OpenRent Community

Scaffolding - tenant asking for rent reduction

Hi everyone!

Tenants in a 1-bed flat in London have asked for a 20% rent reduction due to scaffolding being erected outside the building for remedial works, expected to be there for the remainder of the year (4 months). May I ask the veteran landlords whether 1) this is a reasonable request, and 2) whether we should draw up a new tenancy agreement stating the revised monthly rent, or whether the rent reduction should only apply to those months that the scaffolding is up hence causing inconvenience?

Your advice would be, as always, much appreciated!
Thank you so much in advance…

Miyako

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No need to reduce rents as it would be mentioned in contract that remedial works are to be allowed. Check your rental agreement properly.

As a goodwill you can reduce a bit if you like.

how is the scaffold ouside a problem ? Do they come in thru the window?

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They say that the obstruction of their view and the noise coming from the works are bothersome now that they are working from home most of the time. Is that good enough a reason for tenants to have their rent reduced? I am a bit reluctant to give them too much of a reduction, but also conscious that I am going to have a tough time renting out the place to new tenants while the scaffolding is still on. Difficult to weight everything up!

Did you advertise the property as having a view as a feature? If not, scaffolding shouldn’t be an issue. Was the property advertised as a good potential work space? If not, their working location is not your issue to resolve. If their regular office had work going on around it, do you think their employer would provide an income boost, which is effectively what they’re asking for? I’d look at it another way. Their search for a new place & the associated move would be ridiculously hassle ridden just because there’s work going on. If they are that shallow, they aren’t stayers anyway. They’ll be off as soon as they see something that their whim takes them to anyway. I’d explain that the works don’t get you a reduction in costs, so passing one on is impractical. If you give in, there will only be something else down the line that will bring up the same request. This type of tenant always makes me say to myself that there will be a pattern of behaviour building, if I allow it to build. I’d rather get rid than give in. It sounds counter intuitive but these behavioural patters do build. I’d hold the position. There is a shortage of housing nationally. I’d bet you’ll rent it out to a new tenant for way more than the 80% your current tenant is proposing.

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I’m guessing you are the owner of an individual flat rather than the freeholder of the block. What does your own lease say about service charge reductions for maintenance work etc. You could then pass these reduction (if any) on. Can tthese tenants substantiate their 20% claim? Point out to them that if they move to another flat there is no guarantee they’ll get a refund there should simimlar works be carried out in their new place. You may consider a refund of some sort as a gesture of goodwill but like Deborah_Phillip says above you’ve got a tenant attitude problem building up. Let them leave.

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Dear all, thank you so much for your opinions and insights! Much appreciated :slight_smile: I am finding it tricky as I am not in the same city as these tenants at the moment. Yes, I am a leaseholder owner of a flat in a block, and to be fair I would find it hard to find new tenants given the circumstances. So in the end, I’ve caved in (!) and gave them a 10% discount for the duration of the works. Thank you all for your advice.

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10% sounds fair to me

Why would you reduce the rent? Would the bank reduce your mortgage?

because it shows you are not a greedy landlord and not all here have mortgages

Whoa. Just because someone makes a sensible, sustainable business decision does not erego equal greed. Unless of course you’re charging an exhorbitant rent in the first place. Where does this perception that landlords are greedy come from? And why perpetuate that perception? I’m guessing you’re a tenant, not a landlord.

Wrong .! I am a landlord of 40 years. I have been a builder for 50 years and worked for many landlords . Some have admitted to me that they are greedy so thats where the perception (reality) comes from

As a compassionate landlord I would go halfway and suggest a 10 percent reduction for 3 months.
It’s so important to have a good relationship with your tenants.
In fact the tenancy condition etc is agreed as of how it was when they moved in.

Thanks @Chris50 for your comment, I did indeed offer the tenants to meet halfway. That way I think we have come to a reasonable compromise, I’ve shown them that I appreciate them as tenants (because they really have been lovely tenants so far) and that I understand where they are coming from in terms of deteriorated living and working conditions. Nobody could have predicted Covid and the increased need for WFH, so I don’t want to be so black and white either, yet I don’t want to be taken for granted either…! Tricky times isn’t it?

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Hi we had a similar situ that a developer was building next door. Oddly enough nobody got a council ‘Planning notice‘ mmmmmm
I returned from holiday to a call from Tenant complaining the rear garden fencing was taken down and access to a building site and fires! Not to mention lorries blocking her driveway. I visited shocked and asked Site foreman who and why was our fence removed with requesting permission… never thought was the response!! I requested a meeting with developer. He arrived with donuts!!! I’m not bought off that cheap!
He then said he would be putting scaffold down the side of my land for access to roof and his building wall. Firstly … ASK POLITELY FIRST… then when I expressed concern for our tenant as she had a disabled baby. I suggested he made a contribution to her rent for inconvenience. I don’t want to profit, but she is severely inconvenienced. He replied saying ‘no’. Long story short… when he knew I could refuse access for his scaffold on my land. He decided to agree to pay 30% of her rent for as long as it was erected in my land. Paid direct to Tenant. He paid the 1st month and no more. He damaged the front door taking scaffold down 6 months later. I took him to court and he didn’t show up but court ( with photo evidence). Was found in our favour and costs too. Not an easy task but I won and gave the money to the tenant! Plus my door was repaired. So be strong!!

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