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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I am elderly and rent out my former home, a nice, high value

Customer Question

I am elderly and rent out my former home, a nice, high value property, to a professional woman who, unfortunately, is very litigious and very powerful and has free access to expert legal opinion. My former agent, with my permission, re-newed the one year lease but refused to give me a copy saying it was the same as the first year's. (He insisted on using his own lease rather than my solicitor's.) I am now informed by my new agent that the termination clause in that lease is ambiguous and, also, there is a risk of having her partner as a sitting tenant if they separate. The tenant makes me uneasy and I would like to her out of the property asap - but I'm told I cannot break the lease until August and then I fear she may try to sue me as she has done before. She has refused/avoided signing a new clearer lease and also refused to sign the necessary paperwork for the deposit to be transferred into my new agent's name. She already rents the property at 50% below the average price in the area and she has offered a low sum to buy the property; I do not wish to sell. Towards getting vacant possession without a problem, could you advise what to do? Could I change my landlord status from a private person to a limited company to protect my only real asset, my property - and - would that create the necessity for a new (and clearer) lease? I also feel that, if the former agent put me in a disadvantaged position that I may have a case against him - though obviously I don't want the hassle of litigation and he is an extremely unpleasant man. To make matter worse, I have repeatedly asked my new agent to press the tenant to co-operate by means of a written request by registered post and to cc me in, but have met with no response over the last 2 months.....I have read through the old Lease, the paragraph re: Ending the Tenancy :-


If the Tenant intends to vacate at the end of the fixed term, or at any later date, he agrees to give the Landlord at least two month's prior Notice in writing.


If the Landlord does not wish to renew the Tenancy at the end of the fixed term, or at any later date he agrees to give the Tenant at least Three month's prior notice in writing.


While the tenancy is periodic the one month's written Notice must expire the day before a Rent Due Date...


 


I'm don't know where the ambiguity lies and I don't fully understand the one month's written Notice clause...


 


Also on the same old Lease, the tenant's partner is listed as Permitted Occupier (under tenant's control etc) - which I would think means he can't be a sitting tenant...but the new agent seems to think he is named as a tenant on the re-newed lease...in which case the former agent has not been accurate in saying there was 'no change' and under the terms of his Agency agreement he didn't have to send me any 'paperwork or documentation'....  


 


Clearly, I need sight of the 'new' lease!


It might be helpful to add that I have attended to any requests/demands for repairs, promptly. Every month there's at least one request...including changing a light bulb!  I always try to be polite to tenant and agent - and encouraging and supportive to the agent.


I'd appreciate your advice on the best course of action.


 


Thank you for help.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : What type of agreement do they have please?
JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

They have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for one year which should end in August 2014.

Alex Watts :

Do you have a copy of the contract you can upload please?

Alex Watts :

What is it you want to do - get them out in August?

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

I have asked the new Agent for a copy and I will forward it to you asap.

Alex Watts :

Yes.

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Yes - I wish to get the Tenant out in August when the one year Assured Shorthold Lease will be due for re-newal. I am asking advice at this stage to ensure that I can get this Tenant out without difficulty. From my outline you can see that the Tenant is very confident in her knowledge of the law and is extremely litigious. My new agent fears (the Tenant!) that the Termination clauses which I provided, is ambiguous. Therefore I need to ensure that the Lease is in order and fully complied with. Also the Tenant will not sign the relevant documentation to permit the deposit to be transferred from the previous agent to the current one.

Alex Watts :

Ok - I can't say anything until I have seen it, so let me know when it is up

Alex Watts :

Or just the termination clause you can upload

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

This shows she is not co-operative. What I have tried is - I have requested my Agent to ask for an appointment to sign the deposit over in a registered letter and copy me in...so that I, as the Landlord know I have tried my best to comply with the law....but I can get no response from the Agent. I have just sent a firmish letter to the agent asking the relevant questions and asking for the lease.

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

I can see from your chat that you want to have the termination clauses - they are typed out in full in my original statement.

