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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Landlord offers tenancy extension and withdraws

Resolved Question:

Hello, I'm a tenant (with wife and 1 child) with the current tenancy expiring August 14th, 2015. 2 months ago the landlord unexpectedly offered an extension until 31.3.2016, which we accepted and signed the corresponding agreement provided by the letting agency (Finders & Keepers Abingdon). We at that point gave up a search for alternative accomodation, which we had ongoing. Last Saturday, I got an email from the agency telling me that the landlord changed his mind and is no longer offering the extension. He hadn't signed the contract. He is currently offering and extension by 1 month, maximum 2 months if we can't move by September 14th. Whilst we have immediately started looking for alternatives, bought or rented, we cannot guarantee we can meet those deadlines. What are the tenants rights in this unusual situation? The agent just told me that unless we sign an extension for that short deadline, we will have to move out on 14.8 and that's it.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Did you sign the new contract at that point?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I signed the new electronic contract around July 14th when I was on holiday with kids from my previous marriage. My wife was at home and didn't realise she should sign too, as she is not fluent in English and I was unaware that she had also gotten a request to sign. On Saturday 25.7, after I had protested by email of the change in conditions, the agency resend the contract with the original end date, 31.3.2016, which my wife hastend to sign. At that point we thought that the landlord had backed down. Not so, as I understand, as the landlord went to see the agency today. To summarise, we only signed a contract with the originally agreed end date, not with a shortened one.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Had the landlord signed as well?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

As stated in my first message he has not signed what he himself offered. If he had signed I would not need tour advice

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
When did he serve notice on you to move?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have so far no written notice. The landlord wants us to sign a one or two month contract extension. As we have indicated our unwillingness to accept such a short deadline and have not yet received a contract with the invitation to sign or go by 14.8,but those will bethe terms according to my correspondence with the agent.

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Indeed. If the landlord wants you out then he must give 2 notice which commence FROM the billing period. If he has not given notice then you are not required to move out. A Section 21 notice must be issued to get you to move, but then it only takes effect from the NEXT billing period.
Sadly he can't get you to leave until you have had a minimum of 2 months notice. Lets assume you pay the rent on 15th of the month. If he gives notice today then it takes effect from 15th August and you have to leave by 15th October.
Assuming the Landlord gave you notice on 10th July then it would take effect from 15th July and you would have to move by 15th September.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Are you not forgetting that our current contract expires on 14.8 and there is currently no other contract signed by the landlord in existence. But it looks that no matter what, we cannot expect more than 2 months notice and the offer of a limited extension to 14.10 is in fact better than that. Am I getting that right?

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
It makes no difference that the contract expires on 14th August. You would be on a periodic tenancy then. The Landlord MUST give you 2 months notice even if that takes you BEYOND 14th August.
If he has not given notice yet and does then it becomes active on 14th August and you have to move out by 14th October.
That is the law. Does that clarify?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK, I understand. It is the 14.10 whether he gives notice or whether I simply agree to a limited 2 months extension. His offer may be in line with the law, because the agency informed him so. At least now I have a legal argument not to accept his push for a one month extension to 14.9 only.Thank you for your help!

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Indeed. By law its 2 months, so even if he forgets to give notice and it clicks over to 14th August, that means it doesnt take effect until 14th September and its 2 months from there!
Does that help?
Alex
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I understand the principle. What is not clear is what the billing period is. We moved in mid August 4 years ago, but rent payment is taken by direct debit on the 1st. If the first marks the billing period, l better tread carefully,as he still has 2 days to issue notice for September 30, which is worse than Oct. 14th

Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hi
I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?
If you have not done so already might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Helo Alex,
thanks, ***** ***** eno more questions. I signed the proposed extension, as it
gives me the 2 months I'm entitled to by law.
Best regards,

Henri