Tenancy Agreement changes
14/07/2011 7:34 pm
We are relocating back to UK and intend to privately rent we have been doing everything from overseas with frequent trips to UK to view and discuss properties. At the end of June we found a suitable property which was very overpriced, with some negotiation we managed to get the rent reduced by £200 pcm based on us intending to be long term tenants and the change in local market.
We are working via an agent and before agreeing on the property the landlord came back with certain stipulations in the agreement to include a guaranteed 2 year tenancy with an annual increase of RPI plus 1%. At first I was reluctant as I felt they cannot have it both ways 2yrs or annual rent increase but as the property was in the best location and best for us we hesitantly agreed. cont...
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14/07/2011 7:37 pm
We then proceeded to secure the property paying a holding deposit of £500 plus £350 in admin fees on the 1st July. We have now completed all referencing which has come back positive and have put wheels into motion for the move like shipping of furniture, school application in local area etc with view to move in beginning of August.
Today I get contacted by agent who was drawing up the tenancy agreement and emailed this to the Landlord for approval they have now requested a change to the clause to now say "a rent increase of RPI + 1% or increased to £1,400 pm which ever is greater" I am not happy with this and feel it is unfair as our decision to go ahead was based on the original agreement and it would be very difficult and costly for us to now find an alternative property.
I do not wish to agree to this clause and as mentioned was still hesitant on the original agreement of RPI plus 1% increase.
Where do I stand on this and what are my rights?
I appreciate any advise you can offer and suggestions on how to approach this situation, also is this common place to tie someone in for 2 yrs?
Lastly is there a private tenant association you could recommend that monitors and represents private tenants in England?
Thank you Damlar
15/07/2011 12:04 pm
Thank you for your reply but I wish it was that simple, we have already put alot into motion based on moving into this house like school places, removal company and dates paid for which would all result in a large cost to us if we dont go ahead.
I like the house, the location and everything else ticks all our requirements but I feel this was a underhanded move on the landlords part after we had agreed on the contract to make a last minute change, it leaves me with a bad taste and an indication of the type of landlord we may have for the next two years.
Can you understand and appreciate my position.
15/07/2011 12:24 pm
As you had not entered into any legally binding agreement the landlord is well within their rights to change things until you sign, as were you. ethical? no, legal, sadly yes.
some points to consider. 1) the deposit you have paid - did you receive a receipt for this money? if so did it stipulate any terms you were engaging the deposit against? for example, based on an address only, or did it also reference the rent, annual increase, term (length) etc? - you may have a case to argue that you had paid the deposit in faith under those original terms, which are now being changed.
sadly as i have already said. you do not have a signed agreement yet so anything agreed is only in "principal" anyway. the landlord can change whatever terms they like before you sign, as Anon puts it, if you dont like it dont sign.
i appreciate what you are saying about the costs involved of pulling out of the deal, weigh this up against the potential future costs of the rent - which is higher?
for the future, and hindsight is a lovely thing!, never commit yourself to anything else prior to actually signing your tenancy agreement first - especially if these other things hinge on that tenancy.
my best advice. speak quite frankly with the agent / and or landlord and explain the difficult position this has put you in. you may need to be brave and suggest that at the new terms you cannot continue - they will not want to lose a tenant as much as you dont want to lose the flat.
15/07/2011 12:35 pm
Thank you Bill ;) you have just really confirmed what I thought but just needed an expert reply.
Also are you aware of any tenant association we can become members of.
15/07/2011 12:58 pm
I'm sorry that I can be of little help -- I agree with Bill.
I venture to suggest that you 'google' COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES (or get someone to do it for you) as they MAY have the expert/legal knowledge that you require OR may know of a private tenants organisation who may be able to assist.
15/07/2011 1:04 pm
Thank you Rick ;)
15/07/2011 1:36 pm
sorry, i know not of any tenant groups who solely represent tenants in the private sector.
ricks advice may bear fruit.
15/07/2011 3:05 pm
Thank you Bill
15/07/2011 8:14 pm
Make enquiries of the Local Council for the area you wish to move to. For instance, I am aware that Camden have a private tenants' association.
However, even if you find that there is one then there is no requirement upon a private landlord to recognise it, and they have no direct right of influence of the landlords. They may be a source of shared information for you, but that will be about the best use.
16/07/2011 9:33 am
I appreciate that you had not signed a legally binding agreement. However contracts for the letting of property can be agreed in orally. I think it is seriously arguable that the key terms on rent had been agreed when the landlord insisted on the RPI rate of increase in earlier negotiations because after you reluctantly agreed to that you then paid a deposit and paid some admin fees. In my view, you were simply waiting for written confirmation of what had been agreed and I do not believe that the landlord can simply change the terms on this important issue which was previosly negotiated and agreed. I suggest that you speak to the agent again. If you had not paid a deposit, I may have taken a different views. As you are keen on the property a pragmatic solution is the way forward.