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Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

WSP
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Lieu : Brussels
Inscription : 15-09-2011
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Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

I happen to be a Belgian landlord and syndic for a small building with three apartments. I have signed a 9 years contract last year with them

The template I used for signing the contract was  “contrat de bail de résidence principale pour un immeuble sis dans la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale
” <https://www.pim.be/telechargement/bail_principal_v2009_bruxelles.pdf>


As I wanted the apartment back for our own occupation, Our tenants vacated my apartment end of June, 10 months after their occupation.

They came back to me mid-July asking me to unblock rental guarantee held with the bank. I said I would do so once we settle the common charges. They claimed rental guarantee should not be held for settling common charges. The same day, they filed a counseling request withy Juge de Paix stating "landlord refusing to unblock rental guarantee" which is due for hearing next week


In the meantime, as the syndic, once I got accounting info from ISTA etc, I have sent a registered letter (this month Aug2012), with details of accounting(common charges) to both tenants. One of them accepted it while the other didn't. In that letter, I have clearly mentioned they have they possibility to see original invoices if they wish or meet me if they have any questions. I also gave them time until end of this month to pay overdue charges. So, I believe I have done everything legally required in terms finalizing building accounting for year 2011~2012.

They had the habit of not paying the rent or provisional common charges in time. They also didn't leave forwarding address when they left the apartment. The only  way I could find their present address and send accounting info was by looking at address specified by them in their counseling request sent to me by Judge de Pax office.

Tenants Calling me for counseling is not the first time either, this is already second time, in their 10 months stay with us.Honestly, I won't get charges overdue if I unblock the rental guarantee.


Summary is,
# I need to unblock rental guarantee from bank for 1600 euro from both tenants.
# They need to pay us 800 euro due based on their usage/consumption during the time of their occupation.
# I only stated to them (also mentioned din my account statement) that they can approach me to unblock rental guarantee once they have paid overdue charges. They were given option to consult invoices at the building or approach me for any question on accounting


-(1) Do I need to go for counseling-(Not easy for me as I am working out of the country on such counseling days)? ( I know it is NOT obligatory, from my past experience with them)
-(2) Is it legally right that landlord doesn't unblock rental guarantee until tenants settle overdue common charges?
-(3)Is there any legal time limit I should unblock rental guarantee even if they don't pay outstanding charges?

By the way, the tenants are Belgians, around 25 years of age, one or or both unemployed. They were living together when they occupied but they have already split up and not living together anymore two months before they vacated the house


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grmff
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Lieu : Sibulaga, Onatawani
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Given the trouble you have to go to conciliation, I would not go. I would send a letter to the judge to explain the situation.

As for the letter you want to send to your tenants, I would link the unblocking to the fact that they agree to pay the extracharges.

I would certainly NEVER unblock the warranty before everything is solved. The guys in front are eager to get their money? They can get it by signing the final agreement and "solde de tout compte".

Otherwhise, you will never get your money with such zozo.

So, don't write that you can unblock their warranty. You MUST explain the conditions.

They have a lawyer? So what? It's only conciliation. And you don't show any bad faith.


Grmf!
----------------
N'envie pas les autres. Tu ne sais pas ce que l'avenir leur réserve...

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WSP
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Thank you Grmff and Pnachita,


So, don't write that you can unblock their warranty. You MUST explain the conditions.

While sending break-up of expenses/bill or if I have an option to confirm their appointment, I will make sure to explain conditions for unblocking the guarantee

Also, the "girl"always CCes her lawyer (friend?), this is not the first time.
Few months ago she did the same complaining teh noise of door open/close for whcih I didn't respond at all

Also, they had a deadline to pay outstanding charges by 31st. So no wonder they want to buy time on 30th asking for more info.


Thanks you all so much smile


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grmff
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Also, the "girl"always CCes her lawyer (friend?), this is not the first time.

Why do you care?  I would not care about copy to whoever. It does not change anything: if she write to a lawyer, it doesn't change if you are right or wrong...

