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Need advice on lease renewal

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483 views 5 replies latest reply: 30 January 2017
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Tenant

Hi there!

I have been battling the letting agent for the last few weeks.  The 12 month lease is about to expire.  I contacted the LL about rolling into periodic lease.  The LL has initially agreed but she wants 2 months notice.   I have agreed to provide 2 months notice.  The letting agent insisted that I MUST sign a 12 month lease and pay them renewal fees.  I do to wish to lock in a fixed term and have to pay for the privilege for something I don’t want.  They kept saying the rent stays the same but will not put it in writing.

In the Property Redress Scheme, it does state “

Where a Tenant wishes to remain in the property, they should not be charged any additional fee for holding over under a statutory periodic tenancy, or given the impression that they are obliged to agree to a new fixed term agreement. “

If I understand it correctly, the lease will automatically roll into periodic.  What will happen if I ignore the request for a fixed month contract and not pay the renewals fees.  Who can I send the dispute to if I get an eviction notice?  Where can I go and complain about the letting agent?

Lookforward to hearing back from you.

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Tenant

Hello,

Jumping onto your questions directly:

What will happen if I ignore the request for a fixed month contract and not pay the renewals fees? – The tenancy automatically rolls in periodic after the last day of the fixed term expires. There is no additional work required, no renewal of contract, no new documents. This is an automatic process. Thus, no renewal fee is to be charged, as there is no work done on the matter. 

You may choose to simply remain in the property. However, the landlord (note: not the agent – the landlord makes the decisions) can choose not to continue renting to you, unless you sign a new fixed term.

Just as you have a right to not sign a new term, the landlord can choose to end the tenancy and look for more “secure” tenants. Of course, there is no reason to believe that the landlord will decide to go with a full blown eviction, just because you don’t want a fixed term. You have value as a tenant. Eviction and reletting are two long and very expensive processes for landlords and they will want to avoid them entirely if possible. 

The agent might not be happy about it, but so long as you and the landlord both agree, they don’t have the word.

Who can I send the dispute to if I get an eviction notice? – The “dispute” following a Section 21 eviction notice goes to court. There is no intermediary if the landlord chooses to regain possession. If you do get the notice, you want to call Shelter, Citizen Advice and a solicitor of your choice to explore what options are left for you based upon inspecting the Section 21 notice. 

Where can I go and complain about the letting agent? – You can complain about the letting agent to their own internal procedure, an industry body they are a member of (Think ARLA, UKALA, etc); letting agent redress schemes, like the Property Redress Scheme. You can also complain to your landlord. Don’t forget they are the other person on the lease, not the letting agent. A good landlord can quickly leash a misbehaving agent. 

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Tenant

I went down this same process.

When I moved in I was an agreement that hand the Landlords “legal correspondence” address (which is the agents office address).

I had a 2 year long debate with the agent about the fee’s and finally managed to prove by quoting the government legistlation website in my emails to them that the situation was unfair.

So I sent a formal email to them, quoting the law, and asking to escalate my complaint and to do so I would need the contact information for landlord and the details of how to take the matter to the redress scheme.

Their response was to contact the landlord and bad mouth me as a bad tenant, to which his response was “well evict them then”.

 

I managed to talk them out of this action in the end on the basis that drop my complaint.

So to recap …

 1. The fee’s are unfair.

 2. I can prove it

 3. The agent will bully you in to paying them anyway

 4. If that doesn’t work they will contact the landlord and have him bully you

 

The net result, even if you win in court, as Audrey put so well “There is no intermediary if the landlord chooses to regain possession” in other words …

Even if you win the argument you lose by being evicted and the letting agent wants this to happen because all legal fees will be charged to the Landlord or yourself and then they get the chance to charge the Landlord to find a new tenant.

What you have here is a classic case of “rogue agent” and there’s nothing in the law that helps you fight this. 

 

I have written a letter explaining this situation to my local MP to raise this matter in Parliament and get the law changed, whilst I feel this will help ultimately this is going to take a much larger effort. 

Next up I plan to contact Shelter (http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/private_renting) the problem is that what I think it’s really going to take is a class action against a group of the biggest agents before this matter gets taken seriously. 

 

I pay £120 every 6 months for my renewals and unless I am prepared to fight this matter long after I have been evicted from the property I feel there is nothing I can do about it.

It’s blantantly unfair!

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Tenant

Thanks for the comment Paul. 

I just want to mention that good landlords will never evict their well-paying tenant over a stupid £120 fee.

First of all, they don’t benefit from it – the agent does.

Second, evicting a tenant (using the full court procedure) fixing up the property and finding a new tenant to rent it is a long, stressful and EXPENSIVE process. 

Why would you want to go through all that trouble, just to make your agent some pocket money ? 

Good tenants have value and good landlords realise that. 

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Tenant

Thank you both!  The trouble is that people don’t ask any questions this and automatically sign up for another fixed term agreement.  I have been told by both the LA and the LL that I am the one being difficult because I refuse to conform so in their mind I am a bad tenant.  Most of the time the LL just does what the LA asks him/her to go without wanting to get involved.  The LA collects regardless.  It’s disappointing.  I do hope the law will change.

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Tenant

I rented (and was pushed for a renewal) for 5 years but this year I refused and asked to lapse into a period tenancy as the contract limts my rights and only benefits the agents.

Result: Section 21. 

The agent still kept pressing for a renewal even though they issued a Section 21. It was, in fact, a negotiating tactic backed up by the full weight of HM Government. 

The law favours landlords and agents. 

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