Common Law Tenancy for 6 years

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    Common Law Tenancy for 6 years

    We, 4 x tenants and our LL have what I believe to be a Bare Contractual Tenancy Agreement, due to our annual rent being above £25K pa. The Common Law Tenancy Agreement is a 12 month fixed term contract (in joint names) which has been renewed every year and is now in its 6th year. During this time all of the original tenants have moved out and as each person moved on they found a replacement for themselves, meaning that there have obviously been a fair amount of tenants over the 6 years.

    Every time a tenant change was enacted, a new Agreement was drawn up with the name change taking place and the Letting Agency would sometimes (though not with every change) send through a separate declaration stating "I confirm that I have read and accept the inventory/check-in report dated 31.07.2004 and we will become jointly and severally liable for the inventory/check-in at the end of the tenancy." So some of the current tenants have signed this, some have not.

    The house is up for sale and the LL is preparing to give us notice to leave and is arranging the check-out inventory process. Despite the fact we have been through at least 6 contracts and the tenants in the house have completely turned (i.e. none of the original tenants are in the property) is it still fair to expect the final tenants in the house to be liable for all damages that are found in the check-out? There have been no interim inspections and I am worried that as only 2 of us have signed the above declaration we could be liable for any damages whereas the other 2 tenants will not be. Is the above declaration a legally enforceable document? (If it helps I have been in the house for 3 of the 6 years).

    I am fairly sure the check-out inventory will list a lot of changes from the 2004 inventory, the house is in a decent order considering there has been no redecoration in the 7 years but there is looks tired and needs some redecoration that cleaning simply won't cover. I have looked for definitions of Fair Wear and Tear for a 6 year tenancy but cannot find any - would a reasonable estimation be that generally carpets should be replaced after this time (there are no burns/rips but numerous marks and damage caused my moths)?

    Sorry for posting 3 questions at once, I have read through the forum but most questions appear to be about AST's. Thanks for your help!

    #2
    What you have here is not one six year tenancy, but a succession of tenancies. There was a new tenancy each time a new agreement was signed.

    There are separate issues: the items listed in the inventory and the condition of the property. They are however likely to be confused if the inventory also records or partly records the condition of the property.

    As to the items listed on the inventory, it is difficult to see how you can get out of having to replace any missing item if you signed to say that everything on the list was there.

    As to the condition recorded in the inventory, I suggest that it would be an unfair term to require a tenant to be bound by a record that did not substantially reflect the actual condition at the time he agreed it.

    As to the condition not recorded in the inventory you can only go back to the condition at the time the last agreement was signed and measure the fair wear and tear since then.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
      As to the condition recorded in the inventory, I suggest that it would be an unfair term to require a tenant to be bound by a record that did not substantially reflect the actual condition at the time he agreed it.
      I thought "unfair terms" did not apply to common law tenancies?
      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.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
        I thought "unfair terms" did not apply to common law tenancies?
        They are capable of applying. Nothing in the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 is specific to the Housing Act 1988.
        However, even supposedly 'unfair' terms are always enforceable unless and until a Court holds otherwise.
        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).

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