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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69360
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have a property that I asked my letting agency to specifically

Customer Question

I have a property that I asked my letting agency to specifically let on a short term basis as the property was also up for sale at the same time. The agreement the agency created and signed on my behalf was an 'assured short term let' agreement signed by them on my behalf (their decision)for 6 months. 5 months into the agreement I had a buyer who wanted to move into the property 2-3 weeks after the end of the 6 month letting period. I was subsequently told that I had to serve/provide 2 full months notice on the tenants under the housing act.

I had clearly stipulated to the agency that the let was for 6 months and infact the agency put in the agreement the fact that the tenants agreed to viewings whilst in the property.

I had to serve notice and lost the sale as the buyer was not able to wait. Had I had the agreement I requested I would not have lost the sale.

Is it correct I have to give 2 months notice on this sort of contract ? Also is it correct that the tentents can infact return the keys at the end of the 6 month agreement without notice ? I look forward to your feedback...
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
HI.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

What are the start and end date on the contract?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

FOR JOMO1972


 


 


Hi do I get a reply to my note ? I responded with the dates running from 11th Jan 2013 to 10th July 2013. It was under an assured short term let.best Simon


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks

Is there any reason a s21 notice wasn't served much earlier by the agents?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For JOMO1972


 


Hi I thought I had answered that but that must have gotten lost.


 


I was not informed by the letting agency of any idea that this was required, it is not in the contract, but on questioning them they say as it is drawn up under the housing act I have to give 2 months. Neither did they suggest giving notice at the beginning of the contract, or inform me I needed to give notice before the 10th May 2013. (i.e. 2 months before the contract ended). Best


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No I understand that but have you asked them why they didn't do it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

JOMO1972


 


yes and I got no clear reply.Should I ask them again ? They state in emails that they did contact me, but infact I initiated the contact regarding the contract on the 24th May 2013.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks

You do have to give 2 months notice on an AST I'm afraid. There's really no way around that. One possible option for you is to argue that the agents were negligent because they did not serve notice at the outset which would have avoided any delay beyond 6 months.

The tenant cannot just leave without giving you notice either though. They do not have to give you 2 months notice but they should give you one month.

Can I help further?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

JOMO1972


 


Yes, Are they also negligent if :-


 


a/. They didn't notify of the need at all of the 2 months notice as it was not in the contract ?


 


b/. If they did not notify me specifically by the 10th May 2013 of the need to offer 2 months notice.


 


c/Put the contract under an AST given the fact I had provided guidance that it was a fixed 6 month let ? i.e. they could have used another contract. Then chose the contract AND signed it on my behalf without visibility to me.


 


Can you answer a,b and c ?


 


Finally they instructed me to serve notice on a date other than the anniversary of the monthly payments, therefore deeming the 'notice' ineffective - is that also negligent ?


 


Thank you.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
A). No, I am sorry but thats a standard AST. It was for you to read it

B). No, its for you to read it. It would have been good service of them to do so but its not negligence

C). No, an AST is a 6 month let
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But I was not given the opportunity to read it before they signed it on my behalf.


 


also the agreement did not explicitly refer to a 2 month notice period. It was implied by the fact it was under the housing act. I am a landlord but clearly employ the agency for their knowledge, therefore it seems to me it is not at all reasonable for them to expect me to know that there is a 2 month notice implied. (just as in the same way I would not have known that about serving notice at the same time as the agreement started.) Can you confirm ?


 


Also as stated, they decided to do this let through an AST , my point is that they did not use a contract appropriate to my requests and therefore are negligent in not pointing out where the AST differs from my initial directives for a fixed term let - clearly a 6 month AST cannot be seen as a 6 month fixed term let correct ? Please confirm.


 


Thank you,


 


Simon

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I am really sorry but I cannot confirm that.

You asked for a 6 month let. An AST is a 6 month let.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

FOR JOMO1972


 


CAn you confirm the position on the 2 month notice on an AST ? As the contract does not specify 2 months notice, are the letting agents who signed the agreement on my behalf negligent for not explicitly informing me there is a 2 month notice period with such an agreement ? If its not in black and white, how can I know that ? Appreciate your feedback. Best Simon

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No thats not a contractual term. The housing act 1988 demands that period of notices in ASTs. Its not the contract or the agents.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For JOMO1972


 


But the fact that it was not in the contract and that it was not explicitly told to me seems negligent considering the fact I asked for a fixed 6 month contract. Could they have used an alternative contract for a fixed term that is not an AST ?


 


Best


 


Simon

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I suppose you could argue they should have used a periodic but I'm afraid it would be irresponsible of me to suggest it is likely to amount to negligence
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Regarding the 6 month let, I had requested a fixed term let , this is a different let to usual , therefore they should have accomodated that - the fact that they didn't and did not consult me on the contract they used before signing on my behalf ( without my written approval) seems to suggest that have not acted in my best interests as my agent and not complied to my instructions, to me that sounds negligent.


 


You only commented on a 6 month let, not the point it was to be a 6month fixed term let...


 


Can you comment on these points please ?


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
As I have said really, that does not amount to negligence for the reasons I've explained.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I really have to say your replies seem to be extremely limited and not using the context I have provided. From other professionals I have contacted (i.e. the conveyancing partner at the estate agent I am using for the sale , and the same at my brothers letting agent I had very different answers , which seemed to provide more feedback based on the context of the situation. It feel like the responses I have here are very 'baseline' I would ask you to read through my notes one more time to look to provide more ' contextual feedback'.


 


Thank you,


 


Simon

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok.

Good luck then

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