A new tenancy agreement
Usually a tenancy agreement will be for a term of six months or a year. At the end of that period, certainly if your landlord is using an agent, you will be asked to sign up for a further term. Many agents will also ask you to pay a ‘renewal fee‘ at the same time.
There are a number of points here.
Is a new tenancy agreement necessary?
Signing a new tenancy though, is often a good idea. It gives you security. Remember that if your tenancy is a rolling ‘periodic’ tenancy, your landlord can give you between to and three months to leave at any time. If you sign up for another year, this can’t happen (unless there is a break clause).
However, you may not be worried about this. For example your own plans may be subject to change, and you may not want to tie yourself in to another long period. In which case you should not sign the new agreement.
Can you be forced to sign a new tenancy agreement?
No. All they can do is threaten to evict you. Which they can do, but only after serving you with a two – three months notice and bringing court proceedings which normally take not less than another two months. You may be gone by then.
Also, your landlord, when push comes to shove, probably won’t want to evict you anyway. If you are paying your rent regularly and looking after the place, will they really want to the expense of a court claim and then having to look for a new tenant who might not turn out as reliable as you? Bear in mind also that very many tenancies roll on as a periodic tenancy for years and years without problem. In most cases there isn’t really any need for a new tenancy document.
The only time it is really important for the landlord to give you a new fixed term and tenancy is if he wants to increase the rent. But there are other ways of increasing rent. For example by agreement.
So what about this renewal fee?
This is often the real reason why agents want you to sign a new tenancy agreement. It gives them a reason to make a charge.
Whether the charge is actually payable is a moot point. If it is authorised by the tenancy agreement you signed then it will be, but not many tenancy agreements will include this.
If the charge is modest, most people just pay up on the basis that it is not really worth the hassle of not paying and antagonizing the agents. However if the charge is a lot of money, you could question whether it is payable, and perhaps refuse to pay. At least until they have provided you with some legal justification for charging it. Which they may find hard to do!
See more help for tenants on Landlord Law.