is there a fixed contract in place?

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    is there a fixed contract in place?

    posting as a former tenant [we handed the keys back on 20th november]

    in a dispute with the agent over whether the 12 month fixed term tenancy was renewed or not.

    the agent uses an electronic system and sends contracts for review and signature by email. its a joint tenancy, so there are two emails going to two separate tenants.

    the renewal email came through in June asking for signatures and payment of renewal fee - this didn't happen, we didn't really want to renew.

    chaser email came through with a new e-contract in early July - as tenants we felt pressured to do something with it, however we only got part way through the online renewal process before we noticed that new terms had been added regarding fees (but not highlighted to us) and also lots of mistakes about responsibilities for grounds maintenance, incorrect utility info etc. We decided to leave it incomplete and not to renew - felt pretty uneasy about it!

    Another chaser email received from agent in late July saying they wanted e-signatures from both tenants and payment of the fee to renew. Again, online process only partially complete before we noticed exactly the same mistakes were there - so we left it again and didn't complete. Wrote to the agent in August with a list of queries about our deposit, responsibilities, added fee clauses that we didn't agree with etc, never got a response.

    Continued in the tenancy, we thought on a periodic basis. Served notice in October and the agent finally got in touch to say we couldnt serve notice as we were in a fixed contract. We have requested copies of the signed tenancy agreement - all we've been sent is a blank copy. The agent say they've got a couple of auto-generated emails from their system showing partial completions, but these were from two separate contracts and were never completed in any case... so it appears nothing has been signed electronically or otherwise.

    Should we be allowed to vacate on a statutory basis? may be worth noting that the position with our deposit (a hefty £1,600) was never re-confirmed to us either.

    #2
    Is the Agent actually asserting that the blank Tenancy Agreement they've sent you is proof that you're in a new fixed term? I mean, have you actually simply pointed out to them the fact that it was never signed, therefore - by simple deduction - you are in a SPT? If you have done that, what was their actual response to that? Is it that because you didn't sign it, you signed it or something equally as ludicrous?

    Comment


      #3
      Please answer the questions in the link below, with exact dates, for the last tenancy agreement that you agree that you signed.

      http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ll-new-posters

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Hippo
        What they're saying is that they've got two automatically generated emails from their electronic system, showing a partial completion of the online process, and that this is legally binding on its own.

        The emails themselves don't have any terms in them, there's no actual "e signature" on there anywhere... We asked for a copy of the agreement showing the electronic signatures, and the copy agreement they've sent us is blank. We have asked the landlord directly as well just in case he's got anything else, but he hasn't.

        The way we understood the system worked was that once all named parties had signed and agreed it generates a formal PDF contract with e-signatures on it. We've got one of these contracts from when we moved in in 2014 - but nothing of this nature exists for the apparent renewal. Only a blank contract and these two status emails.

        The two emails they've got aren't even in relation to the same contract. One was from when we partially reviewed it at the beginning of July, and the other was a new contract they issued at the end of July.

        it has all become quite complicated but the point is really that there's no signed contract anywhere, and we did put in writing in August the reasons we hadn't renewed...

        Comment


          #5
          I'd say there is no new fixed term:

          But a tenancy in England or Wales of less than 3 years does not need to be in writing: And if you had somehow otherwise agreed the new terms (eg different rent amount, etc etc..) then it could be argued you'd agreed the new term.

          The process is as follows: You stick to "nah, no new fixed term". Landlord sues you for unpaid rent to end of the purported new fixed term: Judge decides.

