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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 29193
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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The rent payable during the Term shall be the sum of One

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The rent payable during the Term shall be the sum of One Thousand and Sixty
Pounds (£1,650.00) per annum to be paid by instalments...(bank account details)...in the name of the Landlord or such
other account as the Landlord may notify the Tenant of from time to time as follows;
2.1 a first payment of £1,950.00 to have cleared by the commencement of this
Lease
2.2 subsequent payments of £1,950.00 being due in advance on the twenty ninth
day of each successive month by Banker’s Standing Order.This is in my lease. Could I argue that as I have been paying £1950 that I have overpaid as the rent is actually only £1650 per annum.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

  1. am I correct to assume that the landlord claims the rent is £1950 please?
  2. is there any other documentation apart from the lease that sets out the rent? for example, any heads of terms when you are negotiating the lease or any other correspondence referring to rents? It is common for rent to be a significant issue that is discussed when negotiating a lease
Customer: replied 1 day ago.
the landlord claims the rent is £1950 and I have paid that for 4 months. No there is no other documentation, just the lease
Customer: replied 1 day ago.
no i'd rather continue on this. i have an oldfashioned phone that doesn't have apps
Customer: replied 1 day ago.
are you still there?
Customer: replied 1 day ago.
sorry I've just read your intro and appreciate that you are probably busy and will await your answer when you have the time, thanks

thank you and thank you for your understanding above. This is fundamentally a question of interpretation. As above, usually when you enter into a lease, there is other documentation apart from just the lease, for example, there may be heads of terms particularly if there was an agent involved, correspondence between the landlord and prospective tenant or their solicitors if they have retained solicitors and so on. From what you say, none of that documentation exists here and I do not suggest you are wrong in this. I would simply add the caveat to what follows that to the extent there may be in such documentation however informal, that documentation would feed in to any interpretation of the contract (lease) and you would need to satisfy yourself as regards ***** ***** existence of any such correspondence however informal it may be. what may also be important is what a realistic market rent for the unit may be. There is not a huge difference between the two rent figures and therefore it is unlikely to be possible to say that one figure is clearly wrong (such as might be the case for example if the figures were £195 and £1950) but this would also be a factor that would need to be borne in mind. also the fact that you have actually paid the higher figure would also need to be explained as this is evidence that you accepted the rent was the higher figure.

Notwithstanding the above, where there is a rule in respect of interpretation where an element of an agreement is not clear known as the contra preferentum rule. This rule simply put is that where there is a doubt as regards ***** ***** the benefit of a doubt will be given to the individual who did not draft the contract or in this case lease. Accordingly, in the assumption that the landlord drafted the lease, then to the extent there is a doubt in relation to interpretation of the agreement, the benefit of that doubt would be given to you under the above rule.

if the lease is off significant enough length to make the dispute worthwhile to potentially contemplate court, in the event you and the landlord are unable to agree, and you can make the case that you genuinely believed that the rent was the lower figure and you can explain why you have paid a higher figure, for example, the landlord demanded this despite your protestations that you understood the rent was the lower figure, then you can if you wish apply to court for directions in respect of the lease and an order as regards ***** ***** the rent that is due:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/form-n208-claim-form-cpr-part-8

the court will attempt to interpret what it believes the parties understood they were agreeing to by applying the above rules

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Thank you for such an amazing, detailed response. It's very clear. However, I should just like to confirm that the lease says £1650 per ANNUM (not month) to be paid in instalments. Does this change things?

my apologies, I did not spot that. I have indirectly address that point above in that this place is this issue into the realms of what can really only be accurately described as an obvious mistake in regards ***** ***** per month/per annum. Because of the difference in figures, it is still open to you to dispute the amount agreed, but an attempt to claim that rent of £1650 per annum was agreed is unlikely to succeed as being an obvious mistake and clearly not what was intended

Customer: replied 1 day ago.
Ok, but I do question the fairness of that as I've been told several times elsewhere that other clauses (to my detriment) are binding as I signed the lease. So it's a little unfair that when the 'mistake' is in the landlord's favour it is likely to be upheld. This was not a typo as the same thing happened in my previous lease (with different numbers involved) with the same landlord. So can I confirm that at the very least, if the lease is erroneous and should be saying £1650 per month (not annum) then the £1950/£1650 discrepancy entitles me to raise a dispute. Might I add that at no time this year have I actually paid £1950 and my bank account proves I paid £1650 or slightly less. Am I entitled legally to continue to pay £1650 whilst discussing the dispute. The reason that is so important is that landlord is trying to evict me and if I don't pay the correct amount of rent I am in breach. Hope that makes sense!

the question is how owner is a particular provision is to any given party. The more owner is the provision is, the more evidence may be required that that particular term was agreed by the parties. As regards ***** ***** between £1650 in £1950, as we have discussed above, and subject as we have discussed above, there is scope for dispute. As regards ***** ***** between one of those figures being payable per month per annum, the difference is of course a different magnitude altogether and it would require an all but insurmountable task to convince a court that there was a genuine understanding on your part that the rental figure was quoted on a per annum basis as presumably such a figure is entirely economically unrealistic. in the case of question of interpretation, the court's job is to infer what in its view the parties agreed at the time the contract was entered into taking into account any evidence each party can bring

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