Length of a Rental Lease

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    Length of a Rental Lease

    I don't live in the UK but still rent out a flat there. I have someone (the current tenant who is leaving) looking to fill the flat for me. She has said she has found someone and they are wanting to sign a 4 year lease! My initial reaction is why would anyone do this?! Should I be worried about this, or should I not look a gift horse in the mouth.

    I worry about having the option of increasing the rent and also wanting to sell the property...

    You would be well advised to look this particular gift horse carefully in the mouth.

    There are perfectly valid reasons why someone may want a 4 year lease mostly to do with stability, kids schooling etc. etc. but there are also a number of reasons that could leave you seriously up the creek.

    1. If they turn out to be poor tenants, say noisy, not looking after property etc., as long as they pay the rent it is going to be very difficult to get them out.

    2. There have been cases where tenants turn the house into a cannabis farm, renting out overcrosded rooms etc., deny you entry and leave you with a wreck.

    3. Just be pain in rear tenants who make your life difficult who you can't get rid of for 4 years.

    As a minimum you should:

    1. Have a good think about whether you want to commit to 4 years in any circumstances - thats a long time to lock into, your plans and needs might change susstantially in that time. If you needed to sell it would be difficult/impossible with 4 year security of tenure.

    2. If you are inclined to take it at least say I will start with a 6 month letting with a non binding intention to allow a longer lease at the end of 6 months if everything has gone well.

    3. If you decide to do it anyway do as much in depth checking as you can, all the normal checks plus talk to previous landlords - make sure they are who they calim to be - might be a more expensive but money well spent and take a much larger deposit I would suggest 3 months.


      A four-year lease creates additional technical problems: a special format (as a Deed) is essential, for instance.
      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).


        Just offer them a 6 months contract and state that if they prove to be satisfactory you can renew with a 12 months contract. You could of course let it become periodic but a 4 year fixed term lease definitely puts T in control. As Jeffrey says there are good reasons not to.
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


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