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Squiggle
24-03-2009, 15:21 PM
My son has a 12 month tenancy agreement which is due to end mid-April. The original agreement specified "no-pets". A month in advance of the agreement expiry, he advised estate agent that, unless this clause were to be varied, he would wish to formally quit at the end of the tenancy. The estate agent agreed to speak to the owner who agreed that they could keep up to two cats as long as carpets and curtains were cleaned at the end of the tenancy (at my son's expense). The estate agent was advised that this was acceptable and said that a new agreement would be needed to cover this condition - again, acceptable and so my son never formally advised that he intended to quit.

Now, some three weeks later, the agent has come back saying that the landlord is demanding an extra £ 50/ month (8.3%) to cover this variation (no rent variation had been mentioned previously). Given the falling state of the rental market, this looks like shear opportunism and is, anyway, unaffordable.

I would be grateful for advice as to:-
a) should the estate agent have given a month's formal notice in advance of the termination date, even though the original contract was for 12 months? or can that be presumed to have been given at the time of the original agreement?
b) if my son and the landlord cannot agree, can he at least insist on a month's notice to quit (clearly he stopped looking for alternative accommodation once he believed that he had a deal)
c) is there an independent rent evaluation body that he can suggest that he and the landlord turn to assess what would be a fair rent (he is prepared to be bound by the outcome)
d) if nothing is written formally before the anniversary date, does the nature of the tenancy default to some other terms?

Any advice would be welcome

Regards

Paul Gibbs
24-03-2009, 16:03 PM
The tenancy agreement has not expired yet, and should your son want to leave at the termination date he can do so without serving any notice (although it is polite to let LL know in advance).

If your son wants to stay on then if he stays in the property and continues to pay rent then a statutory periodic tenancy arises on the expiry of the fixed term. The terms would be as set out in the previous tenancy agreement (including no pets, and old rent rate).

If LL wants to increase rent he needs to serve a valid notice (see other threads on this).

When did the tenancy agreement start? If it was after April 2007 then if T paid a deposit to LL then that deposit ought to be protected in a deposit protection scheme. If LL has failed to do this then your son may be able to sue for 3x the value of the deposit - again see other threads on this.

If LL has protected the deposit then LL and T can refer any disputes to the adjudicator within that scheme. The adjudicator will only deal with disputes up to the value of the deposit but the result will usually be binding on both LL and T.

Parties can try other forms of ADR including mediation, but if LL refuses then there is little you can do and should just issue court proceedings.

Squiggle
24-03-2009, 21:23 PM
Thanks for the info - we'll see how negotiations progress!

Regards