Should You Charge Your Tenant Rent Weekly Or Monthly?

Weekly vs Monthly rent

When another landlord asked me the question, whether they should charge their tenants rent weekly or monthly, I was kind of taken aback.

I didn’t even realise it was a contentious issue, but apparently it is, which I subsequently discovered after realising how many people were asking the question on forums. Who knew?

Admittedly, in hindsight, I can see why new landlords would ask the question!

From my experience, charging rent on a monthly basis is standard, it’s the frequency most landlords opt for (without even thinking), and there’s some very practical reasons for that (which I’ll cover). So unless you have a reason not to, stick with a monthly period.

Yes, some landlords do charge rent on a weekly basis, but it’s usually under certain circumstances, and it’s definitely less common.

Table of contents:

Can you charge rent weekly? And when does it make sense?

First and foremost, I want to clarify, landlords are entitled to charge rent on a weekly basis. There’s nothing in law, at least in England & Wales, which prevents it.

But as said, it’s quite unusual, especially for regular single-let properties. However, it’s not completely unheard of:

  • HMOs / room lets
    Charging rent weekly is more common (I’m using the word “common” loosely) with HMO tenants, or other circumstances where a single room is being let, and that’s because the tenant turnover rate is generally much higher. But even in this case, charging monthly is more common, because tenants are, in most cases, obligated to provide one month’s notice. Not to mention, keeping track of weekly rent collections for HMOs is creating an excruciating amount of extra work. If any landlord takes that on that soul-destroying task for no good reason, they certainly must be a glutton for punishment.

    I guess if a landlord is prepared to accept a notice period less than one month (which is quite possible and believable for a HMO), it can make sense to charge weekly.

  • Rent arrears
    I know some landlords and tenants agree to make the strategic decision to switch to weekly payments when rent arrears is an issue to help make payments more manageable. I’ve never really understood the logic behind it, personally. Well, not unless the tenant gets paid weekly and has an addiction, and is quick to spend rent money on things they really shouldn’t, but I’m not sure how widespread that scenario is. Other than that, I’m not sure how the switch will help clean up the arrears. In any case, I know it’s a reason for why rent is sometimes paid weekly.
  • Short-term lets
    Short-term living arrangements (e.g. Airbnb, holiday lets) is a whole other kettle of fish, so I won’t get into that. For obvious reasons, rent is calculated differently, often on a day or weekly rate.

How to calculate monthly rent from a week rate

In some cases, landlords do advertise single-let properties and rooms with a weekly rate even though they plan on charging rent monthly. I have no idea why, but they do. Perhaps it’s a dumb psychological ploy (i.e. making applicants think it’s cheaper than it is).

If rent is being advertised with a weekly rate (regardless of whether the intent is to pay weekly or monthly), and you want to work out what the monthly rate is, please do NOT make the rookie mistake of multiplying the weekly rate for four (for four weeks in a month), because you will end up with wrong and strange numbers!

Use the following formula to calculate how much rent is monthly with a weekly rate: Weekly rent x 52 (number of weeks in a year) / 12 (number of months in a year).

Rent clauses should be specified in the tenancy agreement

However you decide to slice it, your tenancy agreement should specify how much rent the tenant should pay and how frequently.

If for some very odd and insensible reason you don’t have a written tenancy agreement, then the frequency is defined by how often the tenant actually pays.

Why charging rent monthly is more common and preferred

There’s a few reasons for why most landlords charge rent on a monthly basis:

  • Simply, it’s the most common practice (i.e. it’s how tenant’s are used to paying)
  • Most other services charge monthly (e.g. phone bills, utility bills etc)
  • Most people get paid monthly, so it’s easier to budget rent if it’s due once a month
  • Keeping track of weekly rent creates a lot more work, and can get very messy and tedious i.e. it’s easy to lose track. It’s much more effortless to check if a tenant has paid once per month.
  • The funny thing about this reason is that most landlords don’t know about it, but if they did, it would probably be the main reason for avoiding weekly rent payments.

    Under Section 4 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Provisions of a rent book, it states:

    Where a tenant has a right to occupy premises as a residence in consideration of a rent payable weekly, the landlord shall provide a rent book or other similar document for use in respect of the premises.

    Basically, if you’re a landlord in England or Wales and charge rent on a weekly basis, then you are legally required to keep a rent book. What a bloody palava!

    I have no idea why this law exists or why it only applies to weekly rent, but it does. You can find more details on landlord rent books here.

    (note, this law does not apply to premises if the rent includes board and the value of that board to the tenant forms a substantial proportion of the whole rent)

In conclusion, unless you have a good and practical reason for charging rent on a weekly basis, I personally recommend charging rent on the standard monthly basis. It’s what we all know and love.

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