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Homeless soon
23-11-2005, 12:48 PM
I am now in to the 11th year of my tenancy at the same address, but have just been contacted by a new landlord who has told me in no uncertain terms that I must pay a substantial increase on the rent, move, or be evicted.

I had already listed this prblem on the back of another thread (was not a clever idea, I am told), and had some very helpful advice. Without going in to too much detail, I will copy some of the relevant contract details at the bottom of this message.

My problem is to find out where I stand legally. If I am unable to meet his rent increase demand (which I am unable to do), can I really be evicted? If so, how long would I realistically have to look for an alternative address before I am forced out?

As I said, I have had some really helpful advice on this already (for which I am grateful), I want to be sure of my position by getting a 2nd or 3rd opinion.

Relevant details below:

In the 10 years I have been here, I have not once missed a payment, or caused any problems for the previous land lord. I live with my wife and 9 year old Daughter.

The new Landlord has not yet completed the contract (will in 7 days). The old Landlord's agent has told me they have nothing to do with me anymore (had to report a Boiler failure), so they are passing my calls over to the new guy.

The tenancy contract is headed Assured Tenancy Agreement (Whole Building) No mention of Shorthold on the contract (some thing I was asked by another helper on the last thread)
Term A fixed term of 10 years or such shorter period from an
earlier termination (start date 10th of June 1995).
Review dates Every 12 months (I think I have only had 3-4 increases in
that period.

A couple of clauses at the back regarding increase in rent. One seems to indicate that every year it will go up by around 15% (lists total anual payment in £s). The other mentions the following:

Any rent concession given upon any review date, shall not predjutice the LL'a right to calculate future rent reviews up on the basis of the rent which would have been paid but for the concession.

Any help and advice will be gratefully welcome.

Jennifer_M
23-11-2005, 18:00 PM
What kind of tenancy did you have with your previous landlord ? This is important because you have been in for more than 10 years and you might have a tenancy that gives you more rights than an assured shorthold tenancy in which case you shouldn't sign a new contract.

lucid
23-11-2005, 20:35 PM
You have what is called a fully Assured Tenancy (as opposed to an assured shorthold). The fixed period was for 10 years, this has now become a periodic tenancy as from June 2005.

With this type of tenancy the landlord cannot just evict you, you have what is called full security of tenure. As long as you didn't breach your contract and paid the rent you could stay forever pretty much. The landlord can only evict under certain circumstances. You are therfore in a strong position, so that should help ease your worries. Look here on the Office of deputy prime minister website for more info, and search the forum for Assured or Fully Assured tenancy. The landlord has to follow certain rules when increasing the rent, which can be referred to a rent assessment panel. The rent charged is a market rent as opposed to a regulated tenancy which is a fair rent.

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1151898

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1151918

Homeless soon
23-11-2005, 21:03 PM
Thank you for your help Jennifer.

I really know nothing about contracts and the different terms used, or their meaning.
The contract is titled
Assured Tenancy Agreement (Whole Building) under the Housing act of 1988

Also mentions

Term A fixed term of 10 years or such shorter period from an
earlier termination (start date 10th of June 1995).

I am not looking for trouble. It is just that the knock on the door came out of the blue, so I am in a panic as to what he can do at short notice. I would hate to have to leave the House this side of Christmas as I would have no chance of finding a suitable alternative accomodation. He is quite blunt about his deman. Increase the rent, leave, or I will start eviction proceedings straight after the contract completion.

I am not sure if it is relevant, but I was offered the option of buying this property a few months back by the original land lord (about 6-8 months)

Homeless soon
23-11-2005, 21:11 PM
Thanks again Lucid.

I am about to look up your suggested links for more information.

As I mentioned in the previous thread (the wrong place :o)) I think it is time I moved on from here, and sorted out some thing more permenant for my family, but it will take me around 6 months to do so. I am not after a free ride, or wanting to give this new LL a hard time. Just need peace of mind in order to get out of this mess in a controlled way.

