Common sense prevails in recent rent in advance case

Published: 10/05/2013

Landlords can breathe a sigh of relief after The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of a landlord in a recent case debating upfront rent and tenancy deposits.

The case in question involved landlord, Mr Johnson and his tenant, Ms Old who alleged that a payment of six months’ rent was in fact a deposit.

Despite an initial claim and subsequent appeal, the verdict ruled in favour of Mr Johnson, maintaining the tenancy agreement did require that the first six months’ rent be paid in advance on or before 1st May 2010.

The verdict is not only a relief to Mr Johnson, who would have been liable for 18 months worth of rent plus a penalty of up to three times that, but for landlords as a whole. It also highlights the importance of clear, concise tenancy agreements as GW LET lawyer, Rob Denman, comments:

“Asking for an advance of rent is quite a common practice for landlords, particularly if they are letting property to a tenant whose has poor credit references or has a history of late payment or even rent arrears.

“However if a landlord is requesting advance rent, it is essential that this is recorded in the tenancy agreement in an unambiguous manner, written in a way that everyone can understand. I believe this whole case could have avoided litigation if the tenancy agreement had been better drafted.

“There are a number of free, basic tenancy agreements available for landlords to download online. However given the importance of this document, it is our advice to landlords that they have tenancy agreements written by a legal or letting professional.”

Content correct at time of publication

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