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spaul1
16-02-2013, 14:49 PM
Hi
I have a property which will be let to university students from 01 September 2013 (6-7 months time). They are happy to pay a retainer (half rent for Jul & Aug 2013) & a deposit which will be protected.
I normally have the AST signed by all parties (the tenants, landlord & witnesses) at the same time and the deposit is usually taken at the same time so it is quite straightforward.
However, as they are currently in different parts of the country in their year out (and one of them is currently abroad) I cannot do this. What I need to know is:
1. Is it OK for the tenants to all sign the same AST it on different dates?
2. Does it need to be witnessed and if so, can it be witnessed separately for each individual tenant?
3. Can it be signed by any of the tenants after the tenancy start date if any of them wish to arrive later?
4. Alternatively, does it need to be dated individually for the signing of each tenant or can we just state that the agreement is made on a specified date without having a separate date for the signings and let them just sign it individually when they are available to meet?
5. Do all of the tenants need to have signed the contract before the deposit is taken and protected?
I would be very grateful for some help and some examples if possible.
Many thanks in anticipation.

Snorkerz
16-02-2013, 16:40 PM
1) Yes
2) A tenancy under 3 years does not even need to be in writing, so 'witnessed' is not an issue
3) I'm not sure - but I would guess yes as long as at least one of them (for they are collectively 'the tenant') signs beforehand
4) See 3
5) No, see 2 - no need for written agreement so signatures irrelevant. Deposit must be protected within 30 days of receiving it - that includes any part of a deposit.

Bel
16-02-2013, 19:47 PM
2) A tenancy under 3 years does not even need to be in writing, so 'witnessed' is not an issue


I have always believed that any tenancy which does not commence immediately after being signed is best witnessed so that it is signed AS A DEED
This gives all parties greater protection that the tenancy is fully committed to.

Not having it signed as a deed, if the tenants do not show on the appointed day, the tenancy will not commence and all the LL will have is the first month's rent.

This is from memory and I have not checked it out

MSaxp
16-02-2013, 20:39 PM
Not having it signed as a deed, if the tenants do not show on the appointed day, the tenancy will not commence and all the LL will have is the first month's rent.

I would guess that the tenancy will not commence regardless of it being a deed. There is no tenancy without tenants taking possession, only an agreement for a tenancy. So I believe having it done as a deed offers more security for not sticking to an agreement for a tenancy. would still have to mitigate though

MSaxp
16-02-2013, 20:42 PM
3. I would consider 3 a dangerous tactic. ( The assumption is obviously that this is a joint tenancy). If one or more dont turn up, the ones who did sign and turn up are liable for the whole of the rent. Can they afford it though? Has each one been credit checked for the whole amount or 'their share'? do you have guarantors and is the guarantee explicit that they are jointly responsible for the whole of the rent and not limited to 'their share'.

bhaal
17-02-2013, 12:35 PM
3. I would consider 3 a dangerous tactic. ( The assumption is obviously that this is a joint tenancy). If one or more dont turn up, the ones who did sign and turn up are liable for the whole of the rent. Can they afford it though? Has each one been credit checked for the whole amount or 'their share'? do you have guarantors and is the guarantee explicit that they are jointly responsible for the whole of the rent and not limited to 'their share'.

I would think this is wrong (though I would be interested in what lawcruncher and westminster think). If five individuals are to enter into a contract jointly then one signing on their own doesn't bind anybody.

As to the OP's question, English law is flexible enough to allow an agreement to be dated when all the parties agree it should be, so just agree to date it when the last party signs. I'm somewhat confused by your reference to witnesses though. Is your tenancy agreement being signed as a deed?

MSaxp
17-02-2013, 15:19 PM
You might have a point there. My point was that some of the joint tenants signing and moving in, they can't deny liability for the whole tenancy on the basis some of the intended tenants didn't move in.

I agree some advice from lawcruncher or Westminster would be useful. I think we also agree it's probably not advisable for the op to proceed this way

spaul1
17-02-2013, 21:22 PM
3. I would consider 3 a dangerous tactic. ( The assumption is obviously that this is a joint tenancy). If one or more dont turn up, the ones who did sign and turn up are liable for the whole of the rent. Can they afford it though? Has each one been credit checked for the whole amount or 'their share'? do you have guarantors and is the guarantee explicit that they are jointly responsible for the whole of the rent and not limited to 'their share'.

As the prospective tenants were sourced via an agent who has carried out references (and I assume cerdit checks) who provided me with all their details including a guarantor for each tenant. I will get the guarantor sign a separate agreement each and the agreement will state that they are jointly responsible for the whole of the rent and not just limited to share of the person they are guaranteeing for.

spaul1
17-02-2013, 21:24 PM
Thanks everyone for your answers - looks like I may have to carry out some more research, but thank you for taking the time to reply.

Bel
17-02-2013, 22:12 PM
I would guess that the tenancy will not commence regardless of it being a deed. There is no tenancy without tenants taking possession, only an agreement for a tenancy. So I believe having it done as a deed offers more security for not sticking to an agreement for a tenancy. would still have to mitigate though

See here

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2012/09/06/does-a-tenancy-agreement-have-to-be-witnessed-and-signed-as-a-deed/

Previous thread

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?6802-Signing-AST-in-advance-is-signature-needed-at-all