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.