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Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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Just under two years ago I signed an AST contract to rent a

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hi there,Just under two years ago I signed an AST contract to rent a flat. Schedule 5 stated that on or after 12 months I would have a 60 day break clause. I signed a renewal contract with just the rent increasing and now they are saying that I am still liable for the 12 month contract over a year and a half ago. Is this the case?

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

I am not quite with you - you are liable for 12 months just over 1.5 months ago?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
no 1.5 years ago
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
both contracts here
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If it helps, this was my initial email:Dear Sir/Madam,I am writing with regard to my tenancy agreement for 'An Assured Tenancy Agreement with HTC', from 7th Day of April 2016 to the date of this correspondence for the property of 'Flat 10 The Goldings 130-138 Plough, Road, London, SW11 2AA' or 'the/this/said property' from here on within this correspondence.
Having sought legal advice, my instruction is to present you with the facts I have in my possession before continuing with any legal proceedings as to the perception, state and understanding of said agreed contract/agreement.From 7th Day of April 2016, 'I', ('Robert Ian Oliver', 'I', or 'RIO' from here on within this correspondence), signed a contract (Attac. 'Please_DocuSign_this_document_AST_2016-_2017.pdf') for 12 months, with a break clause (Schedule 5, p.20) coming into effect on or after 12 months, of 60 days.On the 27 February 2017 I received an email, ('Attac. Renewal of your Tenancy.msg') clearly stating its purpose of renewing the contract ('attac. Please_DocuSign_AST_Renewal_2017-18_-_10_The.pdf'), a renewal agreement made on the 20 March 2017 for a contract to be renewed to "start on and include the 16th May 2017 and shall end on and include the 15th May 2018 but subject to clause (Schedule 3, clause 5, 5.1 & 5.2)"At this time I had a conversation with Eliza Banasiak ( 'EB' or 'Eliza' from here on within this correspondence), EB, Property Manager under employment of The Happy Tenant Company,(###) ###-####at Churchill House 120 Bunns Lane, London, NW7 2AS VAT No.###-##-#### after receiving stated email.Fully aware that there would be a rent increase as it was clearly stated within the contract and cover letter attached to the email, a phone conversation was required due to concerns over the rent increase I had received, an error in an email sent by EB, (see attac. Renewal of your Tenancy - 10 The Goldings.msg), stating that the rent is due to increase to £2500 per month. After verbally recognising and adjusting the error EB's end, the amount was changed to £2050, which I only agreed to after confirming the details within the contract. It was this phone call where EB confirmed that the break clause of 60 days would come into effect as I had been in the property for over 12 months. The only adjustment would be the rental amount of £2000 p/m to £2050.Completing the contract via Docusign, the on screen document also clearly stated 'Renewal'. (See attc. RENEWAL.jpg), top-left hand corner of every page, title of document and title, subject and body of all correspondence relating to this renewal.It was my understanding that from the '16th May 2017' to the '15th May 2018' my contract would be in effect 'but subject to clause (Schedule 3, clause 5, 5.1 & 5.2)'.I even said this to the landlord in person during his visit earlier this year. He didn't question it, just asked if I was thinking of moving out.On the 10/08/2017 I received an email from HTC, from Selda Mehmet, informing me that she would be my new point of contact.After this date, the boiler in the property ceased to function properly. sadly this dragged on for just over a month. So I was without hot water and heating for this period.
I kept my attitude pleasant and accommodating, however, after the first week of having to use cleaning facilitates both for myself and my clothing etc, I began to become rather annoyed. I had to make myself constantly available to let contractors into the premises,
interrupting my employment and weekends as people seemed to turn up and say it wasn't their 'kind of job'.And at no time during or after this huge inconvenience was I offered any remuneration or compensation (see section 11. (F7-(5)), Landlord and Tenant Act 1985CHAPTER 70After making Selda aware that I wished to give 60 days notice, she informed me that I was - from her understanding, suddenly without right to the break clause as I had "signed a new contract".I simply didn't agree with this, however, that was the only response I could receive.My personal and employment situation now means that I will be vacating this property for the 31st of January, 60 days after giving my notice. Said notice has been acknowledged by SM, with her comments stating that I will be liable for the rent until 15th May 2018.I strongly disagree with this conclusion for 2 main reasons:1. I signed a renewal contract legally providing me with break clause (Schedule 3, clause 5, 5.1 & 5.2,) verbally confirmed by an employee of HTC on the 1st March 2017
AT NO POINT BEFORE, DURING OR IMMEDIATELY AFTER WAS I INFORMED IT WAS A 'NEW CONTRACT'Quite simply, IF A CONTRACT HAS A CLAUSE THAT ONLY COMES INTO EFFECT AFTER 12 MONTHS, WHY IS IT RENEWED EVERY 12 MONTHS? This makes the break clause unattainable and therefore questionable against the Housing Act 1988, Schedule 2, and the Landlord and Tenant Act 19852. I was without hot water for just over a month breaking terms within the Landlord and Ten
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
2. I was without hot water for just over a month breaking terms within the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 {CHAPTER 70 sections 8, 10 and due to water being turned off at the mains to the kitchen with concern to waste drainage, 11.(1), 11. (F7-(5).}These two points combined with the incredibly difficult moving in process, and cost to myself (paying previous tenants council tax, gas, electric, water bills (see attac. img08032016_010_001.jpg, img08032016_011.jpg and img08032016_012.jpg) , having it cleaned myself as the place was filthy upon moving in a week and a half late) have created a very 'Un-happy Tenant'.

