Help with understanding a contract clause re: notice

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  • Help with understanding a contract clause re: notice

    Hi, can someone help me understand a clause in a rental agreement?
    To explain, I'm renting right now and in the process of buying a flat, my solicitors have kept telling me I shouldnt hand my notice in on my flat as they didn't know how long the process would take - today they mail me and say the housign assoc I'm buying from wants to complete by the end of the month - which is little unreasonable considering the date.

    So I call my letting agent explain the situation, my tenancy agreement is up on the 10th April - he's rather rude and makes a comment about me having to pay a mortgage and rent - I've just checked my rental agreement and am now extremely worried by a clause in there:

    the tenant shall: "give written notice to the landlord of his intention to determine or renew the tenancy not later than six weeks before the end of the tenancy. If such notice to dertmine the agreement is recieved afetr six weeks before the end of the tenancy, the agreement shall renew for a further term of one year less one day"

    now am i reading this incorrectly - if i don't give 6 weeks noice I'll be bound by the agreement for another year ie pay rent on a property I won't be living in for an additional year?

    can someone advise me here please?
    thanks
    Sarah

  • #2
    If your AST expires 10th April so long as you leave by this day you are not bound for a further term.

    You do not have to give notice at the end of the fixed term, its just polite to do so.
    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!

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi, thanks for that, I was getting extremly worried.
      I'm going to talk to my solictor in the morning and see what they say as well as I wonder how this type of clause can be in a contract if it's not enforceable. I probably should have questioned it at the time, but circumstances change and sometimes quicker than you expect

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by sarah1971 View Post
        Hi, thanks for that, I was getting extremly worried.
        I'm going to talk to my solictor in the morning and see what they say as well as I wonder how this type of clause can be in a contract if it's not enforceable. I probably should have questioned it at the time, but circumstances change and sometimes quicker than you expect
        Well, it's obviously in the LL's interest, which is why they tend to write things like this into an AST, but I think justaboutsane is correct - it's unenforceable. You can walk away without giving notice on the last day of the fixed term.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks!

          As this seems to be the case, what is the likelihood of my letting agent/landlord trying to keep the deposit. I moved into the property in April 2007 so my deposit should be protected, and its such a large sum of money I can't really afford to lose it. I'm just concerned they'll try and find a away to keep it or a portion of it to make up for rent they may claim they due.

          this is all new to me so I'm really unsure of what to do
          thanks again

          Comment


          • #6
            The problem here is that some landlords and agents, far too clever for their own good, simply refuse to accept that a fixed term ends when it ends and that you cannot impose a condition on a tenant to give notice ending it and try and to get round it.

            The first half of the clause says:

            give written notice to the landlord of his intention to determine or renew the tenancy not later than six weeks before the end of the tenancy.

            Just taking that on its own it is unenforceable. But it goes on:

            If such notice to determine the agreement is received after six weeks before the end of the tenancy, the agreement shall renew for a further term of one year less one day"

            Strictly, the new tenancy only kicks in if the notice (being a notice to determine) is received late i.e. if no notice is served then nothing happens and the tenancy ends - presumably not what was intended.

            This leaves us with the odd position that if you serve a notice to determine late the tenancy continues. So if you want the tenancy to renew you serve a notice to determine late. In the absence of further wording, the renewal will presumably be on the same terms as the tenancy and will be at the same rent and contain the same provision. That you means that you can give a late notice again and so on for ever. The provision appears to create a perpetually renewable lease. Please note I say "appears" - the point needs to be considered properly. Now a perpetually renewable lease takes effect as a lease for 2000 years! Since the lease is a long lease it has to be at a low rent (? not more than two thirds of the rateable value). So I should pop along to the agent and thank him for granting you such a lease, demand a refund of the rent you have paid that exceeds the maximum allowable, point out that the grant of a long lease not at a low rent is a criminal offence and see what he says.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sarah1971 View Post
              Thanks!

