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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6295
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hello there, We are seeking advice in relation to a state

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Hello there,

We are seeking advice in relation to a state of confusion between our landlord and ourselves.

We signed a AST for 12 months dated 8 April 2010 for a 12 month period until 8th April 2011. we have had a very good and open relationship with our landlord since day one and are in regular contact (she even lives just around the corner too).

In late February, near the end of this 12 month fixed period, our landlord asked us what our intentions were going forward and we put in writing before the expiration period that we are very keen to re-sign the AST assuming that all conditions remained the same. Some 12 days after the AST had expired our landlord simply indicated that she would now not be going through the original estate agent that we had dealt with when moving in and for the origional AST etc and that the landlord had simply decided that the AST would simply rollover into a Periodic Tenancy as "the terms remained unchanged". At that time we neither confirmed or rejected acceptance of this change in tenancy type (as we have for the last 8 years been on a rolling (but re-signed annually) 12 month fixed-term AST prior to moving into the current house. Both the landlord and estate agent were aware of this previous AST that was re-signed annually and they sought reference from our prior landlord - they were both aware that this was what our expectations were in that we wanted a long-term (i.e. a number of years) in this house as our young child needed to be settled into nursery around the corner. Thus, we have always assumed that we are still on a 12 month AST and not formally been moved onto a periodic tenancy and since late April this year our landlord has still to forward a newly dated agreement for us to sign. There is also absolutely no rent review clause whatsoever in our AST and it has never been discussed up until yesterday when she said she was going to put the rent up by giving us 1 months notice from today. Our view is that the landlord simply didn't want to engage the services (and thus incurr the cost) of having the origional estate agent administer the renewal of the AST for her each year and she has assumed of her own accord that we would be happy to roll onto a periodic tenancy - which we don't as we want a 12 month AST that is resigned each year. we have again requested this of her partly to insure ourselves that we will always have the safety net of a 6 month non-break clause for the first six months of the AST.

Now our landlord has demanded an increase in rent amounting to 11% (an additional £200 PCM) and we have said we would only consider this at the end of our second 12 month period (i.e. come April next year). She is insistent on it starting immediately and we have attempted to point out that we would not accept an increase now but would be willing to negotiate the AST now for a 12 month fixed period with a slight increase (i.e. a £100 PCM increase instead of her £200 PCM increase).

I have an electronic copy of our AST if someone can have a look at this and we are on very good terms with the estate agent to who would corroborate our side of understanding.

Basically we are happy to consider and accept her proposed rental increase but not until the end of our second 12 month period which is April 2012. we are even flexible enough to consider and accept a slight increase beginning immediately of £100 PCM.

Can anyone advise us urgently where we stand.

Many thanks,
Gavin
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Would you please summarise the facts and I will try to help?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
All facts already detailed in the text you have.
Expert:  Thomas replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Thanks for your question.

The difficulty that you have here is that the landlord is correct in that once the initial on year fixed term of your tenancy expired the tenancy became – by operation of law – a statutory periodic tenancy. This means that the landlord may evict you by serving a s21 Housing Act 1988 notice giving you two months notice (with such notice expiring at the end of a rent period) to vacate the property. They do not need a reason to do this. This means that the landlord can evict you if they so wish.

This impacts upon your current dilemma because if you are not able to negotiate a new rent for the then the landlord will simply serve the notice and you will have to leave.

If the landlord serves you with a formal written notice to increase the rent in your statutory periodic tenancy for which they must give you at least four weeks notice and you state that you do not agree and shall take him to the Rent Assessment Property then the landlord will doubtless serve the s21 notice, drop their demands for increase and the evict you once the 221 notice has expired and then simply find another tenant. T

I would not mention the service of a s21 notice to the landlord – if they have ceased their instructions to the agents then they may not understand the requirements completely. So if you try to negotiate to what you consider a fair rent and the landlord does not like it and serves you a defective notice (Eg. Not the full two months, not expiring on a rent day) then you can simply sit tight until the notice expires safe in the knowledge that a Court would not grant an order for eviction on the basis of a defective notice because they are very strict with the notice requirements. The landlord would have to re-serve the notice and you would have a further two months after the landlord has realised their mistake.

You’re going to have to negotiate whilst attempting to avoid the landlord serving the s21 notice and then check whether it’s valid once you have received it.
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Kind regards,


Tom
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6295
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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