Tenancy Extension... or not?

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    Tenancy Extension... or not?

    I rented my flat on a fairly standard 1 year AST.

    When it came around to renewal time, the Letting Agent sent a letter offering two options: renew or vacate. The first option was presented as follows:
    If you would like to remain in your home and extend the Tenany for a further 12 months please confirm your wishes [and we will] approach your Landlord. On acceptance we will then prepare legal documentation whereupon a fee of £58.75 including VAT will be due.
    The attached form offered a 6/12 month extension, and included an option for a "release clause" providing a one month / two month notice period for T / LL respectively.

    I was a little peeved to be apparently asked to pay for equivalent terms to a Statutory Period Tenancy, with the expectation of repeating the payment next year. I talked to the Landlord, and explained that I would happily stay on without signing any further agreement, under an SPT. He agreed, I ignored the agent's letters, and I'm still here 7 months later.

    This week, the agent has sent me another letter, enclosing the agreement that I might have chosen to sign last November. They have stated that if the agreement (backdated to last year) is not signed and returned by their stated deadline, the Tenancy will (surprise!) automatically become an SPT. (What, again?!)

    They also demanded payment for the £58.75.

    I never made any request to extend the tenancy -- I haven't even contacted the agent since I rented the property. The clause from my agreement with the agency is reproduced below:
    Should my tenancy be extended there will be a further administration charge of £50 plus VAT.
    I know I'm being a tad tight-fisted here (even letting agents have to eat), so I might be prepared to allow them to withhold the money from my deposit come the end of the tenancy. However, my question is:

    Am I legally obliged to cough up?

    As far as I know the agent can't unilaterally withold money from your deposit anyway. Have you talked to your landlord about this? Presumably he's being billed as well: do you know if he's paying up?


      Originally posted by Ericthelobster View Post
      As far as I know the agent can't unilaterally withold money from your deposit anyway. Have you talked to your landlord about this? Presumably he's being billed as well: do you know if he's paying up?
      I kept my Landlord in the loop; I have a good business relationship with him, and I didn't want him alarmed by any letters sent by the agent. He said he would like to rent to me directly, but feared legal action from the agent. I imagine his agreement creams off 10% rent whilst I remain in the property, and I believe he paid up.

      The agreement does state that:
      The Security Deposit [lodged with the agent] will be returned [ASAP] less any amounts due to the LL and any amounts due to [the agent] to cover their costs in event [sic] of my breaching the terms and conditions of the Tenancy Agreement.
      I imagine this might be the clause they'd use to get their money. As a minor complication, however, they protected the deposit a few weeks after the last renewal date passed -- presumably to cover themselves. Their recent letter suggests they might unprotect it if no signed agreement is forthcoming (!).


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