If you want me to read the entire 21 pages, I can, but it would be an additional fee.

It is very very long.

Jamie-Law and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
is that 59 plus the intial cost?

It would be, yes. It is an additional cost. Give me some time to read through, it will take a while.

Can I come back to you, is that ok?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
please. Another email with her telling me to get advice now! do you have an idea of time, would it be this evening?
many thanks

Within the next couple of hours - its quite long. Is that ok?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
that's great thank you.I cant really afford too much more though...

There will not be an additional cost now - it is a one off fee.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Fab, thanks for your help

No problem

Right, I have read this document. It has been signed for 12 months and ends on 12/5/17.

Do you have the new contract you signed?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I sent that earlier
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The me that reads ‘renewal 2017’

I can't see where it says that in this document. Can you upload that second document?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
it doesn't seem to be able to let me attach it again...if you scroll up it was sent at 15/01/2018 04:23

Yes I have the contract at 4:23, but WHERE in that does it say it is a renewal?

You have signed a contract which ends 2017

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the first one says 2016-2017 the second one says Please_DocuSign_AST_Renewal_2017-18_-_10_The.pdf
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
aggh. i cant attached any files now!? java script isnt working
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there a way I can email what I have?


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok thanks, ***** *****

Ok, I will look through that.

Ok, the message attachments I can't open. But I see the letter asking if you wanted to renew.

Did you sign anything beyond that?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No. That was it. Did you read the email I sent them posted above? Ha no hot water for a month as well. No compensation.

Yes I read that. How did yoh ageeemto Renew? Can you copy that email here?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There was no email. The initial rent increase sent across was 2000 to 2500 per month, so I called. It was their error, it was actually 2050 per month. At this time I asked about the 60 days clause and was told yes. I will have been their over a year. Then I went on line (DocuSign) checked the dates and amount and signed it on there
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi there. An email just in from them. They want to do the inventory on the 31st. I know for a fact that the landlord wants to sell, and wants to do repairs- which means I’ll be paying rent for an empty flat whilst this goes on. Not keen to relet perhaps? So I replied if I am paying for it I’ll be there still. This all seems so dodgy! Thank again.

Ok. Which is the renewal document you signed? Did you send that one to me?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
it was titled, 'Please_DocuSign_AST_Renewal_2017-18_-_10_The.pdf'

email me just that one document.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
done. cheers


Ok. So you signed this document which says 12 months but you can break 60 days before the end.

Is that right?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They are telling me its suddenly a brand new contract that i signed so the 60 days doesnt apply..?

Well it does, but 60 days before the end.

It is a brand new agreement. So you are bound for a year but you can give 60 days notice.

I am sorry, but it is New, so the time starts again.

Can I clairfy a thing for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But the contract does say on or after 12 months
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I was with the understanding that the first year i was here, had to be 12 months, but after 12 months, (signing the second contract) I would have the 60 days.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't understand how they can legally add a break clause that is unattainable. Should they not have made me aware it was a brand new contract? I was told verbally that I would have 60 days but now that person has left the company.

It does not say that, the contract clearly says it’s a New twelve month term with 60 day break at the end.

You needed to have made sure the verbal assurance was in writing, as the contract does not reflect it.

Although it says renewal, it is the same as a brand new contract.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ah... So I will have to pay until May!? What about having no heating for a month? Did they not break the contract it that way?

Yes until May. As for no heating you can sue for breach of contract but can’t break it. I am sorry.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i'm stuck! ahhh... oh well. I'll have to work twice as hard i suppose... Was I just stupid? Or was this slightly foggy in process? I had been told all along that I would have the break clause. How can they have that in the contract if it is never attainable?

Sorry it is not better news. I think the contract suggests If you don’t renew then you just carry on but must give two moths notice.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But the contract also states the rent increase, which would require a new contract. very devious!
Oh well. Lesson learned the hard way.Seriously though, many thanks for your help.Have a great weekRob
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is this the end of your help now? do i need to sign out etc?Thanks

Yes, I am sorry if it’s not better news.

If you do not need anything else, that is it,

No need to sign out.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok well thanks again.Rob

All the beat Rob. I am sorry.