Newbie to this forum (I joined just to ask this one question, so I hope you can help!)
I am renting a room in an HMO through a lettings agency. The contract I signed was the Residential Landlords Assoc standard “Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for Renting Out Rooms Individially”. No problems, so far, with anything.
In the contract, the rent has been set at £160 per week. Importantly, the contract provides options to set a rent amount for every calendar month, every 4 weeks, every 2 weeks or every 1 week. The agency definitely ticked the box that said “every 1 week”.
My rent is paid through Universal Credit Housing Allowance, and initially payments went straight to the lettings agency (meaning they were not paid to my bank account). Because the money comes direct from the government, there was no need to pay a deposit.
However, at one point I noticed that the amount being transferred was £693.33 per month, on the first day of every month. Now, £693.33 x 12 (months) divided by 52 (weeks) does in fact equal £160, so I have no problems with the calculation. However, I moved in on the 9th of July, and the agency received their first FULL PAYMENT of £693.33 on the 1st of August. This is an OVERPAYMENT to the agency, and no corrections have ever been made (ie the government keep blindly paying £693.33 per month, no questions asked).
For the last few months, I have asked for my Housing Benefit to be paid directly to me, and I have then in turn obediently paid £693.33 to the agency on the 1st of every month. However, I have kept a record of every payment made, and currently there is an overpayment to the agency of £159.97. (In fact, as at today’s actual date, the overpayment is £182.89).
I shall be leaving the area soon to start work, and will be giving a month’s notice as required. When I leave, I intend to only pay the landlord for the days I have lived here, based on a price of £22.86 per day (£160 per week) as in the contract. So I intend to deduct the overpayment, even though no mention of this has ever been made by the agency, the Landlord, or myself. I will furnish the agency with my calculations, so they can see how I arrived at the final payment figure.
I’m not trying to dodge any payments, but nor am I happy to pay the agency (or the landlord) for days I have not used.
Can anyone please confirm the legal standpoint?
Thank you in advance for your help.