End of Fixed period AST

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  • End of Fixed period AST

    We are coming to the end of a 12 month Fixed AST. We have paid the rent on time every month, and the flat is kept immaculately. We have a good relationship with the LL but deal through an Agent. The Agent has sent us a letter saying that to our tenancy agreement is going to expire and to renew our tenancy agreement, we must pay £75 +VAT. The alternative is to move out.

    I'm quite concerned that these are the only 2 options the Agent is offering.

    As far as I was aware, if we stay we automatically go onto a periodic contract which we are more than happy with, and we're more than happy to tell them that in advance as well. Rent is paid monthly, so it would be at least 1 month notice from us, and at least 2 months from LL. If the LL is desperate to tie us down for another 6 months, (but not 12) we'll gladly sign that as well, but don't see why we should have to pay for the 'privilege'. Can we refuse to pay this?

    Thanks for any help


  • #2
    Regrettably you cannot. Although you are quite correct, the agent is using the usual agent's trick of making a bit of extra money by unnecesarily requiring you to sign a new AST for a fee. He has probably persuaded his landlord client that this is the way to do things properly. Recently I engaged an agent I have used before to get me a new tenant. The large, old established estate/letting agent had recently revamped his lettings department with new manager and all sorts of new terms and conditions which I was asked to sign. I read them carefully and found the clause about the six monthly renewals. To the horror of the girl at the desk I politely crossed out the offending clause. She was quite adamant that this could not be done. The responsible manager was thus summoned from his office who, fortunately, knew what he was talking about. He shook my hand and told me that he was quite happy for the clause to be deleted and the office then provided an excellent service in finding me a new tenant for a fair and reasonable one-off fee. Less experienced landlords don't know this - they are also expected to pay a renewal fee as well. Actually my agent tried this on with me as they hadn't got me out of their standard paperwork system. A polite letter soon brought forth appropriate apologies.

    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


    • #3
      You can call their bluff and refuse, but it is a risk.
      Alternatively if they have not issued a section 21 then do nothing, but once again there is a risk.

      It depends whether landlord is prepared to take a void period or keep a good tenant.


      • #4
        When presented with this myself I refused point blank to do it. The clause had not been pointed out to me and I just argued the point in law that the tenancy runs periodic after the fixed term ends. I also went direct to the LL and told them the law too. The agent backed down and I stayed a further 10 months! If you are good tenants use this to your advantage and tell them you do not wish to sign a further 6 months as you wish to go periodic, say they can accept that and you stay or they can let you go and risk voids or a rubbish tenant!

        Good luck.
        GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

        Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!


        • #5
          Agent has NO contract with T. Hence T has no obligation to pay anything to agent.
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


          • #6
            Say T refused to sign at the end of the 12months fixed term, what action would LL take if he wasn't prepared to let it slip into a periodic contract and would only allow fixed term?
            My opinions are exactly what you would expect, my own!


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