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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71030
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, In June this year I was informed by my Rental Agency that

Customer Question

In June this year I was informed by my Rental Agency that there would be a £250 increase in my monthly rental from £1050 to £1300. They sent through the lease renewal which I signed and returned, they then said they'd get the landlord to sign it too and will send me a copy when he does. June came and went and I never received anything back. At the beginning of July I received an email from the agent requesting that I pay the normal rent amount of £1050 which I did. Throughout July I did not receive any correspondence from anyone and at the beginning of August I received another email requesting that the rent of £1050 be paid, which I did. At the beginning of September, the same thing happened. I was under the impression that the landlord had possibly changed his mind on the signing the new lease due to the fact that I had not received a counter signed agreement and due to the fact that the agent continued to request the original rental amount. Late in September I suddenly received the countersigned lease renewal followed swiftly by a request for £750 in outstanding rent. When I questioned the Agent as to why they only requested the lower £1050 amount they said that legally they could only request the lower amount for that period of 3 months as the landlord had not signed the agreement because he had been away, however, now that he had signed it they could backdate and request the difference. Is this the case? I don't understand how an agreement can supposedly be in place when only signed by one party. I am disputing this amount with them now as I believe that the new rental amount should only be payable on signature of the renewal. They have since threatened me with legal action, dispossession and additional costs if I do not pay up. I don't understand how I can be held to ransom because the Landlord couldn't be bothered to get the agreement signed and returned to me timeously.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

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

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I just need to know where I stand legally, Do I have to pay the backdated £750? It does not make sense to me that I should have to pay when I essentially lived in limbo not knowing whether I had an agreement in place or not, surely a contract is only legally binding once signed by both parties?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
What type of contract is this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It is a lease renewal / rent increase contract

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Is it entitled assured shorthold tenancy agreement?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes it is.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you.

Does the AST refer to £1300?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The original lease was £1050, the Memorandum of Renewal shows £1300

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you.

If you did sign that then thats a problem I'm afraid. I have to say that I don't know why landlords use renewal documents when fresh ASTs are just as easy. Either way though, if you signed a renewal with a price increase then you are bound by it. There's no way around it really.

The fact that the landlord didn't enforce it doesn't mean you are not liable to pay. Obviously its inefficient of him but that doesn't do anything about his contractual entitlement.

That said though, this is a large price increase. You could complain to the rent assessment committee about the increase. They would consider whether or not its a proper price for the area. If they conclude in your favour then the rent would be reduced.

I'm very sorry if this is bad news.

can I clarify anything for you?