New Landlord wants 40% more or me out. Where do I stand?

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  • New Landlord wants 40% more or me out. Where do I stand?

    I am now in to the 11th year of my tenancy at the same address, but have just been contacted by a new landlord who has told me in no uncertain terms that I must pay a substantial increase on the rent, move, or be evicted.

    I had already listed this prblem on the back of another thread (was not a clever idea, I am told), and had some very helpful advice. Without going in to too much detail, I will copy some of the relevant contract details at the bottom of this message.

    My problem is to find out where I stand legally. If I am unable to meet his rent increase demand (which I am unable to do), can I really be evicted? If so, how long would I realistically have to look for an alternative address before I am forced out?

    As I said, I have had some really helpful advice on this already (for which I am grateful), I want to be sure of my position by getting a 2nd or 3rd opinion.

    Relevant details below:

    In the 10 years I have been here, I have not once missed a payment, or caused any problems for the previous land lord. I live with my wife and 9 year old Daughter.

    The new Landlord has not yet completed the contract (will in 7 days). The old Landlord's agent has told me they have nothing to do with me anymore (had to report a Boiler failure), so they are passing my calls over to the new guy.

    The tenancy contract is headed Assured Tenancy Agreement (Whole Building) No mention of Shorthold on the contract (some thing I was asked by another helper on the last thread)
    Term A fixed term of 10 years or such shorter period from an
    earlier termination (start date 10th of June 1995).

    Review dates Every 12 months (I think I have only had 3-4 increases in
    that period.


    A couple of clauses at the back regarding increase in rent. One seems to indicate that every year it will go up by around 15% (lists total anual payment in £s). The other mentions the following:

    Any rent concession given upon any review date, shall not predjutice the LL'a right to calculate future rent reviews up on the basis of the rent which would have been paid but for the concession.

    Any help and advice will be gratefully welcome.

  • #2
    What kind of tenancy did you have with your previous landlord ? This is important because you have been in for more than 10 years and you might have a tenancy that gives you more rights than an assured shorthold tenancy in which case you shouldn't sign a new contract.

    Comment


    • #3
      You have what is called a fully Assured Tenancy (as opposed to an assured shorthold). The fixed period was for 10 years, this has now become a periodic tenancy as from June 2005.

      With this type of tenancy the landlord cannot just evict you, you have what is called full security of tenure. As long as you didn't breach your contract and paid the rent you could stay forever pretty much. The landlord can only evict under certain circumstances. You are therfore in a strong position, so that should help ease your worries. Look here on the Office of deputy prime minister website for more info, and search the forum for Assured or Fully Assured tenancy. The landlord has to follow certain rules when increasing the rent, which can be referred to a rent assessment panel. The rent charged is a market rent as opposed to a regulated tenancy which is a fair rent.

      http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1151898

      http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1151918
      Last edited by lucid; 23-11-2005, 21:40 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for your help Jennifer.

        I really know nothing about contracts and the different terms used, or their meaning.
        The contract is titled
        [B]Assured Tenancy Agreement (Whole Building) under the Housing act of 1988[/B]

        Also mentions

        Term A fixed term of 10 years or such shorter period from an
        earlier termination (start date 10th of June 1995).


        I am not looking for trouble. It is just that the knock on the door came out of the blue, so I am in a panic as to what he can do at short notice. I would hate to have to leave the House this side of Christmas as I would have no chance of finding a suitable alternative accomodation. He is quite blunt about his deman. Increase the rent, leave, or I will start eviction proceedings straight after the contract completion.

        I am not sure if it is relevant, but I was offered the option of buying this property a few months back by the original land lord (about 6-8 months)

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks again Lucid.

          I am about to look up your suggested links for more information.

          As I mentioned in the previous thread (the wrong place )) I think it is time I moved on from here, and sorted out some thing more permenant for my family, but it will take me around 6 months to do so. I am not after a free ride, or wanting to give this new LL a hard time. Just need peace of mind in order to get out of this mess in a controlled way.

          I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help.

