Late signing/return of renewed tenancy agreement - implications?

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    Late signing/return of renewed tenancy agreement - implications?

    This is a hypothetical really, just interested to know...

    I send my existing tenants two unsigned copies of a 6-month AST renewal agreement at their request, plenty of time before the end of the original fixed term (deposit is properly protected in the DPS custodial scheme). Intent was that they should return them to me and I would then sign and return the top copy to them before the end of the original fixed term; however they do not send it back (in fact the 'hypothetical' part starts here!). What are the implications...

    (a) if they do eventually get organised and return it, and I sign too; so that the agreement ends up with signatures dated several weeks after the start of the new fixed period (which is probably what's going to happen). Are there any issues which could potentially bite me on the backside as a result of this?

    (b) they never actually bother to sign, and 3 months later for some reason I serve an S21 notice and then start repossession proceedings. Would tenants still be able to rebuff this by claiming a valid new fixed term was in existence by my intent, having sent them the agreement? (I suppose they'd produce a copy of the agreement with their own, back-dated signature).

    I never sign tenancy agreements until the tenants have done so and returned them to me, in the hope that it's more likely that they will actually get round to returning them if i haven't signed them! (hence my procedure above); but other than that theory, is there actually any point at all in me not signing the agreement first, thereby avoiding a round of correspondence?

    IMO Whilst a new, replacement AST can be signed before AST start date, it cannot be signed retrospectively. If orig AST start date has passed, the actual AST start date can be no sooner than the date it is signed.

    As for the other part of your hypothetical ,if the Ts don't sign by end of current fixed, a SPT is created, until the date they do sign.
    We oft advise Ts not to sign new AST to prevent LA/LL costs for new AST and advise LLs not to agree to new AST if current one started before 1 Oct 16.

    Personally I prefer to have both copies signed in presence of LA/self, once cleared funds have been received and before keys are handed over.


      There isn't really much difference between a contract that you send someone that you sign or don't.
      The essential elements of a contract in UK law are offer, acceptance, consideration and intent to enter a contract.
      They're, essentially, satisfied by your sending the contract to the tenant and them paying the next month's rent.

      If the contract is the same as before, you could argue that the paying of rent isn't consideration (because the tenant would have done it anyway under the previous contract), but the tenant could simply sign the new contract.
      The date of signature and the contract date don't have to be the same, lots of agreements are back dated or signed undated.

      In b, they wouldn't be arguing anything about intent, they'd argue there was an actual contract.
      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).


        If the agreement is that the new tenancy starts on the date written in the new tenancy document then IMHO it is OK if they sign and return late. The document only indeed documents the agreement, it does not create it.

        In any case it depends on what evidence you have of whatever was agreed and whether that agreement relied on the tenancy document being signed.


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