Renewing General Tenancy Agreement

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    Renewing General Tenancy Agreement

    I am an inexperienced landlord and need some pretty basic advice.

    I have had tenants in our place in London since last November, and we want to renew the tenancy for another year. The tenants have asked for a break clause this year - and so we were planning to put one in on the new lease.

    But I wanted some advice on the procedure on the new lease.

    Do we just create a lease very similar to last year (it was a general tenancy agreement as the rent is above £25k annually), with the new dates, a break clause and the new rent and just sign it?

    Also, do we have to change the way that the deposit is referred to in the lease (it said "a deposit of xxxx is payable on signing the agreement") as we already have the deposit (we decided to put it into the TDS anyway)?

    Sorry to ask such simple questions. Hope someone can help.

    Thanks so much.

    #2
    You would be advised to take your current agreement to your solicitor or qualified legal drafter, explain the changes you wish to make and pay him or her to make them. You could hack the contract around yourself, but break clauses are notoriously tricky to make watertight and the cost of the professional revision will be lot less than the potential cost to you if the contact you come up with is full of holes (as DIY ones often are).
    '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

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      #3
      As of yesterday the 25k figure is now 100k.

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        #4
        Originally posted by Roy_Solomon View Post
        As of yesterday the 25k figure is now 100k.
        Good point! So now, OP, you are into AST territory and deposit protection...definitely get a professionally drafted agreement which covers the break clause and provision for deposit protection.
        '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

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          #5
          Originally posted by novicelondoner View Post
          Do we just create a lease very similar to last year (it was a general tenancy agreement as the rent is above £25k annually), with the new dates, a break clause and the new rent and just sign it?

          Also, do we have to change the way that the deposit is referred to in the lease (it said "a deposit of xxxx is payable on signing the agreement") as we already have the deposit (we decided to put it into the TDS anyway)?
          To elaborate on the above comments, as of 1st October 2010, the threshold for assured shorthold tenancies rose to £100,000 pa. So you can't just do something similar to last year. The new contract will be an AST, not a common law tenancy, and the Housing Act 1988 will apply.

          By TDS do you mean The Dispute Service, i.e. http://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/ ? I ask because this particular scheme requires certain clauses to be inserted into the tenancy agreement. (It also usually requires members to hold the deposit in a protected account).

          Whichever scheme is currently protecting the deposit, you will need to renew the protection when you create the new tenancy, and re-provide the prescribed information; i.e. treat the deposit as though you were physically receiving afresh.

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            #6
            Thank you so much for all our advice. Its incredibly helpful. I had not realised that the AST agreement limit had gone up.

            We have some more questions if you don't mind.

            Actually, our deposit is with the Deposit Protection Service. Do we need to take it out and put it back in, or can we just leave it where it is?

            Also, do we need to do a new inventory, or can we just use last year's with last year's date on it?

            Is there a particular legal drafting company that you would recommend? We are not in the country right now, so email is a better way of communicating.

            Or would you recommend using an off-the-shelf agreement?

            Thank you so much for your help.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by novicelondoner View Post
              Actually, our deposit is with the Deposit Protection Service. Do we need to take it out and put it back in, or can we just leave it where it is?
              I've never used the DPS, so I can only suggest you call them and ask what to do for a renewal. I very much doubt you'd have to physically take out and repay the money. As it was a common-law tenancy before, you may not have provided the prescribed information - so if you didn't, you'd need to do that for the new tenancy.

              Also, do we need to do a new inventory, or can we just use last year's with last year's date on it?
              Assuming it is just a renewal of the existing tenancy, with no change of tenant, then you don't need to redo the inventory. The current one proves the condition at the start of the tenancy, and that's all you need (apart from a check-out inventory, obviously).

              Is there a particular legal drafting company that you would recommend? We are not in the country right now, so email is a better way of communicating.

              Or would you recommend using an off-the-shelf agreement?
              Not sure that off-the-shelf ASTs such as Oyez or Lawpack ones would have a break clause in them.

              I read two landlord/tenant legal blogs written by specialist solicitors, and here are links to their service sites (no personal experience so cannot recommend them as such):
              http://www.landlordlaw.co.uk/index.ihtml
              http://www.painsmith.co.uk/

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                #8
                Originally posted by westminster View Post
                To elaborate on the above comments, as of 1st October 2010, the threshold for assured shorthold tenancies rose to £100,000 pa. So you can't just do something similar to last year. The new contract will be an AST, not a common law tenancy, and the Housing Act 1988 will apply.
                Elaborating a little more, the £100 000 trigger operates for all 1988 Act lettings (not only ASTs but also SATs), even if pre-existing.
                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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