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worriedlandlord
26-01-2008, 20:03 PM
I offered my tenant a new tenancy agreement after our two year agreement expired.

The new tenancy agreement is based on an ARLA template which is far more in-depth and detailed than my previous agreement that was just two sides of
A4.

After two weeks of me sending the new agreement, my tenant sent me a letter telling me that his solicitor had advised him he has three choices:

a) sign and return the new agreement
b) amend parts which he is not happy with and then sign and send it (only valid if I agree to the changes)
c) or refuse to sign the agreement.

He's chosen to excercise the third option of not signing the tenancy. He has however, agreed to pay the new rent (which was one of the main reasons to issue the tenancy in the first place).

The duration of the tenancy is the main reason he refuses to sign (although he didn't mention this in his letter). I have offered him a two year agreement with a view to extend for a further two years subject certain conditions. This would give him a maximum of four years. However, he would like a longer duration which I am not willing to offer.

The tenancy agreement I sent him was signed and dated by me as the Landlord. However, since he has both copies of the agreement which he has not signed yet, can I impose a validity period on the tenancy agreement? Such as if I don't receive a signed agreement within 30 days, this agreement is null and void / withdraw my offer of contract.

Secondly, if I continue with the tenancy without the new agreement as a statutory periodic on the new rent, would that be a huge risk to me as the landlord?

The statutory period tenancy would allow me to just give him a two month notice of eviction under s21 from his last rent payment date. I would have thought this would be more of a risk to him than me.

I look forward to your thoughts and professional opinions on how I should approach this problem.


Thank you.

davidjohnbutton
26-01-2008, 21:54 PM
The initial tenancy has expired - it has not been replaced with a new contract - therefore the tenant is now within a statutory assured period which you can end by the giving of two months notice under S21.

The only way rent can be increased during a SAP is by a S13 notice. Otherwise the rent remains the same as it was in the initial agreement UNLESS the original agreement made provision for the rent to be increased within the terms therein.

I believe that even if the tenant were to agree a rent increase, if it was not done by way of a S13 notice (with the exception above), then the tenant could reclaim all rent "overpaid" above the original rent going back 6 years.

johnjw
26-01-2008, 22:37 PM
Your tenant apparently would like to have a longer tenancy. However, his chosen course of action risks having no tenancy at all.
I think the best way forward is to have a face-to-face talk - both of you want to keep the tenancy going - you can't possibly be miles apart.
I believe that there would be risks for you as a Landlord if you were to offer longer than a 2-year tenancy - what you offer sounds reasonable. There shouldn't be any problem with the rent increase if you can persuade your tenant to sign the new agreement.

worriedlandlord
27-01-2008, 12:39 PM
David and John

Firstly thank you for taking time to share your advice.

David - I sent the tenant a letter requesting more rent immediatly after the two year agreement expired. I gave him 1 month from the date of my letter to arrange for the increase. I was adviced to do this by the local authority landlord/tenant advice centre.

The tenant approached the Housing Benefit office who agreed to increase his benefit. He then wrote to me to confirm the new rent. I sent a new agreement which he refused to sign but in his letter he stated that he would pay the new rent but not sign the agreement (reasons for which I mentioned earlier). I have already received his new rent.

I am not sure if all this complies with S13. The fact that the tenant has agreed in writing to pay the new rent and also started to pay me the new rent would mean that we have a "contract" where he stays in the house (under a Statutory Periodic Tenancy, SPT since no new contract has been signed) and pays the new rent.

Would I still be at risk of paying back additional rent?

John - I intend to write to him in order to ascertain which clauses in the new agreement he is not particurarly happy with. However, I am not willing to negotiate the duration of the tenancy as I believe the 4 years I have offered him is both fair and reasonable. Talking to him face to face would be a bad idea at moment as we're not in the best of terms!

My point is which I raised in my first post is that at which point can my agreement expire? As he already has two copies of the contract signed by me for him to send back signed. If he is refusing to sign the contract can I impose a validity period on that contract? And ask that he send both copies of the agreement back?

The reason I say this is, if I was to say for example issue a s21 notice to him in August 2008 under the SPT, he can then just sign the agreement date it back to January and tell the court that we have a two year agreement. Under the current circumstances what can I do to avoid that?

Thank you once again for your time.

davidjohnbutton
27-01-2008, 14:11 PM
A letter in itself does not act as a S13 notice. It must be in the proper format - PM me if you want a copy of the requisite form.

Serve the S13 notice increasing the rent ASAP because it needs a months notice.

If you have offered him a 4 year tenancy - watch it - it needs to be signed as a deed. If, going on your first post, it is in fact two years and there is no mention of it being extended by a further two years in the agreement, then you are OK for it to be signed as an ordinary AST agreement.

Serve a S21 notice immediately so that you are covered with a way of getting the tenant out if it all goes pear shaped. Tell him that you have withdrawn the offer of a 4 year tenancy and he will continue as a statutory periodic tenancy in the meantime.

Put and get everything in writing so that if the tenant tries doing a backdater as you suggest, there will be other correspondence to suggest that the january 08 agreement has been over-ridden by subsequent events.

davidjohnbutton
27-01-2008, 23:32 PM
A solicitor seems to differ with what I say about the need for a s13 notice in this case. See https://www.landlordlaw.co.uk/qa.ihtml?id=4&catparid=4&step=6&page=home second question down.

Surrey
28-01-2008, 22:30 PM
Also beware of issuing the S21 if you don't really mean it, as your tenant might decide to just up sticks and leave at some later time, claiming that he's only acting in accordance with the S21 notice. How successful he'd be in getting away with that approach has been subject of much debate in the last couple of months, so bear that in mind as well.