I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help.

lucid
23-11-2005, 21:13 PM
As i said in my post you have security of tenure YOU CAN STAY FOREVER he cannot evict you! read the info from the ODPM site for Assured NOT shorthold!!

If you move out voluntarily any new tenancy you have will be an assured shorthold in which you would have a lot less rights than you have now. Where the landlord could evict you if he wanted, at the moment he cannot.

In my opinion you would be most foolish to move out. many tenants in your position only give up their tenancies after being paid a large sum of money...several 000's of pounds depending on the value of the property.

Homeless soon
23-11-2005, 21:55 PM
As i said in my post you have security of tenure YOU CAN STAY FOREVER he cannot evict you! read the info from the ODPM site for Assured NOT shorthold!!

If you move out voluntarily any new tenancy you have will be an assured shorthold in which you would have a lot less rights than you have now. Where the landlord could evict you if he wanted, at the moment he cannot.

In my opinion you would be most foolish to move out. many tenants in your position only give up their tenancies after being paid a large sum of money...several 000's of pounds depending on the value of the property.

Thanks Lucid.

I have just ran through the link you gave me. There is a lot of information to take in, as there are so many references to other sections and appendix.

The one thing that stands out (from your first reply and the web link) is that the LL may have the right to charge me the market rate for the property. When I first moved in (1995), I was charged £606 per month. Over the past 10 years it has been adjusted 3 or 4 times (not really sure of the exact number) and the rent currently stands at just under £700 per month. The new LL told me the current rate is around £1100? I did scan through some local paper, and they typically advertise a 3 bed house at around £200-£210 per week in this area.

Is it correct to assume that he can claim the market rate, straight after taking over the contract?

I really am not interested in taking advantage of the situation, or asking for a pay off. I just want to get through the Winter months, and find a suitable place to move to (been waiting for property prices to come down for the past 2 years, in order to go for a mortgage of my own, but it just keeps on rising).

lucid
23-11-2005, 22:12 PM
Re Rent increase check what it says in your agreement, if you are unsure see a solicitor or goto the local lawcentre or housing advice centre. In order to stay now you need not sign any new agreement. Do not sign anything.

Download pdf info leaflet here:
http://www.odpm.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1151919

From ODPm site:



When a fixed term tenancy ends and the tenancy lapses into a statutory periodic tenancy, the landlord can put the rent up if you agree. Alternatively he or she can use the formal procedure in the Housing Act 1988 to propose a rent increase to be payable as soon as the statutory tenancy starts. The landlord can then propose further increases at yearly intervals after the first increase.

7.4 What is the formal procedure for proposing a rent increase for contractual or statutory periodic tenancies where this is not covered in the tenancy agreement?

The landlord must propose the rent increase on one of two special forms called "Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in England" or "Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in Wales". The forms can be used for assured or assured shorthold tenancies.

He or she must give at least a month's notice of the proposed increase if the rent is paid on a weekly or monthly basis (more if the rent period is longer). More details are in Appendix E.

7.5 What should I do if I get formal notice of a rent increase?

If you accept the rent increase, you should simply pay it from the date given in the notice.

If you do not agree with the increase, you must apply to a rent assessment committee to decide what the rent should be. You must apply on a special form called "Application referring a Notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy or Agricultural Occupancy to a Rent Assessment Committee", available from law stationers or rent assessment panels (see Appendix D). (This form must also be used if the tenancy is a shorthold tenancy). The committee must receive the application before the date on which the new rent would be due.

7.6 What is a rent assessment committee?

Rent assessment committees are made up of 2 or 3 people - usually a lawyer, a property valuer and a lay person. They are drawn from rent assessment panels - bodies of people with appropriate expertise appointed by Government Ministers. There are 6 rent assessment panels in England and Wales. Their addresses are given in Appendix D. The committees are independent of both central and local government. There is no appeal against a committee's decision except on a point of law.

The committee may make a decision by considering the relevant papers although you or the landlord can ask for an informal hearing, which you may both attend. There is no charge for a committee decision.

