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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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SHORT VERSION Tenancy agreement counter offer has been accepted

Resolved Question:

SHORT VERSION
Tenancy agreement counter offer has been accepted by large landlord via email and then the offer was retracted in my opinion unlawfully and section 21 served.
I think that it was unlawful because "subject to contract" note at the end of email subject was after some time not noticeable and unintentional anymore and also it was my counter offer that was accepted and I did not mentioned "subject to contract"
Do I have a case? What should be next step?
My details:
Igor Kaminski ***@******.*** ***********
LONG VERSION
I was offered renewal of my tenancy agreement via email with subject:
"43 Woodleigh Gardens- December renewal due- SUBJECT TO CONTRACT"
In a long string of emails I've made counter proposal which was accepted in following words via email:
"We are pleased to accept your counter-offer of £1320 pcm,
I will get this paperwork sent over for you to sign.
Thanks,
Natasha Cooper
Renewals Coordinator
grainger plc"
then I got email:
"Dear Mr Igor Kaminski & Mrs Joanna Grubba
Whilst signing your tenancy agreement, please can you complete the attached and send it back to me?
Thanks,
Natasha Cooper
Renewals Coordinator
grainger plc"
there was no attachments though but later on i found that there was small print link to online contract which I did not notice.
Some time later I have received email:
"Dear Igor and Joanna,
I am emailing to advise you that the landlord has retracted their offer of renewal. ..."
My details:
Igor Kaminski ***@******.*** ***********
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
To be clear it says subject to contract and then it says your offer is accepted?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It says "subject to contract" in the subject of first email which is rhe same for all later email replies. In one of those replies insaid i cannot accepbtheir offer of 1500 but i can i can agree on £1320. Then in their reply the said that the accept MY counter offer of £1320. Txt " subject to contract" was put only in their initial email and then it was coppied as a subject automatically in all our replies.I cannot have phone conversation Today
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Are they saying that all emails and offers were subject to contract?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no, it is mentioned only once in subject "43 Woodleigh Gardens- December renewal due- SUBJECT TO CONTRACT" and then subsequently it becomes "Re: "43 Woodleigh Gardens- December renewal due- SUBJECT TO CONTRACT" as the emails are exchanged"
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
iit is not mentioned once in the body of email, and to be honest in the long subject like that it doesn't even show on my phone as it is end of subject
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Are they arguing it was always subject to contract?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, that was their reply:
"...The offer was accepted subject to contract. The documents were subsequently sent via Agreement Express for you both to sign, but these have not been viewed or signed.However, the Landlord has now reconsidered your counter-offer and would like to increase the rent on the flat so that it is reflective of the current market rent. If you are able to increase your offer to £1500 pcm then we can offer a further term. Failing this then the Landlord would like to gain possession of the property to re-market it. ..."
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
So you would have had to sign a new rental contract in any event?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would have to sign it but I would think it is not essential to form a contract and email acceptance is enough. As all the requirements for contract has been fulfilled, all terms clear, offer, and it's acceptance. Therefore I would think the contract is just a formality to have a red-tape satisfied.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am their tenant for over 6 years and there was time when it was not renewed and rolled into periodic tenancy agreement without signing, however this time it looked like they had strong intention to sign new contract.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
It does not matter whether it is a formality. If the increased offer is not valid until you have signed then it is not binding until signed by you and the Landlord.
It appears that the title subject to contract, on the face of it is correct - that is until you and the landlord have agreed the increase and signed the contract.
Therefore on the basis it says subject to contract in the subject, even if copied across and the fact you would need to sign a new document, even if it is red tape, then they can withdraw.
I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have found information that disclaimer "subject to contract" does not always work and thought it may be my case.I have found it on following website: http://www.andlaw.eu/downloads/subject_to_contract.pdfIt says: "Supreme Court considered whether using the phrase ‘subject to contract’ during contract negotiations prevented an enforceable contract from being formed. The Supreme Court emphasised that conduct is a significant and sometimes crucial factor in assessing whether or not a contract has been formed. This update looks at that decision and some other related decisions and considers the lessons that can be learned from them."Similar things is said on this website http://www.hji.co.uk/hair/email-contracts-can-be-binding/
It says :
"The inclusion of a ‘subject to contract’ statement creates a presumption that the emails are not intended to create a legally binding contract, but this presumption can be overturned by other statements or by the conduct of the parties. Including a disclaimer is unlikely to work as it is insufficiently specific, and not noticeable."Would that apply to my situation?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Indeed I am aware of those cases but they are not on all fours, ie not the same facts as yours, which is why you have to be wary.
You could try and take it to Court, but you would need an injunction to make him let you stay. The cost of that if contested would be about £15,000 and you wouldnt get legal aid.
I am sorry. Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you that is very useful information, certainly I do not want to risk £15.000 to fight for £2000.
I had a feeling from what I read that I have a bit of a case but it can be interpreted both ways and may depend on judge or on the way case is prepared.Does it matter that it was not their offer but my counter offer accepted as I did not meant it to be "subject to agreement"?Is it an option for me to sign a new contract with them on their higher offer and then take them to small claims court?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Indeed, litigation is never certain and cases can go either way. You could indeed sign and then sue, that may be the best and cheapest option for you.
Does that help?
Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes it does, thank you very much.One final question: "Does it matter that it was not their offer but my counter offer accepted as I did not meant it to be "subject to agreement"?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
No, thats just a minor point sadly.
Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks a lot.

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