TSB system failure 'left people unable to pay the rent'

by Gary Whittaker

Failure of tenants to pay the rent is a bane of landlords' and letting agents' lives, but sometimes there are unavoidable causes. 

A case in point for many will have been last month's TSB banking crisis, when IT systems failed and prevented customers from making a range of transactions including automated payments such as standing orders.

Speaking to ITV news, tenant Poppy McCrae said she was "furious" as she had been unable to pay her rent. When she checked the situation she found that the payment had defaulted and the money was returned to her account. 

The 22-year-old student's tenancy terms mean she is fined £50 for each day the rent is late, which has damaged her relationship with the landlord and could even leave her facing eviction. 

Ms Macrae added: "It gives the landlord and the letting agency standing to have me evicted, should they choose, as I've not successfully paid rent, not of my own fault either.

"It's unfathomable. How can I put this into words ' It's my rent, it's my living, it's where I stay, it's my whole livelihood."

To make matters worse for many people, they were still unable to access their accounts online even after TSB told them that the technical problems had been resolved.

Given the extent of the TSB crisis, there will be many more tenants like Ms McCrae who will be left wondering what sort of consequences they may face as a result of a situation that was not of their own making. 

While it might be that landlords and agents could, in accordance with the letter of their contracts, take action against the tenants either by fining them or even evicting them, this may be a clear case in which they might consider using discretion a wise approach.

The situation may also act as a reminder of the importance of maintaining channels of communication with tenants, who will be able to report a problem with bank transfers as soon as they know about it. 

In turn, agents and landlords who are willing to show understanding would then be able to provide some reassurance, which will come as a relief to those fearful of being evicted.ADNFCR-1064-ID-801846550-ADNFCR

01-May-18General Lettings News