Alex Watts :

Yes but the format just shows everything as one block of text so not easy to read

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Sorry, Alex - I should make it clear that that termination clause is extracted from the 2012-2013 lease....I was told that the current lease has no changes and that my previous agent had 'no need to send me a copy' - I have printed off a copy of this email

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

send me a copy of the re-newed 2013-2014 lease

Alex Watts :

Ok - but if you can let me know exactly what the termination clause says that would help

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

I think that's it -

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Ending the Tenancy

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

and in a box

Alex Watts :

Yes just give me the text

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

5.4.1 If the Tenant intends to vacte at the end of the fixed ter, or at any later date, he agrees to give the Landlord at least two months' prior Notice in writing.

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

5/4/2 If the Landlord does not wish to renew the Tenancy at the end of the fixed ter, or at any later date he agrees to give the Tenant at least Three month's prior notice in writing.

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

5.4.3 While the tenancy is periodic the one month's written Notice must expire the day before a Rend Due Date (that I don't really understand)

Alex Watts :

Ok - this is all ok

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Underneath there is:-

Alex Watts :

ok

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Surrender of the tenancy by the tenant

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

5.5 Strictly with the landlord's or his agents prior written consent and subject to certain conditions that may include the landlord's reasonable costs associated with the re-letting of the premises, the tenant might be allowed to surrender or give up this tenancy before it could otherwise lawfully be ended.

Alex Watts :

Ok - I dont think I need any more

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

The next clause deals with Stamp Duty Land Tax....so I don't think you need that, do you?

Alex Watts :

But you really do not need to worry

Alex Watts :

Periodic tenancy - forget that as that would only apply after the minimum term ends in August

Alex Watts :

But the agreement is clear

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Good to hear - I've genuinely been losing sleep about this woman and can't get the worry out of my mind..

Alex Watts :

You can give notice now if you wish. The clause 5.4.2 states you need to give at least 3 months notice

Alex Watts :

You can now write and say that you wish to take back and terminate the tenancy in August 2014

Alex Watts :

You can do this now as it will take effect and give minimum 3 months

Alex Watts :

That is it - you really do not need to be concern - it is all in order

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Yes....I'm thinking..... firstly, can I come back to you if the current lease differs from the one we have been considering? I maybe turning stones but this lady has threatened me with legal action at every turn...the last time I gave her Notice she responded that I 'would never get her out of HER flat (sic)' and that she would sue me for trespass if I dared come around.....as I lived 4K miles away in the US..this wasn't high on the scale of likelihood! However, what is she playing at - refusing to sign the documentation for the deposit....does she want to sue me for4x the deposit or is she trying to avoid deductions from her deposit? Thanks for the advice - I will ask (not suggest) to my agent that she gives the Tenant notice.

Alex Watts :

Yes if it is the same as above, you have no issue

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Thank you for that ....err....how do I bookmark? Can I just ask - shall I tell the agent to serve notice and simultaneously request permission from the Tenant to come in and do an inventory....just in case the tenant decides to damage my property?

Alex Watts :

You can just come back to this question at any time. You can ask for an inventory yes, but your agents should be doing periodic inspections anyway.

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Thanks for the help - it sounds as if it should be straightforward but I still feel anxious as history is against it - but I do feel a bit more confident - so thanks.....Alex, do I do the rating now - or will I cut myself off from you forever?

Alex Watts :

No, if you rate now you can come back, although the site gives the impression you can't

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Ok - have a good remainder of the w/e and thank you sincerely for coming back with advice so quickly....as you can tell, I was very worried.

Alex Watts :

And you. Keep in touch

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

I'll talk to my agent....see what the current Lease is about...thanks

Alex Watts :

Ok. Please remember to leave feedback before you go today.

Alex Watts :

Please do remember to rate my answer when you get time.

JACUSTOMER-5udgk2yd- :

Hi Alex - apologies, it's taken me a while to get a response from my agent. The situation is - I still do not have a copy of the 2013-2014 lease. It is apparently the same as the 2012 from which I gave you the extracts. But I feel I need a copy of the 2013-14 anyway. Next problem. The agent has provided a new lease which the husband only has signed. As he is listed as an 'occupant', then has that lease validity to supersede the other lease? I am correct in insisting that it would be better if the husband's name did not appear on any of the agents invoices or legal documentation?

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