Tenant question about extending a lease

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    Tenant question about extending a lease

    Hi, I do hope this is the right place to post this, and if not I apologise. I just was wondering if someone could give me some advice.

    I live in a rented flat with one other flatmate. We have rented since 25th August last year, for one year, therefore our lease runs out on 25th August this year. I have two questions relating to this. I plan to email my landlady this week, but I was hoping for some insight before I do this so I know what my realistic options are.

    1. Both my flatmate and I would like to stay in the flat until the end of August, so until the 31st rather than the 25th. We are both postgrad students and it would make life a lot easier to move out after the full month. I will also be working all of August and writing my dissertation so I would like to avoid having to move in the middle of that. Is this an option, or is that just too short a time to extend anything? We'd obviously pay whatever extra rent-wise.

    2. I am additionally considering staying in the flat for September. I'm going to need extra time in the city I live in, and I would rather stay where I am than have to move when I have a lot going on. My flatmate, however, wants to move out at the end of August as I said above. What would be the position if I wanted to stay on my own and paid the full rent myself? I would imagine it would be difficult to find a flatmate for one month (although if this is easier than I think, please let me know!). My friend pointed out maybe there would have to be a new contract so my flatmate is not liable for anything that might happen once she's gone. It also occurred to me I don't know what would happen regarding our deposits, and that might be too tricky. I have no idea what the chances are of this being possible, so I hope someone can shed some light for me.

    The landlady we rent from is private, very laid-back and approachable.

    Thanks very much for any help!

    You can not usually leave mid-month - it has to be on the last day of a tenancy period. In your case the tenancy periods will run from 25th to the 24th of the following month, so your last day would be the 24th August. Having said that, if your landlady is so laid-back, she may be willing to oblige You have an automatic right to stay beyond this - a 'statutory periodic tenancy' will be formed by virtue of secton 5 of the 1988 Housing Act. If you stay, and your flatmate leaves, then the existing tenancy (with joint liability) continues until either you leave or your flatmate gives notice to terminate the SPT - which she can't do until it has begun. The notice for you (or your flatmate) to end an SPT is a minimum of 1 month, to end on the last day of a tenancy period - technically that would tie you in for an extra 2 months (because 25th August does not give 1 months notice to leave on 24th Sept) but the landlord may be willing to accept the notice on 24th Aug or earlier. That would be the landlords choice because legally you can not give notice on a contract that has not yet begun.

    Deposit would be refunded once the tenancy ends.


      Thanks for that, I think it makes sense to me. So I have a right to stay even beyond the end of the tenancy? How long does that entitle me to? Does that mean I could just stay and keep paying rent until we discuss otherwise? Sorry, I hadn't heard of this before hence all the questions! It's my first rental where I've wanted to do that, so I'm trying to work it all out.

      If I stay and my flatmate doesn't, and the deposit is kept until I then leave, that means my flatmate can't have her share back, right? That might be a problem, I guess... Hmm, I just don't know what to do.


        You have a right to stay until you ae legally evicted. Your landlord would need to give you a section 21 notice, giving you 2 months notice, before she could even start court proceedings - but you don't have to go until a bailiff turns up with a court order.

        If you stay, your flatmate remains liable until 'she' gives notice. As I said before, technically she has to give a months notice which can not even be given until the first day of the statutory periodic tenancy. However, it is possible that the LL will accept her notice before that and release her at the end of the fixed term. Whenever your flatmates notice expires, you will by default have a brand new oral tenancy unless your landlady thinks to put it in writing. What should happn is that at the end of the joint tenancy a new inventory should be taken and the original deposit returned to whoevers name is on the deposit. Then you will have to provide a new deposit. What is more likely to happen is that the landlady won't refund it until both of you have gone, so you will have to do your own informal inventory between the 2 tenants, and if everything is hunky-dory you would give your flatmate her half of the deposit.


          If both curr Ts are 'joint & severally liable' then both can vacate on last da of fixed term (24 Aug) without notice. If either stays beyond this date a SPT ensues and both Ts are bound by its Notice provisions. No deposit can be repaid until end of T. If the OP is willing to pay full rent, repay deposit attributable to departing T and abide by SPT notice pe#rovisions then an amenable LL may be willing to allow continued occ by remaining T. If his is a desirable student let in a Uni town the LL may not be willing to accept such soln. It may depend on terms of letting contract ie whether an AST exists.


            Originally posted by chickadee View Post
            So I have a right to stay even beyond the end of the tenancy? How long does that entitle me to? Does that mean I could just stay and keep paying rent until we discuss otherwise?
            Yes, the point is that currently your tenancy doesn't "end" on 25th August; that's when the fixed period of your tenancy ends. After that, in the absence if any other paperwork the tenancy continues as before as a 'periodic tenancy', as Snorkerz says. That's all perfectly normal and above board, and can continue indefinitely - I have several long-term tenants on this arrangement. Note - your LL may not even be aware of this; a lot aren't!

            If I were the LL, and you approached well in advance asking for a few extra days for convenience, I'd have no problem with that and would just charge you pro rata for the extra days. For me the important thing is to know when you'll be leaving so I can advertise the property accordingly. (Although if I wanted to be hard-nosed, I could demand a full extra months' rent).

            I think the issue with you staying alone for September (with you paying) is between you and your flatmate to resolve. Again if I was the LL, I'd be fine with what you propose, but would still consider the now-flatmate as a joint tenant until you leave and return the keys (at which point only then would I return the deposit to you both). So the ex-tenant would remain jointly liable for the rent and any damage to the property until you leave. I suspect if I was her, I wouldn't be happy with that - would you? Depends how close you are and how much she trusts you I suppose...?


              Thanks for the advice. Agreed that I'm not sure how my flatmate will feel about it, and I intend to talk to her about it this week when I get back to the flat. We get on fine living together, but that is a big thing to ask of her. I was hoping there was a way around it, but I don't suppose so. I'm also not sure I could afford to pay a new deposit myself.

              I wonder what would happen if I could find someone else to share with me for September (and October perhaps seeing as I could stay till then)? Could she just move in and take over the rent and stuff? I really need to talk to the landlady this week and find out what we're going to do. It feels pretty stressful!


                Landlady is probably not going to want to deal with the hassle and expense of getting a 'deed of assignment' organised - which would legally take current flatmate off the tenancy and replace her with A N Other. If she expected you to pay for the costs, expect iro £75 solicitors fees. If you could find one, you could have your new sharer as a lodger - but although that would help you cover the cost of the rent for the extra month, it is unlikely you would find such a short term lodger, and doesn't solve the problem of your flatmates liability.

                Ideally, you would both negotiate an extension to the end of the month, and then you would rely on friends sofas for a few weeks!


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