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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Is my assured shorthold tenancy agreement still legally binding

Resolved Question:

Is my assured shorthold tenancy agreement still legally binding if it expired over a year ago?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

may I ask are you still living in the property and paying rent as you did prior to the original tenancy term expiring please?

Customer:

Yes I still live here and I am paying the same amount of rent

Joshua :

thank you.

Joshua :

The short answer is yes but with your permission, I would like to expand on that

Customer:

yes please

Joshua :

when you first granted the tenancy, the tenancy comes with a initial fixed term. The law states it must be at least six months in length but it can be much longer.

Joshua :

When the fixed period of tenancy comes to an end, whatever length was initially granted, if you return the keys and move out of the property before the end of the fixed term, the tenancy automatically comes to an end. However, where you continue to live in the property and continue to pay rent, a piece of legislation corporate Housing act comes into play

Joshua :

the Housing act states that where a tenant continues to live in a property and pay rent beyond the end of the fixed term in the tenancy, that tenancy will continue as something called a statutory periodic tenancy. Statutory periodic tenancy is simply a tenancy that runs month-to-month which will continue until such time as either the tenant or the landlord take steps to end the statutory periodic tenancy

Customer:

so if I want to leave before my 2 months notice can I do that?

Joshua :

the landlord can seek to end the statutory periodic tenancy by serving upon you to clear months notice which must be in a specific form there is a section 21(4)(a) notice. You as a tenant need only give the landlord one months notice. your notice does not have to be in any specific form providing that the notice can only end the day before rent is payable.

Joshua :

you do not have to give the landlord two months notice and if the landlord points you to determine your tenancy agreement that says you must, you can reply to him that the tenancy agreement term that states that you must give two months notice no longer applies as it is overwritten by the terms provided for by the Housing act once the initial term expires and the Housing act provides that you and you need to give one months notice

Joshua :

do you wish to leave the tenancy as soon as possible at this stage? If so, could you tell me on what date each month you pay rent under the tenancy agreement?

Customer:

well I pay the rent on the 31st of each month

Customer:

but the agency didn't treat me well so I didn't pay for this month

Customer:

i got a letter from their laywers that I have to pay by the end of next week

Joshua :

thank you. Currently, under the rules provided for by the Housing act, you must give one claimant's notice and that notice must only and the day before rent is payable. Accordingly, the earliest date you could give notice to leave for would now be 30th of April providing you give them written notice on or before ideally 29th of this month.

Customer:

which is fine but I want to leave by 30th of Marhc

Customer:

March

Customer:

in fact I am moving out this weekend

Customer:

Well they have given me the notice

Joshua :

may I ask for a very very brief summary of the issues you have experienced which is made you unhappy - please do not trouble yourself with details of the stage

Customer:

2 months notice

Customer:

they increased a rent but gave me only 2 days to get back to them

Customer:

and I wasnt around

Customer:

so when I got back I saw all letters

Customer:

plus my notice to leave

Joshua :

thanks. One point of clarity, you mentioned they have given you notice to leave by the end of this month - is that correct please?

Customer:

not by the end of April

Customer:

and i want to leave asap

Customer:

not yet

Joshua :

so they have given you notice to leave by the end of April?

Customer:

1st of May

Customer:

I am looking at the letter now

Customer:

but I want to leave asap

Joshua :

Thank you. May I ask if your deposit has been protected in a deposit protection scheme? You should have been given details of which protection scheme has been used

Customer:

yes

Joshua :

thank you. The first thing to say is the landlord cannot unilaterally increase the rent. In order to increase the rent they must either negotiate a new tenancy agreement with you which of course you are free to refuse all they must serve upon you section 13 notice which is a formal notice notifying you of a proposal to increase the rent which you can either accept or reject. If you reject it, the matter can be referred to a residential property Tribunal who has the power to set the rent. From what you say, none of this has been done and accordingly any proposed increase in rent does not bind you unless you accept it

Customer:

so what should I do

Customer:

should I get a laywer?

Joshua :

accordingly, unless you have accepted a rent increase, you can refuse to pay any increase in rents they have proposed however, rent at the previous rate would still be owed to the landlord until the tenancy ends lawfully in the manner I have described above. If you have not yet served a written notice to terminate the tenancy yourself, the earliest date unfortunately that can be provided for by you legally if you serve notice before or on the 29th of this month would be 30th of April. you could negotiate with the landlord to leave the property earlier of course and providing the landlord agrees, you would not owe further rent beyond the date that is agreed

Joshua :

it is possible for you to argue you should pay less rent if you can demonstrate that the landlord has failed in his repairing obligations towards the property in failing to maintain it. If this is the case, I can describe to you how you could pursue such an approach. If the landlord has maintained the property, then you may wish to consider making an offer to the landlord to leave early and settle your rent account up-to-date. If the landlord accepts the offer, you should obtain this in writing and you will not owe rent beyond the date the landlord agrees that you can leave

Customer:

well I have to respond to the solicitors now

Joshua :

do you have any complaints with regards XXXXX XXXXX landlord's maintenance of the property?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

they never called me if i needed anything

Customer:

if fact I had a big argument with the agency in Jan when my oven broke

Customer:

they fixed it but my neighbor had to help me to do that

Joshua :

thank you. a broken oven would give rise to a limited claim for a loss of amenity but it would not allow you to claim a substantial reduction in rent in and of itself. Based upon what you have said, unless there are more significant maintenance issues which you would wish to complain about against the landlord, my view would be that you give consideration to bringing your rent up to date because the landlord has a right to issue proceedings in the County court for recovery of unpaid rent which could add +/- £100 on top of the rent you owe by way of court costs as rent cannot be unilaterally withheld without a court order - that you can seek to reduce the amount of rent you pay if you have significant maintenance complaints against the landlord

Customer:

oh i see

Joshua :

at the same time, you may wish to negotiate with the landlord and offered to leave the property early as above. If he is prepared to accept your offer on the basis that you also immediately bring your rent up to date, you would not be liable for rent beyond that date you agree.

Customer:

can i negotiate with them?

Joshua :

If you cannot come to an agreement with regards XXXXX XXXXX earlier date than 30th of April, if you have not served a written notice of your intention to leave before today, the law provides that the earliest date you can legally stop paying rent to the landlord would now be 30th of April being one claimant's notice ending the day before you are next due to pay rent during April. however, the landlord may be happy to allow you to leave earlier particularly if he has a new tenant lined up. do remember, you do not have to pay rent at the increased figure they have proposed unless you have accepted the rent increase

Customer:

i haven't accepted it

Customer:

i will try to negotiate asp then

Joshua :

fine in that case as above, the rent will still be the original rent that was agreed under the tenancy agreement rather than the higher figure and if they are attempting to charge you the higher figure, you can reject this

Customer:

so my only option is to negotiate then

Joshua :

in terms of wishing to leave earlier than 30th of April which is your legal rights as we have discussed above, unfortunately the only way to leave earlier would be by reaching agreement with the landlord and if you are able to reach such agreement, do ensure you obtain this in writing as it is not at all uncommon for agents to backtrack on things they say verbally and claim later that they never said them

Joshua :

is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

that's all thank you for your help. I will make sure it's in wrting

Joshua :

if I can assist you any further as the situation develops, please do not hesitate to come back to me.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer:

sure will do

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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