Rent: notice to quit?

(37 Posts)
HappyHippie Mon 19-Nov-12 00:49:53

Our tenancy is due at the end of January, however we've just received a letter from our landlord's agents, asking us if we want to renew the contract. We are not sure... would like to have a look around, but in our contract doesn't say what the minimum notice is. Does anyone know how the law goes?

Also, last year they increased the rent, is it normal to do it every year? Any tips on negotiating this?

SkipTheLightFanjango Mon 19-Nov-12 00:51:15

I thought the norm was 1 month for the tenant..2 monthd for the landlord.

SkipTheLightFanjango Mon 19-Nov-12 00:53:14

As for rent increase, that's up to the landlord. We lived in a house for 3 years with no rent increase..than they wanted a £100pm increase in one go!!

HappyHippie Mon 19-Nov-12 00:57:35

Thanks SkipTheLight, that was fast! smile

I wish I could be sure about the months notice anyway... I know the agency will start calling us like crazy in a week time or so, like they did last year, until they hear a response.

narmada Mon 19-Nov-12 21:59:21

If your contract is up, expect to have to vacate when it's up!

It is a strange contract if it doesn't say what the notice period is. Next time make sure it does stipulate.

LL can do what they like with rent increases unfortunately. It is common to have RPI or CPI-linked rise in contract. Exception to this is if you are some sort of protected tenant but not man of those around now.

I would ask shelter for advice - they are brill.

nocake Mon 19-Nov-12 22:12:51

You don't have to renew the contract, or pay the fees you will inevitably be charged. If you don't sign you will automatically go onto a statutory periodic tenancy. The agents can't stop this happening, unless they serve notice and, if you're good tenants, they'd be mad to do that. Google it for more info.

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 01:25:43

nocake, that's great! Googling it now

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 01:28:28

And yes, I'd say we're brilliant tenants. Always pay rent on time and look after the property like it was our own

Nocake is correct.

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 09:07:15

Thanks! So what do you suggest, should I just stay mute and avoid their calls? Doesn't seem OK sad They will be calling and writing letters, wanting to hear from me before tenancy expires.

narmada Tue 20-Nov-12 09:18:33

There are downsides to a periodic tenancy, surely. You are going to have no fixed term and the landlord can have you out pretty sharpish.

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 09:54:18

What if I write them a letter saying I'd be happy to stay IF they don't put up the rent and if they carry on some maintenance like refreshing the walls?

MoreBeta Tue 20-Nov-12 10:00:59

HappyHippie - this annoys me intensely when agents try and con tenants into signing a new contract and paying a fee after 6 months.

Assuming you are on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England you are under no obligation to sign a new contract. Once the initial 6 months term expires you automatically go on to a Periodic Tenancy which is a rolling contract with the LL obliged to give you 2 months notice.

You do not need to sign a new contract or agree to raise the rent. If the LL does not like it they have to give you proper 2 months notice.

Look at the detailed rules on the Shelter website here.

specialsubject Tue 20-Nov-12 10:01:07

the agents are writing now because if you are planning to leave, the landlord will want to give YOU the notice to make as sure as he can that you are definitely going, as he will need to remarket the property. His notice is 2 months so he needs to know now. Yours is 1 month but it would be helpful to decide what you are going to do. If you want to stay, but change something, get in touch NOW.

if you do nothing you go on to a rolling month by month notice arrangement, although if the landlord/agent are any good you'll get a new tenancy to sign.

if the tenancy does not specify a rent increase he can do what he likes - if he charges too much you will leave which he may, or may not want.

the normal deal is that rent goes up in exchange for landlord doing something, or rent stays the same in exchange for tenant doing something. Rent staying the same and landlord doing something is unusual.

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 10:30:55

Thanks guys! There is however a clause in my contract that says that the LL is allowed to show the flat the 6 weeks before the rent expires (giving reasonable notice)

You don't have to accept a rent increase and the landlord can't increase it more than once a year. If you dispute it, the landlord has to issue you with a section 13 notice.

You can also refer it to a rent assessment committee who can decide if its fair or not.

It depends what is in your contract- if you have an automatic increase included then the above information is irrelevant .

The landlord wants to know whether you are leaving so that the last two months of your tenancy have you pay full rent and interrupted every other day by the letting agent showing new tenants round.

The letting agent will want a nice new set of 'renewal fees' for putting a piece of paper in the photocopier and changing the date on it.

I am a landlord ( I also rent) and have not put the rent up in the last six years. I am not inherently greedy, just want the interest part of the mortgage covered .

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 10:37:09

Toughasoldboot, did you mean you had put up the rent in the last six years to cover the interest of your mortgage?

No, I have never put the rent up since I have been renting the house out. I was trying to explain that the rent covers the interest on the mortgage, not the whole lot ( so not very much). That's probably why the tenants have stated, I would rather have good tenants than try and squeeze a bit more out of them every year.

*stayed.