          Now the deposit -- was it protected & PI served within 30 days of you paying it??
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by sarahmichelle View Post
            What they're saying is that they've got two automatically generated emails from their electronic system, showing a partial completion of the online process, and that this is legally binding on its own.
            While it would be nice to obtain consensus from all parties, I doubt that will happen if they're claiming that an unsigned agreement is legally binding. So, in that case, I would probably start to act assumptively and serve your notice as if you were in a SPT and leave as if you were in a SPT and get the deposit back on that basis (just don't expect them to meekly agree, they'll kick-and-shout and stamp, but whether they'll take it any further is another question entirely). I wonder if the Agent told the Landlord you'd signed up for another fixed term and is now trying to cover themselves (it's not clear what the position of the Landlord really is from your text)?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
              But a tenancy in England or Wales of less than 3 years does not need to be in writing: And if you had somehow otherwise agreed the new terms (eg different rent amount, etc etc..) then it could be argued you'd agreed the new term.
              For the agent to argue there was a verbal agreement, they would have to a) explain what the purpose of the written agreement was and b) undermine their previous assertions that the unsigned incomplete written agreement constituted a contract.

              If the OP has handed the keys back, the main question is whether the original tenancy has ended or is just periodic.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                Agree with all the responses. I would do nothing about it. You have the best of both worlds. Leave when you like after giving notice as if you were on a periodic tenancy - and if they take you to court for unpaid rent they will lose. Contracts are not signed by accident by virtue of some assertion that you logged into their system.

                On the other hand if they try to terminate the tenancy early, then they say you have a contract.

                Comment


                  #9
                  theartfullodger,

                  Thanks. To complicate matters, yes we had been paying an increased rent since the Summer. We have spent quite a bit of time on the phone to Shelter, who are adamant that an agreement to pay an increased [or decreased] rent can be made at any point between a tenant and landlord, and in itself isn't enough for the agent to say we've inadvertently accepted the full terms of a new contract. We did write to the agent to say we weren't happy with the agreement and that it was full of mistakes - so It would be difficult for them to say our intention was to proceed?

                  In terms of the agreement itself, the agent vehemently maintain it has been signed; their words are "XXXXX and yourself have signed the document". We've asked for the signed copy, but what they've given us is blank. Surely even an electronic contract document gets updated with a tick in a box (or something, if there isn't a physical 'squiggle' signature on it?) but the copy contract they've given us really hasn't been signed or ticked anywhere.

                  The fact that they issued 3 contracts over the Summer makes things even more complicated - it seems like they are trying to say one of us partially completed the process on one contract, and the other tenant partially completed a separate contract. Regardless of the fact that there aren't any signatures, electronic or otherwise, could there really be two separately dated tenancy agreements with only partial acceptance, for one property?

                  The deposit was protected with TDS and PI served when we first took out the tenancy in June 2014. From June 2015 onwards there hasn't been any communication regarding the deposit situation. We have written to the agent asking them to complete the checkout process and to return our deposit to us, they've written back saying they won't instigate the checkout process until another tenant is found.

                  I think we are going to open a dispute with the TDS this afternoon.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Please answer the questions asked in Post 3 so that we can check that you gave valid notice.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yeah: I bow to Shelter's superior knowledge on such matters..

                      Start dispute with TDS. My betting is agent/landlord will back down but no way of knowing until you try...
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hippogriff,

                        I think you may have hit the nail... the agent have told the landlord we've left in the middle of a tenancy and that we've renewed. All the agent has given the landlord is the copy automated emails (but oddly not the blank contract!) and they've told him what they've told us, that it's legally binding. When we completed the online process in 2014 we got the full system-generated PDF with the actual signatures on it. This time around we didn't complete the process on any of the 3 occasions and so we don't think the system has actully generated anything.

                        We've asked for the signed copy they keep referring to at least 3 times now, so unless they're hiding one somewhere, the system didn't generate one and all they've got is a blank copy.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Q1 – Where is the rented property located ? england

                          Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this ? multiple tenant, joint tenancy

                          Q3 – What date did current TA start ? original agreement - 21/06/2014. We don't believe a new agreement has been signed since.

                          Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)? 12 months.

                          Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)? per calendar month, 21st

                          Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)? yes, paid on 16/06/2014.

                          Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy). Notice sent 19/10/2015.

                          Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant? No

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by sarahmichelle View Post
                            Notice sent 19/10/2015.
                            Did the agent say when they received your notice?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              What did the notice actually say?
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                              Comment

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