When a day is too late

Leases can contain a lot of detailed procedures, some of which lay down time limits.  A good example is rent review – that’s the procedure for the landlord having the rent reassessed every so often, to keep pace with changes in the rental market.

Not all leases have the same rent review procedures, but here’s the sort of problem that some leases can cause.  The landlord gets things going by serving a formal notice proposing the new level of rent at £15,000.  Maybe the true market level would be £10,000, but obviously the landlord’s going to go in high.  The tenant counter-proposes £9,500.

Normally, if they couldn’t agree, after those opening shots, they could have the rent fixed by an independent third party.  But what if the lease says that the tenant’s counter-proposal must be made within two months, and as it happened the tenant was a day late?  You might say, what difference does a day make?  But some leases say that if the tenant misses the deadline, then he’s stuck with the landlord’s figure, and can’t dispute it.

If your landlord or his agent contacts you about rent review, you’ve got to dig the lease out immediately and check whether there are any deadlines you need to comply with. It can be a very expensive mistake otherwise.

Author: Mark Shelton