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Agent wants tenant to sign new contract

housesHere is a question to the blog clinic from Anna (not her real name) who is a tenant

I am currently on a fixed term tenancy agreement through a lettings agency – 3 months, rent paid in advance. In the contract it says that I/the landlord/agent would need to give 1 months notice before the end of the tenancy agreement if we want to stay on/move out.

The agent is now pushing for a 6 months fixed period contract. What are my rights? How can I push for a periodic/3 month fixed term contract – like the one I am on now.

I told the agent of my intent a month ago but they have been quite slow in. I feel like they are purposely slowing down the process so that it becomes too late for me to move out and am forced to just sign a 6months contract (there is now only 2 weeks left).

You don’t HAVE to sign a new agreement.  If you stay on, a periodic tenancy will be created automatically – you don’t have to do anything.  The terms and conditions of your current agreement will continue to apply (apart from the fixed term part).

The periodic tenancy will be a three month periodic, as you say, if you have been paying your rent quarterly.

The clause requiring you to give one months notice if you want to stay on will almost certainly be void.  A clause in the tenancy agreement cannot take away your rights under s5 of the Housing Act 1988 (the section which creates the periodic tenancy if you stay on).

The reason the agents will be pushing for you to sign a new fixed term is because they will then be able to charge a commission to the landlord  Not because it is illegal in any way for you to stay on.

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2 Responses to Agent wants tenant to sign new contract

  1. The agent will also charge a renewal fee to the tenant as well. I have seen £350 before but £120 is not uncommon either

  2. Tessa

    I think you are answering the wrong question in terms of the 1 month notice. No rights are being taken away because the tenancy is not yet periodic so s5 does not (yet) apply.

    The point at issue here is the obligation to give 1 month notice if they want to move out, if they intend leaving.

    This is totally unenforceable under UTCCR as evidenced many times by OFT pronouncement. There is no legal basis to this – they argue the Law doesn’t say you have to give the month and therefore you don’t. Others have argued the Law doesn’t say you cannot be obliged top, so if you contract to do so then you must.

    But OFT is taken notice of in a Lower Court, so any such notice clause for wanting to vacate is totally unenforceable.

    As for giving notice of intention to go periodic that is such a daft idea I won’t even comment!!



About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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