is contract binding if not signed

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  • is contract binding if not signed

    I rented a house to a couple in 2008 under a ast which only the husband signed. he left after a split up in 2009. the wife remains however she is not on any contract. I am wishing to sell my property and have served a section 21 notice to her giving her two months to find another property. she has found a property bu wishes to leave before my stated end date of the s21 notice. she has paid upto the next rental due date but a further one month would be owed before the notice runs out. the tenancy, which was not actually signed by her, was an ast and states it is not to be used for a remark period of over 3 years but she has been resident to 3 years 4 months. can she just leave without paying the final months notice? she is on housing benefit and can not rent two properties for one month, however I can't afford to not have that income. no new contract was ever made and unfortunately I have. not keep unto date with gas certificates, which I believe she will use against me. do I have rights or does she?

  • #2
    My opinion (and thats all it is so you would be better of trying to get some legal advice) is that she is not in any kind of contract with you as she has not signed anything.


    • #3
      If the ladys name is on the paperwork, then she has a tenancy. tenancies of under 3 years don't even need to be in writing, let alone signed. This one was presumably for 6 or 12 months, then section 5 of the 1988 Housing Act kicked in giving the tenants a statutory periodic tenancy.

      Was there a deposit, was it protected? Is the section 21 notice you have served in just her name or her and her partner? Do you have proof of the date of service?

      The s21 does NOT remove the tenants obligation to give due notice, but if you don't accept the notice she has given, you run the risk that she will stay beyond the end of the s21 (as is her right) and you will have to go through the court process - which could take months and possibly lose you your sale.

      Tenant CAN rent 2 properties simultaneously whilst on housing benefit - she just needs to explain the situation to the council and they will continue to pay housing benefit on your property until her earliest contractual departure date. (whilst paying for he new one too).

      The above all assumes the missing partner did not given you written notice to end the tenancy.


      • #4
        The husband is still the tenant today, the tenancy was never surrendered and you have continued to get your rent. That also means your S21 is probably invalid because it should have been served to the tenant. The AST has been a periodic tenancy since the agreement ran out and the notice periods for those are laid down by statute. Your tenant only needs to give you notice one complete periodic month.

        Your neglect of the GSC could cost you heavily, especially if there is a problem or even worse, a death.

        Hopefully the deposit was protected at the start of the tenancy and the prescribed information sent to the tenant or you have even more problems.

        Was it protected?

        Housing benefit can be paid for 2 properties at the same time in exceptional circumstances but only for the changeover month. Speak to them.

        In your shoes I would let her go and thank your lucky stars if there is no trouble because of your slack methods.
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg


        • #5
          thank you for your replies. yes I understand I have been slack, but at the same time thank fully there are no, nor have been any problems with the gas, only that there have been no safety checks. my main question is can she leave before my notice especially as she herself is nit in a contract? she has tried to counter notice me however I have nit accepted this as it, so far, was not in writing and was NOT from the date her rent was paid. I have been advised that no party in the contract can end it on any other date other than one month from the date the rent is paid. the house has been rented for over three years to her but her name is not on the contract nor had she signed it. however I understand that it is, in a way' a verbal contract as I have been receiving rent every month from her since her husband left. I want to stop her from leaving without paying the final rent... can I? it leaves me in a very uncomfortable financial situation. if she can get benefits for two properties then she can continue to pay until the section 21 notice is up...?


          • #6
            my apologies, I asked for no deposit when they move in.


            • #7
              Originally posted by house help View Post
              unfortunately I have. not keep unto date with gas certificates, which I believe she will use against me.
              And I certainly wouldn't blame her if she does. Get it sorted as a matter of urgency - your query about how to avoid possibly losing a month's rent income is trivial in comparison.


              • #8
                Again, your notice should have been served to the person that is named on the agreement, the husband. So your S21(4)(a) is invalid. But she has given you notice, again this should have come from the husband in order to end the tenancy.

                Accept the date she has given you, worrying about one month's rent is petty, your S21 does not mean she has to leave when you say so, she is at liberty to stay and make you take the matter through the courts to gain possession, that would cost you a few hundred pounds if she digs her heels in.
                I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg


                • #9
                  Me sounding unsympathetic, but that's me.

                  You asked someone to leave between now and stated end date of the
                  s21 notice. ( Original tenants name should be on S21,) as you have been
                  You want to sell your house, and you want her to leave HER home, and you
                  have probably given her 8 weeks to find somewhere, 8 weeks to wander round
                  flats during working hours, or only at weekends if she works and has no car.

                  You assume she will be number one on the list of 10 applicants to each house she
                  may be looking at, and she will be accepted over the other 9 applicants.
                  You want her to maybe spend hundreds to estate agents for credit checks, for
                  more than one flat.

                  You assume there is a house empty now, where she wants to live, and they
                  will save it for her because you want her to leave, but wont let her leave,
                  but those landlords will be the same as you - I want my rent now, I do not
                  want to loose a months rent, you will move in now or lose the place.

                  she has to move when a place is available, otherwise
                  one of the 9 other applicants get the house if she can't move in, because landords
                  are money grabbing, and can't do without 1 months rent, so she has to move
                  when she has to, and not when you want her to.

                  You are getting your house back, and want her to leave, so she can only leave
                  when conditions are right, but you dont want to help someone who has given you
                  3 years rent of approx £ 18000, and you can't let her leave early to secure another
                  home at dates that are acceptable to other landlords.

                  Shame on you.

                  Tell her she can leave when she wants, as you want her to be able to get the
                  house she wants because you know from your own methods, tha landlords are
                  unreasonable, and have no flexability.

                  If she reads all posts on here, she has no contract with you, and can leave
                  tomorrow if she wants.

                  I wish some one give me £ 18000 in the last 3 years to pay my mortgage, but I
                  have to work and pay it myself.
                  SHE has paid your mortgage for you for 3 years, ( or most of it ) - help her
                  secure alternative accommodation............. let her leave when she wants to.



                  • #10
                    In summary,
                    You want vacant property to sell
                    She wants to leave earlier than your s21 requests
                    You do not have valid current GSC
                    Have you talked to wife since hubby left in 2009?
                    Have you accepted rent in her name since hubby left? If yes, a T may exist in Law, giving wife T rights. If we assume SPT then T can leave at 1 month Notice if dates met.
                    My suggestions
                    Get the GSC sorted today, say £60, still useful as a selling point.
                    Let wife move at any time she wishes, if before your s21 expiry date.
                    Return full deposit to her, if you are selling I doubt any damage will reduce sale price sig.
                    So you can't afford to lose 1 month rent? Boo-hoo, you are in the wrong business.
                    Make her happy, assist her move all you can and hope she doesn't take legal advice.


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