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Short notice in the fixed term contract - please help

Hi,
My flatmates and I have signed an AST with our landlord. The contract will end in 20 December 2019.
We would like to renew the contract but the landlord rejected today - saying they want to re-furnish the flat.
Is he supposed to give a formal notice at least 2 months?
Is there anything we can do to keep us stay maybe just until January or February?
We have requested a short term extension but he says he is considering. So I wonder if there is any law forcement that can protect us.

Thank you very much for your help in advance!

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Hi Andrew,

If the landlord is planning to repossess the property for the refurnishing work, then they will either need to legally evict you or come to a written agreement allowing you to move out and then back into the property once the work is complete.

Yes, landlords must give a minimum of two months’ notice to terminate the tenancy.

If you do not vacate the tenancy at the end of the notice period, the the landlord will be able to apply to court for a repossession order. Once the landlord has this, they can get a warrant for bailiffs to repossess the property. This whole process takes several months on average, so if the landlord served a valid notice expiring 20th December, and you just stayed at the property until Jan or Feb, it’s quite likely the landlord would be unable to do anything about it.

This is not a good idea though, because means your current landlord would not give you a good reference when you moved. And in general it is always best to come to a consensus position on move-outs like this. If they are truly just refurbishing, then they will probably want tenants when it is over, and if you have been good tenants, then there’s no reason for them not to let the property to you after the work is complete.

It sounds like the landlord has not yet served valid notice, however, and 2 months’ minimum must be given. Therefore, it sounds unlikely you’ll have to leave before Jan/Feb.

Sam

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Hi Sam,

Thank you very much for your reply! Really appreciated it.
So does it mean, if the landlord does not give valid notice, our fixed term AST contract will be automatically renewed as periodic agreement?
The situation is actually that — our former landlord sold his house few months ago with our tenancy contract. So we are renewing the contract with new landlord.

Hi Sam,

Thank you very much for your reply! Really appreciated it.
So does it mean, if the landlord does not give valid notice, our fixed term AST contract will be automatically renewed as periodic agreement?

The situation is actually that — our former landlord sold his house this August (and he sold our tenancy contract too) So we were actually trying to renew the contract with new landlord.
We have asked for a short extension of the contract (for 1-2 month, just to avoid the Chirstmas) but the new landlord simply says they will consider it. However, we are still waiting for his reply.

Most of conversation happened via phone. So far he only sent one email on 11th November saying that he will not renew the contract because he is looking to take back the property, which does not meet the requirement of 2 months minimum notice.
He should contact us before 20th October if he wants us to move out on 20th December (when the contract ends). Am I right?

Yes it sounds like it from what you’ve said.

OK I see. It’s important to keep in mind that they may have bought the property with no intention of continuing to let to you.

Yes, just as described in our above correspondence. It’s possible that the new landlord is inexperienced or just not bothered about following the proper processes. This could be to your benefit if you did not want to leave.

A colleague has had a look into what happens when a new landlord take over the tenancy. They need to provide you with the new landlords address within 2 months or they could face a fine. It also looks like you could withhold rent until you receive the new landlord’s address.

This is in the Landlord and Tenant Acts 1985 and 1987 if you’d like to find out more.