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Do we need a new contract?

(31 Posts)
StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 13:23:05

Have been living in our current rental property for just over 18 months. We initially signed a 6 month contract and at the end if that the landlord asked us if we'd like to stay and so we went on a rolling contract from there on out. No new contracts were signed.

The landlord has recently contacted us to inform us she's increasing the rent and we will start a new 6 month fixed term contract. Obviously it's another bill hike we could do without but it's a reasonable(ish) increase so fair enough. We agreed and asked for a new contract, but she has said she thinks we should just do it by mutual agreement and no new contracts should be required.

I think if it's a change to the terms on the contract, and pretty important ones at that, that we need to sign a new contract. We've asked twice now and both times she's said she doesn't think we need it. She's been a bit off in the way she's approached it so far, we're not sure why, and while we don't want to cause an issue with her I'm not happy about paying extra and being tied in to a further 6 months without a contract.

AIBU?

Trills Tue 23-Oct-12 13:26:15

If you don't have a contract that says you should be paying a higher amount, then if you only pay a lower amount she won't have any proof that you agreed to the higher amount.

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 13:29:15

See that's what I said, although our conversation has happened over email so I suppose she has that as proof. But it seems madness to me that she seems so against a new contract and I can't work out why. I wonder if it will cost her to get a new one done or something?

YANBU, did she find you through an agency? If so she's trying to dodge paying for the new contracts.

Trills Tue 23-Oct-12 13:33:52

You can download a standard shorthold tenancy agreement for about £20 and fill it in yourselves, no need for an agency.

You can download done for free online too. I did it for my tenant a few years ago.

FredFredGeorge Tue 23-Oct-12 13:41:13

When you didn't sign a new contract, your contract would've rolled over to a Statutory Periodic tenancy, if the landlord wants to increase the rent then he needs to use a very specific method as defined in the Housing Act. It seems likely he's not doing that.

Call Shelter for advice, but don't sign a new agreement until you've done that.

Trills Tue 23-Oct-12 13:43:15

Have you got a link Stacey - I can only see ones that you have to pay for.

cumfy Tue 23-Oct-12 13:49:05

hmm
Rolling contracts are the least secure for tenants and most flexible for LL.
She can boot you out anytime.

Trills Tue 23-Oct-12 13:50:41

Not quite true - on a rolling contract at the end of the standard 6-month lease the landlord has to give 2 months notice to ask you to leave, and the tenant has to give 1 month's notice, and that notice must end on a rent day.

e.g. if your rent day is the 1st of the month, and it is currently 23rd October, the soonest they can ask you to leave by is 1st Jan: 2 months, ending at the end of the rental period.

FredFredGeorge Tue 23-Oct-12 13:55:29

Personally I much prefer rolling statutory contracts, makes everyone fully aware that it's just an ongoing never ending arrangement. Ensures there's a third party for rent increases. Keeps agents out of the way given they have a bias that is not in the interest of the landlord or tennants (agents make more money from new tennants etc.) so are prone to very bad advice. Generally has lower notice periods for the tennant and the same or longer for the landlord.

A longer fixed contract is only really in the interest of tennants who require absolute security for that time - and most landlords are reluctant to give those anyway without break clauses.

Trills I'll see if I can dig it out and find the web address, as I said it was a few years ago but I definately didn't pay for it. Be back soon.

Trills Tue 23-Oct-12 13:57:14

Thanks Stacey - StuntGirl maybe you could just fill in the new contract and present it to them saying "we've sorted this out to include all the details of the new rent etc for both of our peace of mind."

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 14:03:33

She's trying to get us to agree to another 6 months though cumfy. She just doesn't seem to want to sign a new contract for it, just a 'mutual agreement' between us.

We initally went through an agency but have had nothing to do with them since we moved in.

FredFredGeorge Tue 23-Oct-12 14:06:47

StuntGirl If there's not a new contract, a Section 13 notice, or a deed of variation, then the rent increase would be unenforceable, she obviously doesn't really have a clue what she's doing.

Check your deposit is protected.

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 14:12:59

Thanks guys.

