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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71057
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have a shorthold assured tenancy, which was and a half

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I have a shorthold assured tenancy, which was for 2 and a half years, due to end March 2017. The landlord added a clause that said either party could negate this term providing three months notice. I was told this was just incase anything happened to the owner, such as him dying (he is incapacitated and his daughters manage the property, we rent through a letting agent). This additional clause was presented to us to sign on the day we moved in! whilst all our belongings were in a van. So we felt we had little choice but to sign. The letting agent reassured us verbally that it was just incase anything happened to the father. They have today given us three months notice on the phone (which will be a section 21 - presumably in the post in due course dated from 5th June 15). Nothing has happened to the father. They just don't want to rent anymore, apparently the daughter is pregnant, due early September and wants to move in. I feel somewhat duped and misled, especially as we expressed very clearly to the letting agent and the landlord that we needed a long term let, as we are in the catchment area for my daughter to start school this september. I have a second daughter who is due to start school next year, so it is imperative we stay in catchment, hence we wanted a long term let. I also have two pets, which along with the small catchment area will make finding another property quite difficult. Furthermore, we have demonstrated our commitment to staying here longterm, by making improvements to the property at our own expense. We have also had numerous problems over the few months we have been here, particularly with the boiler and lack of heating / hot water. I did ask if the landlord would consider waiting until mid / late September, so that I could at least get my daughter settled at school, but they won't budge.
I just want to check that having signed the agreement with the additional clause (although this was under duress and not presented to us and till move in date), whether there is anything we can do? do we have any entitlement to stay until March 2017? or is the fact we signed enough for them to proceed with the notice period / end our tenancy early.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
did you sign a document containing this additional clause?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes we did, the first we were told about it, was on the day we moved in, when we felt we had no other choice but to sign it.

I am sorry but that is a problem.
If you have signed a contract containing that term then you are bound by it. The fact that you might have been put under pressure and now regret it is no defence.
With long ASTs these escape routes are fairly common as both sides need a way out if necessary.
I'm afraid if the notice was given to you in accordance with the contract then they can rely on it I'm afraid.
I'm very sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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