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 10:48:48

Oh, but that's because you're a decent person. My LL is a profit-driven agency, and even though I really love the flat it's never fully felt like a home to us sad

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 10:50:00

Don't get me wrong, you would still be decent if you had put the price up to keep up with interests... but what I mean is that you value a good tenant and that there is a more humane relationship.

I think that being a tenant myself has made me a better landlord. I can't believe how some landlords behave, we have had four in the last four years and I hate it.

Get yourself clued up on tenancy law, it's easy from the internet and will help when the letting agents try and shaft you.
In fairness to some landlords, I think they are clueless as to the agents tricks and behaviour.

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 11:08:09

So I think at the moment the best thing for me to do would be to get in touch directly with the LL (skip the agent) and let them know we want to stay another year. Then wait for their response and if they want to put price up, ask for works in the flat.

or

I could not do anything, go into statutory tenancy (assuming the LL doesn't give me notice) which is bad because they could terminate it at any time (with 2 months notice) but also good because we could do the same if we find a place we like better in the future. However, I am concerned about the clause in our agreement that says they have the right to show the flat to potential tenants 6 weeks before it expires.

I'll copy it here:

"permit the LL his Agent with or those with written authority from the LL or the LL's Agent upon giving reasonable notice during the last six weeks of the tenancy in the event of the LL wishing to sell or otherwise deal with its reversion at reasonable times of the day to view the property by prior appointment and upon the signing of this agreement the tenant gives consent to their names and telephone details being made available to the LL's agents"

HappyHippie Tue 20-Nov-12 11:09:37

I wish these things were written in plain English sad

That's a whole different ball game , lots of threads on here and landlord forum
about it.
You would be in breach of contract if you refused, but they cannot enter your home without permission and have to get a court order to enter ( which they probably wouldn't do in six weeks).

So, it's up to you really. I take the view that you should be firm from the outset as I have never had an agent not take advantage with this clause.

Set a specific day or two and the hours and tell them that you can accept viewing then and not at any other time.

You are paying full rent for 'exclusive posession' and the viewings are of no benefit to you.

MoreBeta Tue 20-Nov-12 12:27:53

It is true many amateur LL who got into buy-to-let have no idea about the law and agents just take them and tenants for a ride demanding fees for lease renewals that are not necessary.

Your LL may be perfectly happy but has no idea that they dont need to pay for a renewal. I would contact the LL direct and just tell the LL to get the agent to back off. Copy the Shelter website I linked to your LL.

MoreBeta Tue 20-Nov-12 12:30:49

The clause which states you have to allow viewings in unenforcable in law but in reality I always agree to this in return for 24 hr notice. It means good relations and a good reference but agents often try and abuse it by ringing at short notice demanding to be let in. I stand very firm on this -a rented property is your home not a hotel room.

specialsubject Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:28

it's all about 'reasonable'. Umpteen viewings at 3am is not reasonable. Showing a few people round is. It does seem reasonable to say that viewings can be in a certain window once or twice a week.

HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 09:50:07

Oh well, I did them, wrote to the landlord an email saying that I would be willing to stay and renew another year IF all the conditions stayed the same (i.e. no rent increase). Got an autoreply message because the person in charge was on holiday (our landlord is an agency).

However, since then it's been terribly cold. This might seem very Dickensian, but we keep getting sick because the flat is very old and the windows are not well isolated (just a very glass so have to have the heating on ALL the time, otherwise it's chilly!).

I've then changed my mind and think we'd better try to find another flat... Do you think it would be a problem if I've already told them now that I don't want to renew? Our current tenancy expires in a bit less of 2 months, so plenty of time, but I'm afraid that because I sent them that email they might touch our deposit.

Thanks!

HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 09:51:20

Sorry, what I meant to say was:

Do you think it would be a problem (to change my mind) if I've already told that I want to renew?

lalalonglegs Tue 04-Dec-12 10:09:33

You only have to give a month's notice in law. Have you ever received a reply to your original email? I would send another saying that you will be moving out at the end of January, you don't have to give a reason and I think it is unlikely that they would have started advertising or showing the flat until after Christmas anywa. There is no reasonable reason that they can touch your deposit on the basis of that. If they do, take it up with the deposit company that it has been registered with.

HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:30:24

Thanks longlengs

specialsubject Tue 04-Dec-12 10:42:07

just let them know ASAP that you want to leave - a proper letter would be a better idea, sent by recorded delivery. Your deposit should be in a protected scheme and they can't touch it just because they feel like it. You should have the details of that protected scheme.

BTW cold temperatures do not cause illness, and the windows are presumably in the same state as when you moved in.

HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:50:30

specialsubject thanks for your comment. Yes the windows are in the same state, but it's too cold anyway. DD has been getting sick for two years too often and I believe this has a lot to do with it. And yes, cold temperatures do make you ill, otherwise what's the whole point of keeping ourselves warm!? http://www.uiltexas.org/health/info/cold-weather-illness

HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:51:09
HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:52:44
HappyHippie Tue 04-Dec-12 10:58:23

Maybe what you meant is that cold weather itself won't make you sick, but it will increase your chances of getting a virus?

www.care2.com/news/member/193692282/1308613

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