She just try to impress you (and apparently it works..) or to get reassured by the lawyer on the side.


Grmf!
----------------
N'envie pas les autres. Tu ne sais pas ce que l'avenir leur réserve...

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WSP
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Wonderful folks,

I need further help to close on this one. As a syndic, I have given accounting as per act de base and accounting practice done by professional syndics so far.

As a new landlord, there are certain things I do not know how to deal with it.
For instance, my tenant stayed with me for only 10 months in the last financial year.That brings question how to split some common costs.

While signing the Lease Contract  we clarified to tenant how accounting works and he has signed the folloiwng in the contract

En l'absence de compteur de passage pour l'eau de ville, le Preneur interviendra pour .....412/1000............... dans les frais de consommation.
De même, en cas d'installation de chauffage et de distribution d'eau chaude collectifs, avec absence de compteurs particuliers, le Preneur interviendra pour .............412/1000...............dans les frais de chauffage et pour .................................. dans les frais de distribution d'eau chaude.
Provision /(forfait stricken off here)  pour charges communes : ........85...........................................
Provision / forfait pour autres consommations : ..........................................................


[chauffage]
There is no problem with chaffauge as we switched on heating on in November when tenant was already there. We switched of heating system before the teant left.
ISTA was anyway taking Calorimeter readings and it is purely based on consumption. SO, there is no issue splitting the costs here. It is simply based on consumption as detailed by ISTA


[common electricity cost]
(1) If common electricty cost is 120 euro(412/1000 of total cost) for whole financial year ,(say 10 euro per month for their apartment), since the tenant only stayed for 10 months, should I charge 100 euro for 10 months and I bear the 20 euro as landlord?

[water cost]
There is no passage meter, no way to practically find actual consumtion. We have been splitting water cost by quotite part for 30 years now.

This has been clarified to tenant on signing the contract and he has signed that he will pay 412/1000 parts as quote part as contract clause cited above

(2) Since there is no way to identify per apartment water consumption, should I simply charge tenants X amount as per quote part, no matter if they have lived for 10 months and not full year (the apartment was empty , nobody living for remaining two months)?

(3) For the sake o delivery by supplier,  We always buy one palette of water softener tablets, say 40 bags once in two years. ONly half of tablets purchased will be used in a year. How to charge the teant now and how much I need to bear teh cost as landlord?

[miscellaneous cost]
There were miscellaneous costs like maintenance & purchasing plants etc for the common garden. We all cut the fencing ourselves, mow the small lawn ourselves etc and we don't normally bring external gardener. Although not in writing cited above on lease, we have verbally confirmed at the time of siging lease that tenant will pay 412/1000 of such costs for which he agreed to it.

(4) Now, since the tenant only stayed for for 10 months, if garden cost per year for their apartment is 120 euro(412/1000 of total cost), should I only charge 100 euro, cost for 10 months and bear the remaining 20 euro myself, as landlord?


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panchito
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Since they stayed only 10 months, you just need to invoice them the annual costs (service charge, maintenance, etc...) x 10/12.

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grmff
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

I agree with Panchito


Grmf!
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N'envie pas les autres. Tu ne sais pas ce que l'avenir leur réserve...

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WSP
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Messages : 83

Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Thank you folks.

Hope to sort it out soon. Also clarifying with them what they disagree and what exact documents they want.

sub:Demande de justificatifs

Suite à votre courrier recommandé concernant le décompte de frais, nous vous informons que nous contestons les montants repris et vous demandons de nous envoyer au plus vite tous les justificatifs des frais détaillés dans ce courrier.

Bien à vous,

Will send revised and final bill once I receive their side of story.Will reiterate again I am available on so and so data to unblock guarantee provided common charges and amounts due to me as written by expert are settled.

Else, will unblock the rest of guarantee minus pending charges and damage charges as confirmed by expert


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grmff
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Else, will unblock the rest of guarantee minus pending charges and damage charges as confirmed by expert

Usually, banks don't allow partial unblocking.

And partial unblocking is not a good option: once they have nothing tho gain, why should they help you in any way?

