How does a landlord renew / resign / extend an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

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    How does a landlord renew / resign / extend an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?

    Hello,

    I'm hoping somebody can help me. I'm new to this Landlord business and have been trying to do everything without an agent by sourcing documents and advice online, however I'm a little stuck when it comes to renewing/resigning the AST.

    I have lovely tenants who have been no trouble at all. They first signed up to a 6 month AST on 01 Oct 2012 and so this comes to an end on 31 March 2013. I've been looking into how to renew this for another 6 months but I'm getting completely confused as to whether a 2 month s21 notice to leave or resign is required or not. I'm sure if I just turned up and asked them to resign they would, but I want to be confident that I'm doing everything by the book.

    I realise that in the absence of resigning it turns into a periodic tenancy meaning they could give 1 month's notice to leave (as rent is on a monthly basis), it would just help me out if I didn't have to think about this except for on a 6 monthly basis.

    So this is a call for help to any legal buffs out there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

    Alex

    #2
    Not sure if you want tenant to leave or not Alex. Did you mean re-sign meaning renew, or resign meaning end?
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi JK0,

      Thanks for taking the time to look at my query. I'm sorry I meant resigning as in renew. I want the tenants to stay, just to commit to 6 months rather than on a month by month basis.

      What do you think? I don't really want to scare them with a notice to leave or resign but if that's how it works I can just explain that.

      Comment


        #4
        The easiest way is to do another tenancy agreement afresh.
        Have you spoke to them to ask whether they are agreeable to do so?
        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AlexC View Post
          I'm new to this Landlord business and have been trying to do everything without an agent by sourcing documents and advice online
          I suggest you buy a book like this. It may not cover every problem and eventuality, but it will provide a reliable basic source of information. This forum is also a reliable source; ask here before relying on information on possibly unreliable webpages.

          They first signed up to a 6 month AST on 01 Oct 2012 and so this comes to an end on 31 March 2013. I've been looking into how to renew this for another 6 months ...
          'Resigning' is not the appropriate word to use; you mean 'renewing' the fixed term contract.

          As you seem to be aware, if the fixed term contract is not renewed, and the T is in occupation at fixed term expiry, a statutory periodic tenancy will automatically arise under s.5 Housing Act 1988, replacing the fixed term tenancy.

          After that, common law notice requirements would apply. In the T's case, he would have to give at least one month's notice, also expiring at the end of a tenancy period (in this case, that means on the last day of a month). So the T's length of notice wouldn't necessarily be the minimum one month, and could be nearly two months, depending on when the notice is given - e.g. notice given on 3rd April would have to expire 31st May at the earliest.

          ...but I'm getting completely confused as to whether a 2 month s21 notice to leave or resign is required or not.
          And why would you wish to serve a s.21 notice seeking possession, when the T is 'lovely' and you'd like them to stay on and, ideally, renew the fixed term tenancy?

          My best guess is that your confusion stems from not understanding that

          1) a s.21 notice does not end the tenancy, (it's just a preliminary notice which entitles you to apply for a possession order after the notice expires, that's all), and
          2) if you do renew the fixed term tenancy, the renewal immediately and automatically replaces the tenancy in place, whether that's a fixed term tenancy or a statutory periodic tenancy, and
          3) therefore, you don't have to serve a s.21 notice before you can grant a renewal.

          Lastly, you may be sure that the T will agree to sign a renewal contract, but he is not in any way obliged to do so, and agreeing a renewal doesn't automatically mean 'no problems'.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by AlexC View Post
            What do you think? I don't really want to scare them with a notice to leave...
            A s.21 notice is not a 'notice to leave'. It does not end the tenancy. It does not oblige the tenant to vacate. The only result of serving such a notice is that it entitles you to apply for a possession order after the notice expires. Apart from that, it has no effect whatsoever.

            As I asked in my previous comment, why would you want to serve a s.21 notice on a 'lovely' T? In doing so, you may well encourage the T to serve notice to quit to end the tenancy, because your notice will give the firm impression that you want to regain possession of the property.

            It is very poor tactics to try to 'scare' the T into agreeing a renewal contract (or scare him into anything at all). If he wants to, great; if he doesn't, then also fine IMO. He might stay on for another five years on a periodic tenancy but simply want to retain the option of not being committed to a longer fixed term. People's circumstances aren't always predictable many months in advance.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by thesaint View Post
              The easiest way is to do another tenancy agreement afresh.
              Have you spoke to them to ask whether they are agreeable to do so?
              Wow thanks for all the info guys. I'll start at the top with this comment.

              Thanks for our help. I haven't yet spoken to them about it and assume they are happy enough as they have not mentioned leaving. I will be entirely open with them, I just wanted to do my homework first to see if I have to comply with any notice periods etc.

              Once I know what needs to be done at my end, I'll go and have a chat with them.

