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In October 2016 we have rented a lovely house through an agency and , while negotiating , the landlord proposed that after one year the rent should increase with the RPI value. We accepted but with a modified release clause, that instead of 18 months it could be triggered after 12 months, if the increase would be too steep for our finances to be able to walk away from the agreement.

In October 2017 when this clause should have been put in place nobody remembered, neither landlord or property management or us , for that matter. Therefore we continued to pay the same amount of rent through DD, nobody told us otherwise.

In 2018, August, when we've terminated the tenancy agreement early, the landlord looked into the contract and wanted to know why the increase was not proposed and, rightfully so, holds the letting agency to account for negligence and in breach of their duty of care.

Now the letting agency wants us to pay,RETROACTIVELY , the increase from October 2017 until August 2018 when we vacated the property, approximately 630 GBP. His argument is at least thin, to say the least, based on a personal interpretation of the expression ‘’ without further notice’’ from the following clause of tenancy agreement : 30.3 Notwithstanding clause 2 (“the Rent”) detailed above it is further agreed between the Parties that the Rent payable for the first year of the Tenancy shall be increased on 22nd October 2017 by the same percentage as the Retail Price Index (RPI) shall have risen over the first year of the Tenancy subject to a minimum of 1% and a maximum of 5% and without further notice

There is no precedent where ‘’no further notice’’ was successfully used to base an argument for retrospective reinforcement of a clause. This is also in breach of our consumer rights, as at this moment when the amount is tried to be reinforced upon us, there are no other choices to which we could possibly adhere.

The property management is continuously lying, stating that the landlord seeks compensation from us, tenants, not the agency therefore the deposit cannot be returned until the issue is solved and reffered the case to TDS. My question is: do they have a case and I might lose 630 pounds? What should I consider sending to TDS to support my case?

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    It may help to talk to Citizen's Advice ... they may be able to advise whether or not the landlord's and Management Company's failure to notice/enforce the rise allows you to not pay it. – TripeHound Sep 4 '18 at 8:14
  • Who has your deposit? Note - gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection - OK so just saw your final comment, if you've paid via DD I would argue that whoever has set up and maintained the DD is at fault, ie not you! As DD payee you have no control over the amounts take, the beneficiary of the DD should have written to advise the rent was going up and by how much and the DD would therefore be amended, sounds to me like the agent is at fault and is trying to cover their mistakes by getting you to pay for it. IANAL! – davidjwest Sep 4 '18 at 11:49
  • To help your case with the TDS, send them copies of your redacted bank statements, showing the rental DD leaving your account every month covering the period you were in the property. This shows you paid the rent on time every month, if you can get a screenshot showing it was a DD then you have a reasonably good case but it's not watertight as there is some wriggle room with how the agreement is interpreted. As your landlord states, the agent has been negligent, who pays for their negligence is another matter. – davidjwest Sep 4 '18 at 12:13
  • OK, so I re-read your post, my bad, I think you're fine as you specifically asked for a clause that allows you to terminate if there's a rent increase that's too steep for your finances. You have a copy of this? If so tell the agent to whistle. :) – davidjwest Sep 4 '18 at 14:26
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It doesn't sound like the rent increase needed to be "proposed", it sounds like you already agreed to it in the lease. It is in place.

Therefore your payments have been short.

You can make an argument that you relied in good faith on the paperwork they provided showing you were current on payments, which would likely secure you time to pay without invoking penalties, and the landlord can go after the management company for whatever reasonable costs he incurred from the delays. You shouldn't have to pay any penalties here. But I doubt you will get out of paying the rent you agreed to.

(I am not a lawyer, nor British, but we Americans share the principles of common law)

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    I agree. IANAL (nor British), but "the Rent payable … shall be increased on 22nd October 2017" seems pretty clear to me it was a requirement, not an option. – Kevin Sep 4 '18 at 5:54
  • Not a fan of this answer because it basically tells OP they should give up without a fight. Yes, the argument herein is reasonable. But there are many reasonable arguments, and this is not the only one. I do practice in the US law system which is, after all, derived from the English. You're not supposed to talk yourself into losing. You're supposed to bring your best fight. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 4 '18 at 17:10
  • It sounds to me like they breached the agreement by failing to increase the rent as agreed. Why can't he also go after the management company for whatever reasonable costs he incurred from their mistake? – David Schwartz Sep 4 '18 at 22:26
  • @DavidSchwartz: I did say that the landlord should go after the management company for the costs resulting from their mistake. Money in six months is not worth as much as money nine months ago, and the management company is the only party responsible for that difference. But most likely after review, OP is still going to have to make up the missing rent, sans penalty. – Ben Voigt Sep 5 '18 at 0:43
  • @BenVoigt Why don't you think the management company is liable for any losses the OP sustained as a result of what you seem to concede is its negligence just as it is responsible for any losses the landlord sustained? – David Schwartz Sep 5 '18 at 1:51
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I've made a few comments so will provide an answer.

