a leaking flat roof. The repair bill I have got is for fixing the tiles on the roof.  I was not told about the roof before any work was done to it? 

 

Their contract states the following - 

Quote
  1. To give written notice (save in case of emergency or urgent need in which case the Tenant shall be deemed to have the Landlord's authority to effect necessary repairs itself subject to the Tenant's right of set off) to the Landlord of any items to the Property whether structural or otherwise which require replacing by the Landlord and of any items of repair, maintenance defect or rectification to the Property whether structural or otherwise required to be undertaken by the Landlord in accordance with its covenants hereunder such notice to require the Landlord to attend and perform such repairs as soon as reasonably practicable but in any case, within the response times set out in Schedule Four hereof.

  2. 3.5  Should the Landlord fail to perform the said works within the notice period in accordance with its covenants hereunder the Tenant may undertake such works and any costs incurred by the Tenant will be a debt due from the Landlord payable on demand save that the Tenant may elect, following completion of the works, to serve the Landlord with a Notice of Set Off of the costs of such works together with a copy of the VAT invoice for the works and deduct the amount due from any sums payable to the Landlord at any stage. For the avoidance of doubt, any sums not set off will still be a debt due from the Landlord payable on demand.

 

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Have they included the original paperwork from the company that did  the work and the scaffolding company that hired the scaffold ?

Have you had a visual check to see if any work has been carried out on the main tiled roof ?

 

 

 

.

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They have sent me their own bill with a breakdown of the costs. Not any of the original bills. 

 

Yeah I have been and can't see any work that was done. Although its been 6 months now so the work could have blended in? 

 

But my points are - 

 

1. I was asked to fix flat roof via email. I fixed flat roof. Was not informed about the tiles at anytime until now. My roofer did a visual inspection of the roof then and did not find any issues. I have this in writing from him. 

2. I did the work within the given timescales. 

3. They informed me 7th and actioned the work on the 10th themselves which was before the 5 days as per contract. 

 

Honestly £1,800 to replace a few tiles is day light robbery. They are now not paying me rent so in arrears. 

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Well ask them for all the original paperwork so you can speak to the companies concerned......check reports and quotations etc etc..also advise them that they are in breach of the tenancy agreement by withholding rent and that you expect the rent to be paid by x date until this matter has been fully investigated and resolved.

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Posted (edited)

That was my original question. Can they withhold rent? In their tenancy it states the following. 

 

Quote

Should the Landlord fail to perform the said works within the notice period in accordance with its covenants hereunder the Tenant may undertake such works and any costs incurred by the Tenant will be a debt due from the Landlord payable on demand save that the Tenant may elect, following completion of the works, to serve the Landlord with a Notice of Set Off of the costs of such works together with a copy of the VAT invoice for the works and deduct the amount due from any sums payable to the Landlord at any stage. For the avoidance of doubt, any sums not set off will still be a debt due from the Landlord payable on demand.

 

In the past as a LL I have been advised that I can write what I want in a contract but in the end its the basic laws of AST's that will be used by the court. Is that true? 

Edited by axil23
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7 minutes ago, Andyorch said:

Well ask them for all the original paperwork so you can speak to the companies concerned......check reports and quotations etc etc..also advise them that they are in breach of the tenancy agreement by withholding rent and that you expect the rent to be paid by x date until this matter has been fully investigated and resolved.

 

But if I ask them for the original documents and start looking into that it means I admit the work was informed to me and pending. My stance at the present moment is that they failed to inform me about any tile work so I am not responsible for the work done. As per their own terms they need to inform me of work before doing it. 

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that is correct...you wasn't informed beforehand therefore they have not complied with the terms of the agreement. You are allowed to request the original documents its not an admittance or acceptance its the past no use informing you after the work has been completed nobody would pay out on word of mouth.

 

Are you VAT registered  do you have Building insurance you would need the original documents to make a possible claim...claim back VAT.

Have you spoken to the neighbor's and asked was there any scaffolding erected on such a date and was any work carried out on the main roof ?

 

 

 

.

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1 hour ago, axil23 said:

That was my original question. Can they withhold rent? In their tenancy it states the following. 

 

 

In the past as a LL I have been advised that I can write what I want in a contract but in the end its the basic laws of AST's that will be used by the court. Is that true? 

What about this? Are they allowed to withhold rent?  
 

Thank you Andyorch. You have been so helpful. 

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Under no circumstances must rent be withheld...the repairs are a separate matter and have yet to be verified or decided if it was lawful for the tenant to carry them out without your knowledge.

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On 07/01/2022 at 13:55, Andyorch said:

Under no circumstances must rent be withheld...the repairs are a separate matter and have yet to be verified or decided if it was lawful for the tenant to carry them out without your knowledge 

Perfect. Thanks. 
 

Will update once I hear back from them. 