          Comment


          • #6
            As i said in my post you have security of tenure YOU CAN STAY FOREVER he cannot evict you! read the info from the ODPM site for Assured NOT shorthold!!

            If you move out voluntarily any new tenancy you have will be an assured shorthold in which you would have a lot less rights than you have now. Where the landlord could evict you if he wanted, at the moment he cannot.

            In my opinion you would be most foolish to move out. many tenants in your position only give up their tenancies after being paid a large sum of money...several 000's of pounds depending on the value of the property.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by lucid
              As i said in my post you have security of tenure YOU CAN STAY FOREVER he cannot evict you! read the info from the ODPM site for Assured NOT shorthold!!

              If you move out voluntarily any new tenancy you have will be an assured shorthold in which you would have a lot less rights than you have now. Where the landlord could evict you if he wanted, at the moment he cannot.

              In my opinion you would be most foolish to move out. many tenants in your position only give up their tenancies after being paid a large sum of money...several 000's of pounds depending on the value of the property.
              Thanks Lucid.

              I have just ran through the link you gave me. There is a lot of information to take in, as there are so many references to other sections and appendix.

              The one thing that stands out (from your first reply and the web link) is that the LL may have the right to charge me the market rate for the property. When I first moved in (1995), I was charged £606 per month. Over the past 10 years it has been adjusted 3 or 4 times (not really sure of the exact number) and the rent currently stands at just under £700 per month. The new LL told me the current rate is around £1100? I did scan through some local paper, and they typically advertise a 3 bed house at around £200-£210 per week in this area.

              Is it correct to assume that he can claim the market rate, straight after taking over the contract?

              I really am not interested in taking advantage of the situation, or asking for a pay off. I just want to get through the Winter months, and find a suitable place to move to (been waiting for property prices to come down for the past 2 years, in order to go for a mortgage of my own, but it just keeps on rising).

              Comment


              • #8
                Re Rent increase check what it says in your agreement, if you are unsure see a solicitor or goto the local lawcentre or housing advice centre. In order to stay now you need not sign any new agreement. Do not sign anything.

                Download pdf info leaflet here:
                http://www.odpm.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1151919

                From ODPm site:

                When a fixed term tenancy ends and the tenancy lapses into a statutory periodic tenancy, the landlord can put the rent up if you agree. Alternatively he or she can use the formal procedure in the Housing Act 1988 to propose a rent increase to be payable as soon as the statutory tenancy starts. The landlord can then propose further increases at yearly intervals after the first increase.

                7.4 What is the formal procedure for proposing a rent increase for contractual or statutory periodic tenancies where this is not covered in the tenancy agreement?

                The landlord must propose the rent increase on one of two special forms called "Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in England" or "Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy of premises situated in Wales". The forms can be used for assured or assured shorthold tenancies.

                He or she must give at least a month's notice of the proposed increase if the rent is paid on a weekly or monthly basis (more if the rent period is longer). More details are in Appendix E.

                7.5 What should I do if I get formal notice of a rent increase?

                If you accept the rent increase, you should simply pay it from the date given in the notice.

                If you do not agree with the increase, you must apply to a rent assessment committee to decide what the rent should be. You must apply on a special form called "Application referring a Notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy or Agricultural Occupancy to a Rent Assessment Committee", available from law stationers or rent assessment panels (see Appendix D). (This form must also be used if the tenancy is a shorthold tenancy). The committee must receive the application before the date on which the new rent would be due.

                7.6 What is a rent assessment committee?

                Rent assessment committees are made up of 2 or 3 people - usually a lawyer, a property valuer and a lay person. They are drawn from rent assessment panels - bodies of people with appropriate expertise appointed by Government Ministers. There are 6 rent assessment panels in England and Wales. Their addresses are given in Appendix D. The committees are independent of both central and local government. There is no appeal against a committee's decision except on a point of law.

                The committee may make a decision by considering the relevant papers although you or the landlord can ask for an informal hearing, which you may both attend. There is no charge for a committee decision.