The thing is she's put us off so much by the way she's handled this. The only reason we've decided to stay is because after looking into it found out it will cost us more to move (with fees and all) than it will to stay for the next 6 months. It just seems such an uneccessary way to go about things!

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 14:18:54

X-posted.

Argh. I am assuming we do not have those things because I've never heard of them. Thing is we're not really disputing the rent increase (although obviously we'd prefer it if it didn't go up!) but the fact she's been a bit funny about the whole thing and seems resistent to a contract. We've had an amicable relationship so far so not sure why it's changed.

Our initial rental agreement (which we got through the estate agents at the time) mentions our deposit is held in one a deposit protection scheme. The deposit was paid to the estate agent not the landlord.

trills here's one tenancy agreement it's not exactly the same as I used but similar, you can amend it to suit your needs before printing.

(I can't find my old tenancy agreement but as she moved out a couple of years ago I obviously filed it in the loft!)

FredFredGeorge Tue 23-Oct-12 14:58:50

StuntGirl You have a choice really, either accept things not being done properly and accept the verbal agreements, relying on the law being on your side - in which case you don't need a new contract signed. Or to have the contracts agreed and in place.

Check the deposit is still protected with the people listed in your original agreement.

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 15:17:17

I am insistent on a contract Fred. If she refuses I guess we'll have to go elsewhere, which would be a pain in the arse but I'm not willing to agree to these changes without a contract. I just didn't know if perhaps her way was the way things wre done and I was being needlessly difficult, hence asking here smile

Thank you so much for your help everyone, I willl check out the links and phone numbers you gave me.

Emsmaman Tue 23-Oct-12 15:25:46

It's possible that since you were initially through an agency, any further contracts/extensions are also meant to go through them and they take their fees. But if that's the case it's not really your problem and it sounds as though you would be willing to pay a nominal renewal fee anyway, would definitely be safer than proceeding without a contract. One landlord I rented from had to pay the agency 1 month's fee for every 12 month renewal, for 3 years after they found us for the landlord.

FredFredGeorge Tue 23-Oct-12 15:40:24

StuntGirl It seems a strange thing to be insistent on - happy with the change, but picking potentially the most expensive option for the landlord which will potentially do nothing but benefit an agent pocketing a load of cash they didn't earn.

Why would you force yourself to be there for another 6 months in return for paying the landlord more money? I would normally expect the landlord to pay me for the guarantee of another 6months of income. I don't get at all what you get out of it other than 4 extra months of guaranteed living there?

Emsmaman Tue 23-Oct-12 15:51:07

Fred ime moving is expensive! Just off the top of my head, our last move included £250 for a moving van to move our furniture, £50 for mail redirection, £150 inventory fee, £150 professional cleaning and carpet cleaning fees, £200 agency fees for the new place, the crossover of at least a few days where you are renting two places, the fact that you need a deposit for a new place before you receive your bond back on the first place...the list goes on. And yes where I live it is in the tenancy that you must do a professional clean and pay for the inventory fee. So when my LL proposes a rent increase, I do my best to negotiate it down, but when all is said and done it would be shooting myself in the foot to have a paddy and leave.

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 15:58:58

We're not happy happy with the change Fred, more accepting of it as the lesser of two evils. We're choosing to stay here because although we'll paying our landlord more money than we're currently paying, if we moved elsewhere we'd be paying a different landlord even more money.

We have looked at other properties in the area and ours is at the cheaper end so moving will almost certainly end up in an increase in rent anyway. There are also deposits (which are all higher than the initial deposit we paid here, so we would have to find the difference) and estate agents fees to take into account.

We worked it out and even the cheapest properties would work out roughly the same in the end once you take into account deposits and fees. So we've chosen to stay in our nice house in a nice location for now rather than pay the same to live in a less nice house in a less nice area.

So we're happy to agree to the change in the sense that at least we're only paying £30 a month extra and not £50-odd.

StuntGirl Tue 23-Oct-12 16:00:34

x-posted.

Yes ems it will cost us more in the short term to leave than it will to stay.

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