At What Point Do Other Landlords Sign AST?

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    Whoever's sending the agreement needs to make it clear it's a sample or example only (and, ideally, doesn't allow the recipient to fill in any blanks and sign it).

    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
      It doesn't really matter.
      If a landlord (or their agent) sends a tenancy agreement contract to a tenant and the tenant signs it, the contract is (almost certainly) made whether or not the landlord (or agent) ever, physically, signs it or not.
      I don't think that can be correct.
      Business contracts ping pong between parties all the time as a normal part of negotiations.


        Originally posted by boletus View Post
        I don't think that can be correct.
        Business contracts ping pong between parties all the time as a normal part of negotiations.
        They generally know what they're doing and make sure the communication does not constitute a formal contract offer. Most landlords and agents however.... not so much.
        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.


          Ignoring fancy stuff like options and lock-out agreements, you cannot have a one-sided contract. Either you have a contract which binds both parties or you do not. You therefore have to ask what it means if you take money from a tenant (whether expressed as rent, deposit or reservation fee) to reserve a property. If you want to argue that there is no contract then any money paid is refundable on demand because the money is not hooked up to any contract. If you want to argue that you can keep the money then you are arguing there is a contract to grant the tenancy. I would go so far as to say that the acceptance of money goes a long to evidencing the existence of a contract. It may come down to precisely what was agreed (which is often disputed) but you need to take care. Bear in mind also that any money taken in advance may be regarded as a deposit for the purpose of the deposit legislation with the clock starting to run as soon as you are paid. The counsel of perfection is not to take any cash until the point is reached when both parties are ready to proceed.

          Splashing “Subject to Contract” over pre-tenancy communications is not a magic formula which wards off the evil eye. It is no more than an indication that the document in question does not amount to an offer or acceptance and that negotiations are still in progress. Though it still needs to comply with the requirements to form a contract, an agreement for a tenancy for three years or less does not require any special formalities. In particular, the contract can be made orally. It is therefore possible inadvertantly to create a contract. What is needed is for the very first written communication to say something like: “All negotiations and communications between us, whether written or oral, are subject to contract and accordingly no agreement to grant a tenancy will arise until formal written agreements have been exchanged.” Even then, a court may declare a contract was created if it finds that the conduct of the parties warrant it.

          If a tenancy agreement is prepared as part and counterpart (that is one part to be signed by the landlord and the other by the tenant) there has to be a presumption that there is no contract until the parts are exchanged. However, given that writing is not required, the presumption can be rebutted by the actions of the parties. And of course if the tenant signs an agreement and the landlord does not and the tenant goes in, there will be a tenancy on the terms of the agreement signed by the tenant.

          Though I may have set out a desired procedure to follow, I do not think I expressly said that tenancy agreements need to be signed on the day the tenancy is to start. If the parties have concluded their negotiations and the tenancy is not to start immediately, there is no good legal reason why they should not both sign up. You just provide for the tenancy to start on the agreed start date. If concerned that the tenant may not pay the first instalment of rent and/or the deposit there is nothing to prevent the agreement providing that they are paid on the signing of the agreement – just remember to jiggle the rent payment provisions.


            Originally posted by KTC View Post
            Most landlords and agents however.... not so much.
            How about "...hardly ever"!


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