I have an AST (assured shorthold tenancy). The fixed term is about to expire and neither I nor the landlord intend to end the tenancy. According to all explanations that I could find, the tenancy will automatically become periodic (1 month rolling contract).
However, the agency claims that the landlord does not accept a periodic tenancy and insists that a new fixed term contract is signed. The agency claims that a periodic tenancy would require written explicit permission by the landlord.
I think they agency is incorrect. I don’t think a written permission is required. I think that, if the tenants cannot be convinced to sign a new agreement, the landlord will have to end the tenancy with a 2-months notice period in order to end the automatic periodic tenancy. Is this correct?
Does the 2-months period have to end with a day on which the rent would usually be paid (i.e. a whole number of months after the start of the tenancy)?
Thanks a lot for your help!
Hi Bastian - yes everything you’ve said is right!
Yes - the tenancy will become periodic by statue
If the notice is served after the end of the fixed term, then yes. If it is served during the fixed term, to expire afterwards, then no. But it sounds like in your situation, notice would only be served once the tenancy has become periodic.
Sounds as if the agency want to charge you for a new contract
Thanks Sam! This gives me some confidence to continue dealing with this in the way I have so far. I have simply politely refused to sign a new fixed term agreement and explained that I prefer the periodic tenancy. But the agency is surprisingly stubborn and continues to call me and send me emails, always claiming that the landlord has not authorised the periodic tenancy.
Colin3: Thanks, that’s what I also thought initially! To be honest, my impression is that the landlord doesn’t care at all and probably doesn’t reply to the agency’s messages. But this is also a reason why I don’t want to sign a new fixed term agreement - the flat has some problems and when I wanted to have something repaird (very simple repair), it took 4 months. For something that I could have done in 30min myself, had I been allowed. The agency claimed that they couldn’t reach the landlord. If something more serious has to be repaired, I don’t feel confident that the repair would actually happen and I don’t want to be bound by a contract to stay for more than a couple of weeks. (I know that I would have ways to enforce a repair, but that requires quite some effort.)
On the other hand, I don’t think they are even allowed to charge fees for a renewal anymore, thanks to the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
I dont believe the agency couldnt reach the landlord
I’d agree with Colin - it sounds like the agent is just trying to get a fee out of you. If you are able to reach the landlord directly again, I’d recommend telling them about this and of your wish to stay in the property and that the agency is the one causing any trouble.
Fees that are payable due to tenancies entered into before 1st June 2019 can still be charged until 1st June 2020.
Sam can an agency withhold the contact details of the landlord from the tenant. Then say you have to go thru us?
Oo good question Colin!
Tessa Shepperson, who has written for our blog in the past, wrote a great guide to this topic a few years ago. You can find it here.
The short answer is that tenants have the right to know their landlord’s name and address - but not, e.g. their mobile number. Landlords can, however, give their agent’s address as opposed to their own home/office address, so not much help there.
So it seems there’s not a lot a tenant can do to report their agent’s practice to their landlord if the agent is unwilling to play ball.
Maybe this is worth a blog post of our own!
As I understand it if you have an HMO in the hallway or entrance you have to have the landlords contact details. In my properties I put in the common area my name, address and phone number, whether HMO or not. Eg if police or fire dept need to get you it is there. But then I do not have an agent
I would need to research the HMO rules, but it’s certainly the case that tenants need emergency contact details for their tenancy. But the issue for @Bastian is that those can be the agent’s contact details.
I get that it just does not seem fair and upfront. More like its protecting the agents , not the tenant.
Bastion you can find out, if you dont know, who owns your property thru the land registry, for a relatively small fee. Then you can write stating your case
Thanks for your help! You are right, I should try to contact the landlord directly instead of the agency.
Sam hi I have read Tessa topic . It is now as clear as mud.
Ooh reading all of this makes me glad I used Open Rent and can communicate with my tenants directly.
Hi, just to let you know how this worked out: I wrote a letter to the landlord explaining the situation (I only had his postal address), and in parallel, I wrote an email to the agency. The agency then wrote to me, saying something along the lines of “we spoke with the landlord again and convinced him that a rolling contract is fine”. I did not hear back from the landlord although I gave him my phone number and email address. I would have been curious to know what had happened behind the scenes.
But anyway, I’m happy with this outcome. I think it’s ridiculous that the agency presents it as their achievement that I am on a rolling contract, which is the legal default anyway, but whatever.
Thanks again for your help!
Carole2: yes, you are definitely right!
Ah yeah tell me about it. Classic agent move.
Glad it has all worked out, though!
I have 2 tenants that have been on a rolling contract for 20 years or so As long as they pay the rent I am Happy
I insisted my letting agent use a clause from my Tenancy Agreement, when they took over from me, clearly stating that the contract would revert to a periodic tenancy at the end of their fixed term, so that the agent wasn’t in a position to charge my tenants and me a fee for renewals, which was their want.
It also included very specific wording, which I had gleaned from my research of a council tax hearing I had endured regarding tenant / landlord liability. The reason for this is that our council have completely abolished any relief for empty properties between tenancies, and even refuse a request for the single occupancy 25% discount when vacant, therefore full council tax becomes due from the landlord / owner the day the tenant vacates. Without the clause I included you could not make the tenant liable for the council tax up to their obligatory notice periods, in cases where they do a moonlight flit, beyond the original fixed term noted on the contract. Oddly, and very decently, it was the councils legal clerk to the hearing that directed me towards the relevant case histories to aid my case as best he could, obviously sympathetic to our cause.