In French: "Tant qu'il n'y a pas d'accord sur tout, il n'y a d'accord sur rien"

(Till there is no agreement on everything, there is no agreement on anything)


Grmf!
----------------
N'envie pas les autres. Tu ne sais pas ce que l'avenir leur réserve...

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WSP
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Grmff!

Got it. I had that concern too. While providing appointments to unblock guarantee, I will specify following condition

Please be aware I won’t be able to unblock rental guarantee if overdue common charges and damage charges specified by expert are not settled.


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panchito
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

However some lawyers requires to unlock the "inconstestablement dû" in front of the Judge.

They don't care if some banks accept that or not...

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WSP
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Thank You Panchito & Grmff,

That was the statement my tenants told me hwne they wanted me to unblock rental guarentee early in July, when acounting was not done yet, agreeing to pay expert damage fee 54 euro":

"Rental guarantee should not be linked to common charge settlement.
They also said they needed money to lease anew apartment"

But as, a landlord, I was not sure if I would ever be able to pursue after them for pending arrears without something in my hand. The only hold for me was rental guarantee, especially they didn't even leave a forwarding address when they left. They even seem to fought with the expert for charging them 54 euros for not filling the 30 holes  they made to put the curtains. Such kind of people are they.

I see no intention at all from them settling common charges, if I have released the guarantee

At the end of the day, They have to pay overdue charges of 800 euro and a bank account for 1650 euro needs to be released by me.

The points I have in my favor if they go to a lawyer/judge are:

(1) They didn't leave me a forwarding address (had to find that from thier conciliation request)
(2) I have registered letter proof showing their absurd payment record, delay in paying rent or common charges. They were not dependable and stick to their commitments as per contract in term s of paying rent or common charges in time

The only point which may be against me are

(a) I had to buy a palette of  water softeners (40 bags) during their lease tenure. Reason to buy a palette of 40 bags was to let the delivery happen for an affordable price. In a sense, 20 bags or a palette costs the same for delivery. I am only a honorary syndic , doing it free of cost, saving all of sydnic fee, and I can't bring couple of bags every months for this small apartment complex. WE certainly have to buy and stock it to avoid the hassle of purchasing every month. Last similar purchase was couple of years ago by professional syndics.  We can only account this when we purchase it and can not carry forward accounting every year until we exhaust the salt.

(b)Being landlord and syndic, We don't bring external gardeners and pay more than 500 euro for cutting fences like professional syndics did to us before. We bought equipment ourselves and we cut fences/mow the lawn ourselves. 

But we also do spend some money once a while to plant some seasons plus perennials like wysteria, grapes, new fence (taxus Baccata)for the front garden etc) , to renovate the garden once we removed a bunch of dead bamboo plants.

I am worried they may dispute here saying it is landlord responsibilities., although we talked about this verbally during contract signing. They wanted to put a cap to 100 euros every year for garden maintenance but I didn't agree to it as it may go beyond if we need to cut overgrown trees at teh back garden.

So,yes, they may dispute to their part from 400 euro per person to say, 350 euro per person. This still can be sorted out amicably if they come for a meeting and not to jump every time opening a conciliation request or Copying a lawyer.

I have done my best and willing to listen and forego with some money fi I need to , provided if I could close this ASAP.

If they want to bring a lawyer to save 50 or 100 bucks for them, let them do

If I do anything wrong from landlord/sydnic perspective, please highlight to me


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panchito
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Re : Tenants not paying common charges-Ask me unblock rental guarantee

Verbal agreements are only wind and can never be produced in front of a Judge. The Judge takes a decision only based on written proofs.

(1) They didn't leave me a forwarding address (had to find that from thier conciliation request)

It is their right (Privacy laws)

I have registered letter proof showing their absurd payment record, delay in paying rent or common charges. They were not dependable and stick to their commitments as per contract in term s of paying rent or common charges in time

But you never filed a request to the Judge with this problem, insn't?
So you have finally accepted the situation and kept your dear tenants.

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