              Thanks again

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for the book recommendation- that's really helpful and just the sort of thing I'm looking for.

                Thanks as well for the further periodic tenancy info regarding notice periods.

                I don't want to serve any sort of notice if I don't have to. I'm just trying to understand what is required on my part when asking Ts to renew the AST. As I said I'm a little confused, hence the call for help. From what you've said it sounds like a s21 is completely inappropriate so I'm glad I asked.

                I completely understand that Ts are not obliged to renew the AST and if they do it doesn't necessarily mean 'no problems'. I think I've been really lucky so far (touch wood) and just thought by signing up t another 6 months I wouldn't have to think about doing any marketing, inventory checks etc etc any time soon.

                But to be honest it sounds as though it may be a lot easier just to let it roll onto a periodic tenancy.

                Thanks v much your help, I really appreciate it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  They are good tenants and you will threaten them with eviction to get them to renew? If i had a landlord who proposed that, I'd leave straight away. How do you know the same won't happen with the next ones? Until you get the ones who trash the place and not pay rent for 6 months, who won't care anyway.

                  As said above, having to leave only at 2 specific months of the year is very restricting for careers, buying your own property, etc. It will limit the kind of tenants you can attract.
                  All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    A s.21 notice is not a 'notice to leave'. It does not end the tenancy. It does not oblige the tenant to vacate. The only result of serving such a notice is that it entitles you to apply for a possession order after the notice expires. Apart from that, it has no effect whatsoever.

                    As I asked in my previous comment, why would you want to serve a s.21 notice on a 'lovely' T? In doing so, you may well encourage the T to serve notice to quit to end the tenancy, because your notice will give the firm impression that you want to regain possession of the property.

                    It is very poor tactics to try to 'scare' the T into agreeing a renewal contract (or scare him into anything at all). If he wants to, great; if he doesn't, then also fine IMO. He might stay on for another five years on a periodic tenancy but simply want to retain the option of not being committed to a longer fixed term. People's circumstances aren't always predictable many months in advance.
                    Thanks for the further clarification of s21 notices. It sounds completely inappropriate for my situation.

                    I understand that Ts can stay for years on a periodic tenancy, I was just asked by my co-landlords to check this out in an attempt to give us some breathing space before possible T turnaround, but as I mention above I think it may be easier to just let it run onto a periodic tenancy.

                    I have absolutely no intention of scaring anyone into anything (I'm a very non-scary person), I just want to be a good landlord and know my stuff before rushing into anything.

                    Thanks again for the advice

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Bear in mind that if you want to renew every 6 months, you have to do the paperwork every 6 months. A periodic tenancy can last for a lot longer without any paperwork. I have never stayed in a property for less than two years and never signed for longer than 6 months or any extensions
                      All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi again,

                        Thanks again to everyone for the advice and further info. It's been great to learn a bit more.

                        I must admit I'm still not 100% sure how you renew a AST. Providing both parties are happy to commit to another fixed term, do you just provide a new (in this case identical) document for signing or have to give any notice of this?

                        Either way, to be honest I think I will go for the periodic tenancy option. With 3 separate tenancies on the go, each with different commencement dates, and a full time job doing something else entirely, I don't think I can keep track of notice periods and the issuing of new documents twice a year.

                        Thanks again for all your help with this

                        Alex

                        Comment


                          #13
                          In this situation, I'd just suggest to the T that you're happy to agree a renewal fixed term, but equally happy to allow the tenancy to continue on a periodic basis. The decision is down to the T, in the end, so just accept it.

                          Remember that if you do renew the fixed term tenancy, and if a deposit was paid and is protected by either MyDeposits or TDS (The Dispute Service), then you will have to re-protect the deposit and re-give the prescribed information. Deposit protection renewal doesn't apply (AFAIK) with any scheme if the tenancy is replaced with a statutory periodic tenancy.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks Westminster.

                            That settles it then. A periodic tenancy sounds much less work for me and probably in the best interests of the tenant.

                            Cheers

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by AlexC View Post
                              I must admit I'm still not 100% sure how you renew a AST. Providing both parties are happy to commit to another fixed term, do you just provide a new (in this case identical) document for signing or have to give any notice of this?
                              No 'notice' required. It's exactly the same as granting a brand new tenancy with strangers. You negotiate terms (if necessary), and sign a contract with the T - that's it.

                              The text of the contract can be (if both parties agree) identical to the first contract, but obviously you'd have to amend the dates. By this I do not mean amending the actual first or previous contract, and crossing out dates on it; I mean amending the template, and printing out a brand new contract with new dates, and signing it.

                              Legal-speak for a renewal is 'surrender and re-grant'. In other words, the existing tenancy (whether fixed term or periodic) is automatically surrendered by the new tenancy, and the new tenancy is a re-grant of the tenancy.

                              Comment

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