Sounds like, despite your tenants having been there 7 years, you have been continuously issuing new AST’s throughout those years. I can only hope you have had the deposit -if any was ever received- suitably protected & reprotected each time one term ended and another commenced. (I understand simply advising the relevant scheme of a new tenancy with same tenants etc., is sometimes acceptable but I am not a master of all three schemes and the various options and respective requirements within them such as their custodial or insurance scheme options.)
Re-issuing new contracts is a minefield and an unnecessary complication which has great potential to compromise you should they decide to sue. Letting Agents like to do it because it gives an opportunity to take money from both parties for ‘admin charges.’ It’s not a funny joke.
It is, though, sharp practice in my view. A ‘rolling’ or ‘statutory periodic assured’ tenancy is the simpler process where -believe it or not- no further action is required. It simply runs on under the same terms. A rent increase can be issued thereafter with ease via a Form 4 (Form 4d for Wales, if memory serves?) which is a Section 13 notice of a proposed rental increase. A landlord needs to give only one month’s notice for this in most cases. It’s about as simple as it gets in our game.
With due respect to Sam and his earlier post, I would rather suggest the correct and prudent procedure is indeed to serve a Section 21 notice and not to attempt to humour them into some form of amicable, verbalised mutually agreed exit. That could change on the day and then you have no grounds to enforce it. The basic adage should be ‘All in writing… Always!’
To attempt to maintain good relations, however, you should let them know to expect this notice and to reassure them they have been great tenants I.e. ’ don’t take it personally!’
It might be a good idea to hand deliver it to coincide with a property visit e.g. your scheduled property inspection. (MUST be delivered to or while at the property address and with all tenants named.)
Get a signature from them on your copy on receipt. If you can have a third party witness to notice being ‘served’ (just a posh way of saying given or delivered) that would be helpful if not all tenants are there to sign but also to reduce risk of a later denial that it was ever received. Try to arrange all tenants are present for their signatures. If not, email all tenants referencing the notice having been served and requesting acknowledgement from each. If it goes to court, you will need all the evidence you have mustered that indicates you have been procedurally correct but also administratively diligent.
Stay cautious - and by that I mean cynical- and anticipate worst case scenario by default so that you are best placed to avoid it. That, in a nutshell, has always been my basic business plan in this game. It quels the desires of the opportunist.
Before issuing a Section 21 Notice of Possession, ensure you have correctly lodged the deposit, issued the ‘prescribed information’, the Terms and Conditions relating to which scheme you used to lodge it, issued a current EPC., (energy performance certificate), an up to date Gas Safety certificate and the latest version of the government’s ‘How to rent’ guidance (downloadable.) You should also have written acknowledgment that they have been issued all this bumpf.
Check Sam’s link on how to issue a s21 in case I have forgotten something here (doing all this on a smartphone!)
Finally, seek qualified advice just to check the advice I have given here is bang up to date because the legislation appears ever changing these days… I would recommend membership of National Landlords Association (NLA) to this end, and the use of their helpline.
Sam… have I got it spot on…?!
Your further input would assist the original enquirer and other readers, I’m sure.
ps. please note. I am not a qualified expert; just a fellow landlord.