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DrGaz

Renewal Of Contract Question - Landlord/agent Apparently Taking The P*** ?

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We have rented our flat for almost 8 years and our contract is due for renewal. We don't want to renew for another 12 months as we have previously done. Instead we want to move to a rolling monthly contract, because we want to find a bigger property with garden that is more suitable for family.

Our agent has discussed our request with the landlord who has "generously" offered to give us another 12 months contract with a 2 month break clause. ...oh and the agent want to hit us with a £120 admin fee (we have never been charged one before despite making changes to our contract).

I thought we had a legal right to switch to a monthly rolling contract, and certainly shouldn't be charged admin fees for this. Is this correct? Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

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This exact scenario happens to me every year. Last year I argued the point of a rolling contract being my legal right but the agent replied with an underhand threat saying that the landlord also had a legal right to issue a Section 21 notice, and would do so as a rolling contract was not in their interests.

An fixed term AST only really benefits the landlord (by extending the tenant's legal break clause from 1 month to 2 months) and the agent (for the admin fee). I've come to accept the fee as a yearly tenant tax and end up paying it as moving would be even more costly.

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OP - if you let the fixed term expire then you will automatically be on a Statutory Periodic (rolling) tenancy. Nobody needs to do anything to make this happen nor can do anything to prevent it. You won't owe the agent anything because there is nothing he needs to do.

Do you think your landlord will no longer want you as a tenant if this happens or is this what the agent is telling you. The agent is only interested in extracting money from you.

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OP - if you let the fixed term expire then you will automatically be on a Statutory Periodic (rolling) tenancy. Nobody needs to do anything to make this happen nor can do anything to prevent it. You won't owe the agent anything because there is nothing he needs to do.

Do you think your landlord will no longer want you as a tenant if this happens or is this what the agent is telling you. The agent is only interested in extracting money from you.

This. I would call their bluff and do nothing. I very much doubt that you will be receiving a section 21 notice if you have been a good tenant for eight years!

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OP - if you let the fixed term expire then you will automatically be on a Statutory Periodic (rolling) tenancy. Nobody needs to do anything to make this happen nor can do anything to prevent it. You won't owe the agent anything because there is nothing he needs to do.

Do you think your landlord will no longer want you as a tenant if this happens or is this what the agent is telling you. The agent is only interested in extracting money from you.

Do as above, basically it becomes a rolling periodic tenancy by doing nothing, so just don't discuss it.

If the landlord issues a section 21 (unlikely) then tell the agent the same day that you will be refusing all access for viewings, which you are fully legally entitled to. Thus guaranteeing them a void. But in reality you will probably find the landlord is quite happy with you as a tenant and is being equally pressured by the agent as they want fees from both sides.

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Thanks all for the advice. I like the idea of doing nothing B)

What happens about rent increases? They have already written to us to say that the rent will increase after our contract expires. If we're on a Statutory Periodic (rolling) tenancy, can they increase it whenever they like to make life uncomfortable for us?

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Thanks all for the advice. I like the idea of doing nothing B)

What happens about rent increases? They have already written to us to say that the rent will increase after our contract expires. If we're on a Statutory Periodic (rolling) tenancy, can they increase it whenever they like to make life uncomfortable for us?

In England, landlords can force a rent increase on you without your agreement but they have to follow the correct procedure. Details here:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/private_renting/costs_of_renting/private_tenancies

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Thanks to all for the advice so far :)

In the end we just called their bluff and didn't renew the contract. They tried phoning a few times to apply pressure but I ignored. Nothing in writing yet about what will happen...

Question: A few weeks ago they informed us of a rent increase of £50 that kicks in from the next tenancy period (in a couple of day's time). Given that we haven't signed anything can they enforce this? I'm thinking it's probably reasonable for us to accept the increase as it's the usual annual thing. Not accepting it might make an enemy out of them. However, if they try hitting us with any more within in the next 12 months then they can p*** off.

Thoughts?

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So sounds like you are now on a statutory periodic AST.

My understanding is that the landlord can increase the rent if you mutually agree, or give you notice of a rent increase on a section13 notice.

My understanding is that if you pay the increased rent that is seen as you agreeing to it... so if you don't agree don't pay it!

Was the letter you received a section 13 notice? My understanding is that the section 13 notice should set out your options including your right of referral to a Rent Assessment Committee.

My understanding is that a landlord can only issue one section 13 notice per year: i.e. only force 1 rent increase a year.

Of course if you don't agree to a rent increase they can issue a section 21 notice for you to leave...

Best of luck

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I don't think a break-clause is a bullet proof term in a contract anyway although unlikely a landlord would challenge it as such if you tried to make use of one put into a contract.

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