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What is rent in advance? asks tenant

What does rent in advance mean?Here is a blog clinic question from Frank who is a tenant:

Hello! I’m glad I found this website because I have some difficulties to understand the word “rent in advance” in UK (I’m from France). My contract goes from 22th of October 2011 to 21th of April 2012. The part of the contract regarding this is the following:

” The tenant agrees to pay the Rent in advanced by 4 weeks in the following instalments namely a first payment of £1800 on the signature of this Agreement and thereafter the sum of £450 per calendar week commencing on the Friday of each week to 21th of April 2012.”

What I understand is: I have to pay £1800 at the signature and I don’t have to pay anything until the 5th week because I paid that money in advance… But my landlord expects me to pay these 4 first weeks and explain me that “advance” means that he always have 4 weeks front, so I have to pay each week until the end and then I won’t have to pay the last 4 weeks. Nice… But the contract don’t mention this at all so I’m a bit lost. Is that way to pay so standard that it doesn’t have to be mention on the contract or am I right if I refuse to pay the 4 first weeks, considering that I already paid for it?

Under the general law, ie if your landlord did not provide a tenancy agreement, rent is payable in arrears.  However if they use a tenancy agreement, landlords can require tenants to pay rent in advance.  So this means that, if rent is paid monthly and is payable on the first day of the month (for example), the tenant pays rent rent for, say June, on the 1st June rather than on 1 July.

What your landlord is doing is asking for two months rent in advance.  However, you are quite right, the tenancy agreement does not actually say that, other than for the initial payment.  So I don’t see why you should not refuse to pay the second months rent, on the basis that you have already paid it.

What does anyone else think?

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2 Responses to What is rent in advance? asks tenant

  1. If the landlord had specified a start date for the weekly payments (ie: one week after the start date) then the rent would always be paid 4 weeks ahead of the period to which it relates. But would that be treated as taking a deposit without putting it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme?

  2. Normal rent payable in advance as opposed to being paid in arrears, is not a deposit as by the end of the month it will be used up as rent.

    However in situations such as that which the landlord in the question is trying to set up, the rent COULD be taken as a deposit, and I think there are cases where the Judge has found this.

    So the proposals put forward by some people to try to avoid taking a deposit by having two months rent paid in advance don’t always work. It depends on how they are set up – but any setup is vulnerable.



About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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