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Hi

 

I agree if it is in your Agreement you signed that they need to inform you of repairs now the but have you read the Agreement fully and their are no clauses in which they can take immediate action to carry out repairs then inform you afterwards.

 

Remember the Property needs to be Wind & Watertight. So this Letting Agency may try to play it was an Emergency Repair (so what does your Agreement say in these circumstances again look very closely at it and any clauses)

 

 

I would also ask the Person you employed to inspect and repair the roof if they could write a letter for you confirming on XX/XX/2021 they inspected both the Flat/Tiled Roof and what their finding were and the action they took to repair the issues they found.

 

You as the Landlord are also totally entitled to ask the Letting Agency for copies of the quotes from scaffolders/Roofers and the original Invoices for the work carried out and by who.

 

I would also ask them why you were not informed of these works beforehand for your approval especially with a cost of £1800 for these works and where is states in the Agreement that you signed this can be done by yourselves without the Landlord approval.

 

To clarify rent being withheld:

 

1. If we are on about the Tenant of the Property they cannot withhold Rent as it would them place them in the position of Breaching their Tenancy Agreement with the Letting Agency/Landlord.

 

2. If we are on about the Letting Agency withholding the Rent Payments to you the Landlord until this Bill of £1800 for the Roof repairs is paid they would also be wrong to withhold these as the repairs are a separate matter but you need to check you Agreement for any clauses about this.

 

Check this Letting Agencies website to see what Bodies they are Registered Members with and look them up and have a close look at the Code of Conduct they need to follow and just think to yourself have they followed it as you read it. If their is something they haven't note it and check that member complaint procedure.

 

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It’s Mears group who have the house from me directly. They use it to house asylum seekers from a govt contract that they have. 
 

I have looked at carefully at the agreement and it gives me 5 days to get work done for slipped tiles. I did the work and emailed them confirmation within 4 days. 
 

it’s the withholding rent part that I am not happy with. As this could take weeks to resolve. 

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Chief operating officer of Mears says company didn’t carry out vulnerability assessments before moving trafficking victims and pregnant women into hotel accommodation – then claims it did

 

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Since I know I have done everything by their rule book. Can I charge them any late payment or fees to send out reminder letters? I can't right? 

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Hi

 

Have they actually sent you anything in writing that they are withholding rent payments until the invoice for the repairs of £1800 is paid?

 

Are the rent payments generally paid on time to yourself? (until this issue with repairs)

 

How late are the payments & amount?

 

 

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No they haven't sent anything. It was only once I questioned them about the missing rent this month that I got a email back to say its being withheld till the invoice is cleared. 

Yes the payments are normally on time. As of now they are one month late. 

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Hi

 

To answer your question:

 

If the Tenants of your Property have paid their Rent on time to Mears and it is Mears withholding these Rents Payment to yourself you would need to very careful in serving a Section 8 Notice to those Tenants of your Property for a Dispute that is to do with Mears and not those Tenants.

 

What Grounds would you use for seeking possession on the Section 8 Notice?

 

Are the Tenants of your Property actually in Rent Arrears?  (or is it Mears withholding that rent to you the landlord which is not the Tenants problem)

 

As said if this is to do with the dispute over the £1800 bill for the roof repairs with Mears that you are considering this route I would advise you to think carefully as this is via Mears dealing with Asylum Seekers who rent your property via Mears. Mears could take a stand on behalf of those Tenants and claim it is retaliation as the issue is to do with Mears not those Tenants.

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On my AST the tenant is listed as "Mears Limited" so I assumed they are are the ones who would need to pay the rent and not the people actually living in the property since I don't know who they are. 

 

The tenants are not actually paying rent to Mears who have a govt contract so are getting the money direct. I have noticed there have been a few different tenants in the last 2 years. 

 

Ground would be 2 months in arrears. 

 

 

 

Edited by axil23
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axil23

 

From what you posted so far

 

Your dispute is with "Mears Limited" and not the tenants.

 

If the tenants are paying rent direct to "Mears Limited" under the agreement, they would be the landlords and have to serve s8 grounds 8 and 10.

 

Think if you serve s8, case would just get thrown out of court

 

Sounds like only a solicitor is going to be able to sort this for you...

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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But my AST on the property is with Mears. 

 

On the AST it states "

"The Tenant"
Mears Limited of Innova House, Kinetic Crescent" 

 

So aren't they the tenant? If they don't pay me they are the ones late on the rent? 

 

This isn't an estate agency whose contract states they will collect rent from tenant and pay to me. The tenant is Mears. 

 

 

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There seems to be a misunderstanding here on this topic, this is no normal situation of Landlord/tenants and rent arrears.....

 

Please read my Post #16. 

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  • stu007 changed the title to Is modifications in a standard AST legally binding for non payment of rent ? **RESOLVED**

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