7.7 When can I apply to a rent assessment committee for a decision on the rent?

If you are an assured or a shorthold tenant, you can ask a committee to set a rent under a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy if you have been given notice by the landlord of a rent increase (see section 7.4).

If you are a shorthold tenant, you can ask a committee to set a rent at the beginning of a shorthold tenancy if you consider the rent to be significantly higher than rents for comparable tenancies (see section 7.10).

7.8 How does the rent assessment committee decide on a rent for a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy?

When settling disputes on rent, the committee decides what rent the landlord could reasonably expect for the property if he or she was letting it on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms. It does not take into account any increase in the value of the property due to voluntary improvements by you. The committee may agree the proposed rent or set a higher or lower rent.

The rent fixed by the committee is the legal maximum the landlord can charge. The new rent will be payable from the date specified in the landlord's notice unless the committee considers this would cause you undue hardship in which case it may specify a later date.

7.9 Can the landlord propose a further rent increase after the committee has made a decision?

The landlord can propose that the rent is increased a year after the date on which the rent decided by the committee was payable (but see Appendix E), unless you agree that he or she can put it up earlier. You must apply to a rent assessment committee to decide what the rent should be if you do not agree with the proposed increase.
So firstly how has he requested the rent increase, he has to use the special form, not just send a letter or tell you. He must give you a months notice and then you can object to the rent assessment panel. The n they will set the rent not him, probably from what you say a lot lower than what he is asking, and will take into cobsideration the state of the property, location and other factors etc.

Homeless soon
23-11-2005, 22:30 PM
Thanks Lucid.

I won't sign any thing, but will try and reason with the LL.

I tried to attach a scaned copy of my contract to the message, but it is 1Mb, and the site only accepts 40k max.

I am not surprised lawyers and soliciters make so much money. It is not easy to understand all the legal language involved.

lucid
23-11-2005, 22:37 PM
See edited post above at end. The increase he has proposed has to be on the special form, i would refer the matter to the rent panel. its sounds as though in my opinion he is increasing by so much so as to make the tenancy untenable so you will move out. let the rent panel decide, they will give you a fair decision.

EDIT: N.B.

If when you have scanned the document to either word or pdf file sometimes your scanning software can use the text feature to copy the text which you could paste as a post...Just a thought. maybe scan at a lower resolution and/or use winzip with highest compression.

Homeless soon
24-11-2005, 21:41 PM
Lucid,

It took time, but I have manged to scan the document and edit/convert to text, and tidy it as best I could to reduce the size (sorry about the format as but I could only save in taxt to reduce the size below 36k allowed)

Hope there are are no hidden small prints.

Really apprecite your help to date.

lucid
24-11-2005, 23:04 PM
Sorry not had time to look at this yet but reformatted it for you and saved as a pdf. It is a lot easier to look at this way if anyone wants to read and comment.

See attached file contract.pdf for acrobat reader

lucid
25-11-2005, 03:11 AM
I have looked at the above agreement the rent reviews are a bit odd gives the choice to be reasonable ie increase yearly by a multiple of change in the RPI no6, which is very fair or some arbitary huge figure no7.


Irrelevant now this was in the 10 year fixed period, now what matters is has the increase you've been informed of been done correctly on the right form? and if so how you go about applying to the rent assessment panel if you think the increase extortionate. See my above post and the link.

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1151919

daveyknowles
25-11-2005, 09:39 AM
HI,
I would suggest you go along to your Local Authority Housing Advice Centre, they all have these and they are normally in the same place at the Homeless persons Unit. They normally have at least one person who is legally qualified, and to be honest the ones I know just live for these situations, and will give you all the help and accurate advice you need. They may also 'take' your case on. I.E Writing letters on your behalf, completing referal forms.


Regards
Dave

daveyknowles
25-11-2005, 09:53 AM
Hi,
Having read your contract i believe that clause 7 would fall foul of Unfair Contract Term legislation.

