This game is all about agreement between parties and what a third party (Citizens Advice, Lawyer, Court) might consider a reasonable or unreasonable clause. I have three suggestions.
Bite the bullet and anticipate your rent will be paid up to 4 days late where both weekends and bank holidays get in the way and your rent was due on the Friday. (Bad luck but doesn’t often happen!)
You could negotiate with your tenant applicant, suggesting rent is set by standing order to leave their account 3 days prior to when it must be received latest. This approach would accommodate weekends and bank holidays (mostly) and ensures they do not inadvertently default.
4 days would be even better but I can’t help thinking that feels a bit too cheeky, especially since you will mostly be getting paid early.
For those landlords who might feel uncomfortable with this, a third option is to advise your new tenants which is the latest date -month on month- to accommodate weekends and bank holidays while still paying last-minute but without incurring a default position. To do this, get your diary out and look where weekends/bank holidays interfere with your due date. This method by which to pay is no longer called a ‘standing order’ but is technically referred to as an ‘automatic bill payment’ i.e. once the dates for each month are manually instructed to their bank, it is dealt with automatically thereafter. If you employ this strategy, you may need to alter the wording in your AST (Tenancy Agreement) regarding payment method.
The third option is the most precise if not pedantic but you run the risk of it going pear-shaped if -and by that I mean ‘when’- your tenant forgets to instruct the bank of further payment dates towards the end of the initial Fixed Term. Nothing wrong with emailing them the new dates, however, but you’ll need to diarise that or you will forget yourself.
This third option is fairly high maintenance, frankly and may be interpreted as a little ‘over-the-top’ or even intimidating. It may also be a potential problem for tenants because they won’t have memorised a specific and unchanging date when the money leaves their account. I would only consider using this one where the tenant applicant has expressed anxiety about rent being paid late because of these pesky weekends and bank holidays. I have to say, it is the option that has the greatest potential to inadvertently trip either of you up.
The genius of theory over practice?!
Three options, however. No reason why you can’t discuss these with your tenants. What you want are tenants who care that they are not late with the rent and are happy to take responsibility that that means ‘date you receive’ not ‘date it is sent.’
True to say, some tenants worry about being late with their rent and may well prefer the ‘three days prior to being due’ option. But, it is arguably challengeable.
The easiest option is to ‘bite the bullet.’
I present three options because we’re all different as are our applicants.
For those interested… what do I do myself?
I assess whether the tenant applicant is happy to set up a standing order three days prior (it is their responsibility to make plans to pay on time after all) and so far, they always have been so and it has not caused me any issues. My AST firms the logic of it up by reminding signatories that responsibility for rent to be received by the landlord account by ‘due date latest’ is theirs and not that of the bank or any other third party.