              As this seems to be the case, what is the likelihood of my letting agent/landlord trying to keep the deposit. I moved into the property in April 2007 so my deposit should be protected, and its such a large sum of money I can't really afford to lose it. I'm just concerned they'll try and find a away to keep it or a portion of it to make up for rent they may claim they due.

              this is all new to me so I'm really unsure of what to do
              thanks again

              The date your tenancy started is crucial here. Deposits need to be protected for any AST (assuming rent less than £25k p.a.) which began on or after 6th April 2007 - what about yours?
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

              Comment


              • #8
                LAWCRUNCHER - thanks that's brilliant!
                the whole thing seems to be biased towards them. My lease started on 11th April 2007 so on 11th April 2008 I received a letter from the agent telling me my lease was up for renewal and could I send them £30 for the renewal agreement + the additional rent increase - no warning or notice given there.


                MINDTHEGAP - luckily the agreement began on 11th April 2007 so it was 5 days after the protection came into effect


                sorry I'm new to all this forum stuff so not sure if it's okay to repsond to 2 people in one post ..sorry!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sarah1971 View Post


                  MINDTHEGAP - luckily the agreement began on 11th April 2007 so it was 5 days after the protection came into effect


                  sorry I'm new to all this forum stuff so not sure if it's okay to repsond to 2 people in one post ..sorry!
                  That's OK.

                  Your deposit should have been protected within 14 days of receipt and the prescribed info supplied to you within 14 days of your money being put in scheme.

                  If this info has not been supplied to you, LL/agent are breaking the law. Write to them and ask for it. If they try to fob you off, it means they have probably not complied, in which case you have a cast-iron case for insisting they return your deposit in full immediately, or you can sue them for 3x the deposit (plus return of original) as this is the penalty for non-compliance.
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sarah1971 View Post
                    LAWCRUNCHER - thanks that's brilliant!
                    Hi

                    The wording of the agreement is so bizarre, I think it might be worth double checking that you have transcribed it entirely accurately and perhaps post the full wording of the clause or clauses you have quoted from, so that you can be sure the advice you have received is based on fully accurate information.

                    Just a thought.

                    Preston

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks that's really interesting.

                      I'm looking through all my initial paperwork at the moment and my tenancy agreement started on the 11th April 2007 and I have a deal sheet / invoice from them saying the rental agreement is for 11/04/2007 - 10/04/2008 and there was bank transfer made to them for the deposit amount + admin fee dated 10/04/07 - so I have proof of payment, but I don't seem to have any paper work relating to them scheme, I'll have to go through my files again.

                      Thanks again for your help here, this will be useful

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sarah1971 View Post
                        Thanks that's really interesting.

                        I'm looking through all my initial paperwork at the moment and my tenancy agreement started on the 11th April 2007 and I have a deal sheet / invoice from them saying the rental agreement is for 11/04/2007 - 10/04/2008 and there was bank transfer made to them for the deposit amount + admin fee dated 10/04/07 - so I have proof of payment, but I don't seem to have any paper work relating to them scheme, I'll have to go through my files again.

                        Thanks again for your help here, this will be useful
                        If the wording of their tenancy agreement is anything to go by, I think you can assume they are either inexperienced or incompetent or both...it is worth kicking up a big fuss about your deposit, as judges are beginning to whack non-compliant LLs with the 3x penalty and the threat of this usually sends them (the LLs, not the judges!) running for their cheque books to repay in full.

                        Good luck -let us know how you get on.
                        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          it is indeed very strangely worded - I keep reading it again and again to make sure I had it right, but it hasn't changed!

                          I've found a 'confirmation of tenancy deposit protection' letter from Tenancy Deposit Solutions - so that's a good start.
                          Your help's been really appreciated - thanks for taking the time out

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Preston View Post
                            The wording of the agreement is so bizarre
                            But par for the course for agent's drafting. They really ought not do it. Apart from anything else, they leave themselves wide open to negligence claims.

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