Working out your rent based on clause 6

192.6 / 149.8 x £606 = £780
rpi 10/05 / rpi 6/95 x original rent = new rent.

Hope this helps
Dave

lucid
25-11-2005, 11:31 AM
Davey clause 6 and 7 refer to the fixed period (10 years) in this fully assured tenancy. This has lapsed so the tenancy has become a statutory periodic one. Those terms are no longer relevant as far as i am aware as they apply to annual rent reviews during the 10 year period. Indeed no 7 sets out figures as to rent levels in each year.

What matters now is whether the new rent that has been proposed has been done according to statute with the correct notice and whether on the correct form. The tenant then decides whether to accept the increase and pay or if they think it is too much given the rent for similar properties in the area, appeal within the time limit to the rent assessment panel, who would then set the rent level. The maximum that could then be charged.

Of course the tenant may seek help and representation in order to put his or her case as to whether the rent is reasonable with consideration to the property and the market. And a housing advice centre may well be a good place to go seek such advice.

Homeless soon
25-11-2005, 11:48 AM
Guys you have both been very helpful. Thank you.

I must admit, I am very pleasently surprised to see that there are people like you willing to spend their time helping others.

Thanks again. I will follow your suggestions and keep you informed of the outcome.

lucid
25-11-2005, 12:16 PM
You are very welcome.
:)

daveknowles
25-11-2005, 17:31 PM
Hi Lucid

I note clause 7 is time limited (and has expired) even if it had not i believe it would fail under UCT legislation, However clause 6 is not time limtied. Yes, the contract has expired, but it would contiune as a statutory periodic tenancy under the same terms, and as such any rent increase has to be applied under the existing terms (e.g clause 6)

There would need to be a new contract in order to impose an arbitary rent rise at this time. If a new contract was presented to the tenant it should be under similar terms, if the rent is increased beyond a reasonable level on this new contract, then this could be referred for a fair rent assessment. I am not sure whether the tenant can be compelled to sign a new contract, as the current tenancy remains valid, but i would doubt it.

I would advise the tenant on no account to sign anything without professional advice as a assured tenancy is far more favourable than a shorthold, which the landlord is no doubt keen to use.

Regards
Dave

lawstudent
25-11-2005, 17:51 PM
I would advise the tenant on no account to sign anything without professional advice as a assured tenancy is far more favourable than a shorthold, which the landlord is no doubt keen to useThere is no risk of this. A tenancy cannot be shorthold if the tenant was immediately beforehand an assured non-shorthold tenant of the same property ;)

Homeless soon
25-11-2005, 19:52 PM
Having read the various comments from everyone, I am a lot more confident about my immedaite future, than when I first heard from the LL.

I had a quick visit from him today. What he was saying was that his minimum cost for maintaining this property is £860, so he would be happy to settle for that amount as rent.

Unfortuantely when you are in a fixed pay employment, you tend to budget for every expense based on your current expenditure, with a little spare for emergencies. I don't know about you guys, but I find it tough to find an extra £185 (I have been paying £675 for the past 18 months) over night. It is even worse now that Christmas is just round the corner.

I am not one for confrontation, and even though I feel I might have adequate legal protection from being evicted at short notice (thanks to all your advice), I am thinking of offering him the following:

£750 per month immediately with the option to increase to his asking £860 in March. As I am more or less decided on the idea of finding a long term solution for my family's accomodation needs (possibly getting a mortage) as soon as possible (6 months max?) it may just be the least confrontational approach?

Can you please let me know if I am thinking right? If so, should I do it in writing? Obvioulsy I will need to plan for the possibility that things may not work out for me, in order to get a mortage in the next 6 months.

lucid
26-11-2005, 08:02 AM
Davey from the contract:


Reviewed Dates

First Review date is the first day of the calendar month 12 months following the Rent commencement Date and thereafter every 12 months following the First Review Date and the last day before the expiry of the term. Reviewed Rent shall be the rent determined in accordance with Clause 6 (and Clause 7) and all references to Rent shall mean a reference to either the Initial Rent or the Reviewed Rent as the case may be

RENT REVIEW (RETAIL PRICE INDEX)

The Rent shall be reviewed so as to be increased on each and every Review Date by the application of the following formula:

[complete the missing figure in the equation]
Whereas:
Reviewed Rent
RPI(2)/RPI(1)x O.R.

