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pcwilkins
10-05-2007, 12:25 PM
Good afternoon,

Hope someone can advise.

We have been renting a house (on an assured shorthold tenancy) for the last two years, putting up with the gross incompetancy of the agent because the house is reasonable priced.

Our current contract expires at the end of May, and a couple of months ago the agent sent a letter asking if we wanted to "renew the agreement". We said yes, for another six months.

We've just received the new agreement and it is different to the old one. Not to a great extent but there are a few new clauses - the most obvious four being:

1) The new agreement says that we agree to have the house and all its contents "professionally cleaned" at the end of the tenancy. This was not mentioned in the old agreement. The house was filthy when we moved in and we certainly intend to leave it in a fit state for the next tenant, but we don't see why we can't clean it ourselves!

2) We are now barred from hanging pictures without the landlords/agents written permission!

3) We are not allowed to play any musical instrument, practise any singing or allow any singing to be practised between the hours of 11pm and 7pm (which we think must be a typo - surely it means 11pm and 7am?).

4) We are not allowed to engage in any "illegal or immoral" activities in the property. Illegal I would agree to, but I would say that the morality of what we do within our own home is no concern of our landlords! In any case, whose definition of "immoral" are we supposed to use?

Now to my mind, if this agreement is not the same as the old one, it can hardly be called "renewing the agreement" - "revising the agreement", perhaps.

My concern is that if we refuse to sign the new agreement we will be asked to leave. Would it be acceptable for me to cross out the new clauses and make the contract identical to the old one before returning it signed, or should I get the agent to send us a new contract?

I accept that the landlord and agent are entitled to change the agreement, and I wouldn't mind so much if they had said "By the way, we've changed the agreement a bit." But some of these clauses seem unreasonable. Surely any changes should have been agreed upon prior to the new contract being produced?

Last question is, we have agreed to renew the agreement; surely that does not mean we are now legally bound to agree to these new terms?

Thanks for your opinions!

Peter

Poppy35
10-05-2007, 13:11 PM
Good afternoon,

Hope someone can advise.

We have been renting a house (on an assured shorthold tenancy) for the last two years, putting up with the gross incompetancy of the agent because the house is reasonable priced.

Our current contract expires at the end of May, and a couple of months ago the agent sent a letter asking if we wanted to "renew the agreement". We said yes, for another six months.

We've just received the new agreement and it is different to the old one. Not to a great extent but there are a few new clauses - the most obvious four being:

1) The new agreement says that we agree to have the house and all its contents "professionally cleaned" at the end of the tenancy. This was not mentioned in the old agreement. The house was filthy when we moved in and we certainly intend to leave it in a fit state for the next tenant, but we don't see why we can't clean it ourselves! if the house was not professionally cleaned when you moved in then you should not have to have it done when you leave. Presume and Inventory was prepared stating condition/state of property when you moved in?

2) We are now barred from hanging pictures without the landlords/agents written permission! this is normal in most AST's. ask for permission though in writing

3) We are not allowed to play any musical instrument, practise any singing or allow any singing to be practised between the hours of 11pm and 7pm (which we think must be a typo - surely it means 11pm and 7am?). yes should be 7am - again this is a normal condition

4) We are not allowed to engage in any "illegal or immoral" activities in the property. Illegal I would agree to, but I would say that the morality of what we do within our own home is no concern of our landlords! In any case, whose definition of "immoral" are we supposed to use? john prescotts!! sorry dont know!

Now to my mind, if this agreement is not the same as the old one, it can hardly be called "renewing the agreement" - "revising the agreement", perhaps. you are not having the lease renewed you are being granted a new lease under different terms

My concern is that if we refuse to sign the new agreement we will be asked to leave. Would it be acceptable for me to cross out the new clauses and make the contract identical to the old one before returning it signed, or should I get the agent to send us a new contract? perhaps you could write to your agent saying you are happy to sign the lease but the omit the clauses you are not happy with? At the end of the day they want their renewal costs and am sure will do their utmost to keep you in the house

I accept that the landlord and agent are entitled to change the agreement, and I wouldn't mind so much if they had said "By the way, we've changed the agreement a bit." But some of these clauses seem unreasonable. Surely any changes should have been agreed upon prior to the new contract being produced?

Last question is, we have agreed to renew the agreement; surely that does not mean we are now legally bound to agree to these new terms? no it does not. They could always serve you with a section 21 notice for possession but personally i feel they would be silly to do so
Thanks for your opinions!

Peter

let us know how it goes.

oops make sure you ask them about Tenancy Deposit Scheme. As your tenancy is being re-granted then your deposit needs to be secured either in a custodial scheme or insurance based scheme and you should be given notice of how it is being held.

pcwilkins
10-05-2007, 13:21 PM
Thanks very much, kind of what I was thinking. Thanks for the heads up about the TDS, hadn't thought of that.

Will let you know what happens. Thanks again for your help.

Peter

pcwilkins
18-05-2007, 12:07 PM
New development!

I basically removed the parts of the agreement that we didn't agree too and returned it. Now he have received another copy of the agreement, the same as the first copy they sent but with the many mistakes that we pointed out corrected. With it they have enclosed a very stuffy letter saying that all their agreements are produced by their franchise head office and they are not able to issue individual agreements.

The only part of the agreement which we really REALLY object to is the clause stating that we will have the house professionally cleaned before we move out. The house was filthy when we arrived and we are quite capable of cleaning it ourselves! Are we being unreasonable to ask for this clause to be removed?

The situation is a bit complicated because our agreement is actually with the agent, who are a franchise. We do know the owner of the house and I have tried to contact her to ask what she thinks and whether she is willing to put pressure on them from her end. I doubt she will do much because she gets paid her cut of the rent (about 66% of what we pay!) whether the house is vacant or not.

The agents say that if we do not return the agreement, signed and unaltered, by the renewal date (June 1st) they will assume we don't want to stay.

Any advice? I am going to try phoning the franchise's head office but I doubt they will be interested.

Maybe we should just shut up and sign, swallowing our pride. After all professional cleaning can't be that expensive...can it?

Thanks for any advice,

Peter

jeffrey
18-05-2007, 12:11 PM
They cannot "assume" any such thing. Agents are not party to the contractual relationship between L and T. L cannot terminate other than in accordance with 1988 Act (eg Notice under s.8 or s.21).

pcwilkins
18-05-2007, 12:14 PM
They cannot "assume" any such thing. Agents are not party to the contractual relationship between L and T. L cannot terminate other than in accordance with 1988 Act (eg Notice under s.8 or s.21).

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. Our agreement is with the Agent - the actual owner lets the house to the agent, who lets it to us. Our current agreement expires at the end of this month.

Basically I just want opinions on whether I'm being unreasonable?

Peter

Poppy35
18-05-2007, 17:57 PM
how can the agent who is the "tenant" then let it to you? are they subletting then?

J4L
18-05-2007, 19:04 PM
I don't understand this 'arrangement' either??
Please explain further . .

Bel
19-05-2007, 15:39 PM
Requring you to have the property 'professionally cleaned' is an unfair term, and hence (potentially) unenforcable. So you could sign and just 'ignore it'. As long as you have cleaned it to professional standard you should be ok. Alternatively set yourself up as a professional cleaner and invoice yourself if they require a receipt!!

Your attitude is probably a little too 'confrontational' for them compared to many tenants. Bear in mind that you may want a reference from them sometime. Personally, I think you are right to question.