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Unsure if tenancy extension is in force

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353 views 1 replies latest reply: 09 August 2015
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Tenant

Hi. Hope this is the right place for this question but I am really confused about where I stand on a tenancy agreement.

We had an agreement to rent for 2 years with no break clause starting Oct 2013. In Dec of last year we asked if we could extend the tenancy until 2016 and an addendum was drawn up. We were adopting a child and wanted to ensure we had the security. The landlord is an absolute nightmare and we’ve had a bunch of problems around the garden in particular where by we were paying monthly and he didn’t send a gardener for 6 mths then refused to accept he owed us that money back.

As part of the addendum we also agreed to take over control of the gardener. This started effective immediately and where were paying 75% before we now had to pay the full cost but at least new they were coming.

We signed and returned the addendum and started paying for the gardener but despite chasing and chasing we never received a signed copy back. 

The estate agents don’t manage the property so they weren’t much use though they obviously drew up the agreement.

Now 2 months from our original end date we have had to give notice and request that we end the tenancy early. We adopted a child which additional needs and need to rethink where we live unfortunately. We contacted the landlord and confirmed that we’d pay reletting fees etc. as you’d expect. I also informed the estate agents. We have not yet heard from the landlord but received a standard end of tenancy email from the agents. It was odd as I’d asked them to confirm what the fees would be for ending early and they didn’t respond with this info. I called them and asked them to confirm the tenancy end date and they said it was Oct this year. i.e. No extension is in place.

So now I’m utterly confused. We’ve assumed it is. We’ve signed it and been paying for the gardener despite not receiving a signed copy back but the agents seem to think it isn’t. I’m not paying fees if he never actually extended it and I’m annoyed we’ve been paying for the gardener. If he never signed and returned it to the agents, would that mean it isn’t in force or is it implied it is because we’ve taken over the gardening which was part of the same addendum?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks

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Administrator

Hi Emma

If you had a full tenancy agreement that you’d signed and the landlord hadn’t and you then moved in then, as far as I know (although I’m not a lawyer) that tenancy would be taken to be in force. A tenancy doesn’t always have to be evidenced in writing. So, I would imagine that might be the same in this situation. However, if you’ve had an email confirming the tenancy ends in October from someone who is authorised to act on behalf of the landlord then, even if the addendum was valid, that could be considered a surrender.

Either way, it doesn’t seem right that you should pay the reletting fees as you’ve had written confirmation from the landlord’s agent that the tenancy ends in October, so that’s also when your contractual obligation to pay rent should also end.

You might run into the issue of the landlord suddenly springing to action, signing the addendum, pretending it was signed at the time and then trying to hold you to rent/fee paying. In that case you could use that argument that the agent’s email telling you the tenancy finishes in October is a surrender (i.e. the landlord giving up the tenancy early) but whether that works will depend on how much the landlord understands about landlord and tenant law and how determined they are to get that cash. A definitive answer on these would really require a lawyer (law centres and Citizens Advice might be useful). 

Alex

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