(i) RPI(1) means the level of the All Items Retail Price Index at the date of the Rent Commencement Date or the previous Review Date as the case may be
(ii) RPI(2) means the level of the All Items Retail Price Index at the Review Date
(iii) O.R. means the Initial Rent or the Reviewed Rent on the previous Review Date as the case may be.
(iv) All Items Retail Price Index means the Index published by the Department of Employment or any similar Department or Ministry
(v) In the event that either the (aa) basis or method for the compilation or(bb) calculation of the said Index is altered or amended or the said Index ceases to be published or compiled or calculated altogether then the Landlord shall be entitled for the purpose of this clause to make such calculation in substitution for the said Index as it shall in its absolute discretion deem fit.

Yes the statutory periodic tenancy does continue on the same terms as during the fixed period, but if you read the contract carefully it seems to me that the rent reviews only apply to the fixed period.
"last day before the expiry of the term"
I take the definition of the word term here to mean the 10 year fixed period as opposed the the tenancy as a whole. The contract appears to have let the landlord choose between 6 and 7 during the 10 year fixed period (even if this clause 7 was unfair that is history now and apparently wasn't followed anyway.) As for now IMHO clause 6 re the RPI is only valid up to the last day before the expiry of the 10 year period in June 2005.


And therefore the following procedures re. rent increases apply:

From the ODPM site:

Re. Rent Increases
When a fixed term tenancy ends and the tenancy lapses into a statutory periodic tenancy, the landlord can put the rent up if you agree. Alternatively he or she can use the formal procedure in the Housing Act1988 to propose a rent increase to be payable as soon as the statutory tenancy starts. The landlord can then propose further increases at yearly intervals after the first increase.



Re. Varying Terms
However, if the fixed term of an assured or a shorthold tenancy has ended and the tenancy has automatically run on as a statutory periodic tenancy, it will continue on the same terms unless you, or the landlord, propose new terms. You or the landlord may propose new terms, and any consequent change to the rent, within a year of the statutory periodic tenancy starting, using a special procedure under the Housing Act 1988. You both have the right to apply for an independent decision by a rent assessment committee if you cannot agree new terms.



7.15 How does this procedure work?


You, or the landlord, must propose the new terms, and any consequent change to the rent, on a special form called “Notice proposing different terms for a Statutory Periodic Tenancy”, available from law stationers or rent assessment panels (see Appendix D). If you both agree the new terms, they can be included in the agreement.


In my opinion H.S. no it is not the right thing. A tenancy is a business arrangement ruled by contract and statute. And taking this approach you would be agreeing to a variation of the terms of your agreement. In which the landlord may decide to want other terms and then go to the RAC with these.

There are procredures for these situations it is nothing to do with confrontation, its the Law. Has the landlord applied for a rent increase using the form :
“Landlord’s notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in England"


If not it can be either ignored or write a polite letter asking him to follow procedure you are not his solicitor let him find out himself how to run his business.

As for your proposal you would be obliged to use the special procedure under the Housing Act 1988 as indicated above re varying the terms. As said before if you do not agree to his proposed increase follow the procedure and apply to the RAC, believe me its the easiest route. And what they set is the maximum that can be charged for a year.

If he hasn't notified you of the increase formally as mentioned above using the correct forms then in all likelihood he is unaware of statute and procedure. And your approach will probably be met with "on yer bike",or "pay up or get out". And this is more likely to cause confrontation than you quietly following procedure and obeying the law.

If you need to confirm any of the above I suggest you take independent legal advice and consult a solicitor or go to a Law centre or Housing Advice Centre.