                7.7 When can I apply to a rent assessment committee for a decision on the rent?

                If you are an assured or a shorthold tenant, you can ask a committee to set a rent under a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy if you have been given notice by the landlord of a rent increase (see section 7.4).

                If you are a shorthold tenant, you can ask a committee to set a rent at the beginning of a shorthold tenancy if you consider the rent to be significantly higher than rents for comparable tenancies (see section 7.10).

                7.8 How does the rent assessment committee decide on a rent for a contractual periodic or statutory periodic tenancy?

                When settling disputes on rent, the committee decides what rent the landlord could reasonably expect for the property if he or she was letting it on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms. It does not take into account any increase in the value of the property due to voluntary improvements by you. The committee may agree the proposed rent or set a higher or lower rent.

                The rent fixed by the committee is the legal maximum the landlord can charge. The new rent will be payable from the date specified in the landlord's notice unless the committee considers this would cause you undue hardship in which case it may specify a later date.

                7.9 Can the landlord propose a further rent increase after the committee has made a decision?

                The landlord can propose that the rent is increased a year after the date on which the rent decided by the committee was payable (but see Appendix E), unless you agree that he or she can put it up earlier. You must apply to a rent assessment committee to decide what the rent should be if you do not agree with the proposed increase.
                So firstly how has he requested the rent increase, he has to use the special form, not just send a letter or tell you. He must give you a months notice and then you can object to the rent assessment panel. The n they will set the rent not him, probably from what you say a lot lower than what he is asking, and will take into cobsideration the state of the property, location and other factors etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks Lucid.

                  I won't sign any thing, but will try and reason with the LL.

                  I tried to attach a scaned copy of my contract to the message, but it is 1Mb, and the site only accepts 40k max.

                  I am not surprised lawyers and soliciters make so much money. It is not easy to understand all the legal language involved.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    See edited post above at end. The increase he has proposed has to be on the special form, i would refer the matter to the rent panel. its sounds as though in my opinion he is increasing by so much so as to make the tenancy untenable so you will move out. let the rent panel decide, they will give you a fair decision.

                    EDIT: N.B.

                    If when you have scanned the document to either word or pdf file sometimes your scanning software can use the text feature to copy the text which you could paste as a post...Just a thought. maybe scan at a lower resolution and/or use winzip with highest compression.
                    Last edited by lucid; 24-11-2005, 09:23 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Lucid,

                      It took time, but I have manged to scan the document and edit/convert to text, and tidy it as best I could to reduce the size (sorry about the format as but I could only save in taxt to reduce the size below 36k allowed)

                      Hope there are are no hidden small prints.

                      Really apprecite your help to date.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry not had time to look at this yet but reformatted it for you and saved as a pdf. It is a lot easier to look at this way if anyone wants to read and comment.

                        See attached file contract.pdf for acrobat reader

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have looked at the above agreement the rent reviews are a bit odd gives the choice to be reasonable ie increase yearly by a multiple of change in the RPI no6, which is very fair or some arbitary huge figure no7.


                          Irrelevant now this was in the 10 year fixed period, now what matters is has the increase you've been informed of been done correctly on the right form? and if so how you go about applying to the rent assessment panel if you think the increase extortionate. See my above post and the link.

                          http://www.odpm.gov.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=1151919

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Use your HAC via the Local Authority

                            HI,
                            I would suggest you go along to your Local Authority Housing Advice Centre, they all have these and they are normally in the same place at the Homeless persons Unit. They normally have at least one person who is legally qualified, and to be honest the ones I know just live for these situations, and will give you all the help and accurate advice you need. They may also 'take' your case on. I.E Writing letters on your behalf, completing referal forms.


                            Regards
                            Dave

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unfair Contract Terms

                              Hi,
                              Having read your contract i believe that clause 7 would fall foul of Unfair Contract Term legislation.

                              Working out your rent based on clause 6

                              192.6 / 149.8 x £606 = £780
                              rpi 10/05 / rpi 6/95 x original rent = new rent.

                              Hope this helps
                              Dave

                              Comment

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