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Tenancy Agreement - Clauses breached?

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459 views 3 replies latest reply: 05 January 2017
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Tenant

Hi,

My landlord needs to have their rent insurance liability validated. And for that to happen, the tenancy contract needs to renewed. 

However, in my contract (ie I am the tenant), it states once the fixed term expires, my tenancy will continue as monthly tenancy which will run from month to month. 

The agent however insists I should sign a 12 month contract and pay them a fee, though nothing of this is stated on the contract, ie there is no “renewal clause”.  

Our landlord are good people and kind and we are more than happy to help them to ensure their insurance is validated, however should we be responsible paying the agent, though:

1. there is no renewal clause

2. the clause states once the fixed term ends, we would go on monthly rolling tenancy. 

So to me, i am helping our landlord to validate the rent insurance by signing 1 year contract, but am asked to pay the fee?

Also at some point during the discussion, the agent stated should I not come to a decision, that they terminate the contract and servd 2 months notice. 

Please advice.

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Tenant

Legally they can’t force you, but practically they probably can.

As you say, you are on a one-month rolling contract. Since it is rolling it could go on forever with no need for a new contract. Legally, a landlord cannot force a tenant to sign a new contract just for the sake of it, or to help them out.

However, legally a landlord can evict a tenant (after 2 months notice via section 21 notices) for no reason, so they just could evict you if you don’t sign it.

The shame is the government just announced (in November) that it would ban agents passing on their fees to tenants ‘as soon as possible’, so the £160 should be outlawed within months. You could try and drag it out to then, but obviously that has risks with your relationship to your landlord. As a last ditch you could always contact your landlord directly (you re legally entitled to their postal address, not just an agent’s details) and ask them to move to a more reasonable agent, but that may well just antagonise them too.

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Tenant

Just noticed you didn’t say whether you are on a rolling contract or nearing the end of the initial fixed period and about to go rolling. It doesn’t make a difference either way, I should clarify.

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Tenant

Yup, just as Pivot said, the landlord can just choose to evict you. More so, they can serve a Section 21 notice two months before the fixed term expires and begin proceedings the next day it does. 

That is, of course, if they want to. In practice, nobody want’s to evict their good paying tenants just because there is some dispute. Evicting a tenant, prepping the property and moving a new tenant in is a very costly experience for landlords.

So while they wave their fingers and bombard you with threats, the agency can’t do anything to you if the landlord doesn’t approve. And the landlord will definitely disapprove spending thousands over who pays the £200-or-so bill. 

In your stead, I’d be more confident about my value as a tenant and demand a more fair resolution. Contact the landlord and negotiate between the two of you.

Maybe there is a way to split the bill in two and just suffer a small hit. Fixed term periods are worth it, if you’re looking for more secure accommodation and don’t want to move any time soon. 

Letting agent fees are going to say through 2017 most likely, so don’t hold your breath just yet. 

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