No, you are not liable for a penny as you specifically asked for the contract to be amended SO YOU COULD TERMINATE IT IF THERE WAS A RENT INCREASE.

You need to dig out your contract and see exactly how that was worded, but from the information provided the agent cannot retrospectively apply a rent increase and expect you to pay it. The agent has made an error (I am assuming your Direct Debit is to the agent?) and you have no control over that, only the beneficiary of a DD can amend the amount debited.

Tell the agent that you want your deposit back NOW and they have no right to delay this, furnish the TDS with a copy of this letter to hurry things along. Send them a copy of the rental agreement highlighting the clause relating to early termination in the event of a rent increase.

Your landlord needs to seek compensation from the agent, who has been negligent and not you as you have done nothing wrong.

I would also contact the TDS directly asking for your deposit back, you are certain they actually do have your deposit?

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    "you specifically asked for the contract to be amended SO YOU COULD TERMINATE IT IF THERE WAS A RENT INCREASE." There was a rent increase, and the OP had the opportunity to look at the RPI, determine that the rent had increased, and terminate. – Acccumulation Sep 4 '18 at 20:09
  • The rent increase was retrospective so they didn't have that opportunity. – davidjwest Sep 5 '18 at 9:34
  • No, the rent increase wasn't retroactive, it was stated up front. – Acccumulation Sep 5 '18 at 15:59
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Given the stakes (or to be more precise the lack of high enough stakes to justify hiring of a lawyer), it is perfectly reasonable for OP to self-represent at this matter. Everyone expects that. Some folks are making the path seem "fraught with danger" as if the wrong word said will cost them dearly. That's simply not true. OP's downside risk is only the £630 in play.

The way the English law works is, you bring every argument that is not patently unreasonable. When you are a pro-se litigant, the general practice of most courts is to be very forgiving on simple mistakes, like bringing an argument that is contradicted by a law you wouldn't know about.

No argument is perfect. Every argument has chinks, and those chinks can be identified and criticized by some oh-so-clever person from the Internet. It's fair to weigh that criticism. But don't get sucked in! Don't you dare become a shrinking violet afraid to raise a point because it isn't perfect enough. That timidity is a guaranteed lose. The system (especially toward pro-se litigants) requires that you raise every argument that makes sense. The system literally does not work if you don‘t.


There's an issue of timeliness. When the landlord accepted the rent checks as written, that's it - that's the rent accepted. If they didn't like that rent, they had an obligation to tell you the rent was short and that you need to make it up. That applied in October 2017. They were not timely providing you this notice in October 2017.

The argument I would make to the TDS is it's now too late. If you were paying too little rent, that means your rent was short every month from Oct 2017 to Aug 2018, getting shorter and shorter each month to where it became a significant fraction of the rent. And yet, they never noticed you of a single one of them. That defies belief; no reasonable landlord operates that way.

The landlord forgot about the increase, and that means both landlord and tenant agree the increase did not apply.

  • Whether they had an obligation to demand making up the rent depends on the contract. On my lease, the landlord doesn't have to demand the rent, I simply have to pay it. Of course, that doesn't permit them to tell me they've received payment in full, and later change their mind. – Ben Voigt Sep 4 '18 at 2:49
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    Also, you assume the landlord has a contract written by a moron. Any decent contract will contain protective clauses that changes have to be in writing signed by both parties, in which case" acceptance of a check" is NOT acceptance of a different rent. – TomTom Sep 4 '18 at 8:27
  • I'm not trying to predict how it'll come out. I am trying to help OP make their best argument. In English style law you don't only make arguments that are perfect; you make every argument that has a fair chance to stick. You simply do not know how the judge will weight the arguments or why. The fact that my argument is challengeable, fine. But plaintiffs should not be "shrinking violets”, they should raise any point in their favor. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 4 '18 at 16:08
  • @Harper It's dangerous to suggest that the OP makes arguments that have little chance of success. – DJClayworth Sep 4 '18 at 17:04
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    Given the stakes, (or to be more precise, the lack of them) it is absolutely reasonable and prudent for this to be a self-help case. OP should be a pro-se litigant, should bring every argument to the table that is not unreasonable, and should not shrink back into self-censorship. That is how English law works. Generally, jurists do what they can to give latitude to pro-se litigants (who aren't jerks), forgive novice procedural errors, etc. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 4 '18 at 17:19
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It depends.

I do not know about British law, but in Germany, the increased rent has to be told to the renting party, as thes index values are not necessarily known to the rentin party resp. they cannot be expected to look it up on their own.

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