Homeless soon
26-11-2005, 12:05 PM
Thanks again Lucid.

He has not yet given me any thing writing. In fact I have not even heard or had any thing in writing from the original LL indicating that the ownership of the property has been passed on.
I guess this could all be down to the contract not having completed yet? I was told by the new LL that the contract would be complete soon (he saied 10 days about a week ago), so he wanted to know what my intentions are in advance of that date.

Could that be correct?

lucid
26-11-2005, 12:19 PM
. What he was saying was that his minimum cost for maintaining this property is £860, so he would be happy to settle for that amount as rent.
No offence but firstly the above is based on the minimum amount of profit he is willing to accept. thats his judgement...Hmm so after all my cost I want to make...how much.

Thats not your concern and may or not be true is he going to go through his accounts with you???

If you turned around and said the maximum I could afford to pay is .....would he reduce the rent. I don't think so. And your assesment of what you can afford is based on what you spend what you consider an essential expense may not be to him. That sky Tv....gotta go I want more rent...

But seriously now. Have a look around in the local area, via the net, local papers, shop windows whatever for similar properties in similar condition and save the info. This will give you an idea of what is reasonable and this is probably near what the rent panel would set. They wouldn't set it higher just because your new landlord has over streched himself on the mortgage would they. At lesast there's no argument is there then.

Otherwise you have to set a new term on the contract, possibly get it checked with solicitors etc more hassle, more cost...

lucid
26-11-2005, 12:28 PM
Sorry just posted before reading you new pos!!

What on earth is this guy doing!!!
Contacting you trying to put up the rent to £1300 when he hasn't even bought the property yet!!

Not very professional is it?

My advice is wait, what if the completion fails.. he may drop out, its possible.
He may be only able to buy the property with you paying the £860, which you may not have to pay.

Wait to see whay happens and follow the correct procedure or it could become a real muddle. Wait until he gives you an increase on the correct form and then decide. In the meantime get all the info you need to support yourself if you have to use the services of the Rent Panel.

Also use the time to get representation from the Housing Advice or Housing specialist at a local law centre if you have one. These services are free.

Tax Accountant
26-11-2005, 19:18 PM
The respondants, in particular Lucid, have been extremely detailed and helpful in their responses. They are a credit to this forum.

As to the querist, he should just sit back and do nothing until he has seen a letter from the existing landlord or the landlord's solicitor stating the full name and address of the new owner to whom all future rent is to be paid.

Once this has been received, he should wait to receive a formal rent review in writing and then to take it to a professional person before deciding next step.

Ramnik

Homeless soon
26-11-2005, 21:41 PM
Although I have been renting this place for over 10 years, it is the first and the only place I have ever rented. Also during the past 10 years, I have only ever seen the site manager once (when I signed the original contract). Every thing else has just run like clock work, payment by standing order every month on the day. I think we have only ever called the site manager 6 times for maintenance work during the period.

I know the new LL said the contract was not yet completed. I also note Lucid's comment regarding the possibility that the contract may not go through. However, I had a boiler problem (a day after meeting this new LL) and reported it to the original site manager. The next day I had a call from the new LL who said he was aware of my boiler problem, and that he would take care of it. To cut a long story short, nothig happened for a few days, at which point we contacted the original site manager telling him that we must get this seen to as it was very cold. He actually told my wife that he was no longer responsible for the property and advised us to call the soliciters of a local estate agent and take it up with them?

Is it possible that original LL sold the proerty to a estate agent, who is now negotiating with new buyers? Another strange thing about the new LL is that his business card is indicating he runs a mortgage company? Do you guys know what any of this means?

lucid
26-11-2005, 22:36 PM
Quick answer NO.

but until you hear otherwise you must insist the outgoing LL deal with it contact them direct. In the meantime Monday go get legal advice and representation as you may need it if this drags on to get your boiler fixed etc oh and speak to the housing liason officer at the council.. they could help you...all free good sir all free!
cheers