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  • FIRST POST
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 12th Oct 18, 6:48 PM
    • 7Posts
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    Mcoughlan
    Tenancy Agreement Incorrect - Advice needed!!
    • #1
    • 12th Oct 18, 6:48 PM
    Tenancy Agreement Incorrect - Advice needed!! 12th Oct 18 at 6:48 PM
    Hello all,

    So Iíll break this down as easily as I can. So I worked for a company from January 2017 until August 2018. The company also owned houses in the same area. In December 2017 an opportunity came up to rent with my employer. We still went through a letting agent and I signed an AST agreement. Verbally my landlord said that if I choose to leave the company my rent would increase at some point as he is giving it to me 100 pounds cheaper as an employee. I understood this but we spoke no more of it. I signed the AST and all has gone well ever since. In August I left the company and I have been continuing to pay the same amount of rent since last December as in my contract it says that it would be reviewed a year into the tenancy and we are only 10 months in. Which meant I expected it to be reviewed this December as it would go up by 100 as I am no longer an employee.

    I emailed my landlord (aka ex employer) the other day to basically say I would like to leave in December when the year is up. He was perfectly fine with this. Shortly after I had an email to say that my rent is in arrears since I left the the company in August even though it is not.
    The clause in the contract states the below:
    ďthe tenant acknowledges that the rent is offered in the first instance below market value at £750 PCM whilst employed by **employers name**, should the employment cease during the first year of employment the rent will revert to £850 PCM. Thereafter the rent will be reviewed on an annual basisĒ


    I have always read this as if I ceased employment within my first year of working there then my rent would revert to 850. But I did not cease my employment within the first year. I had been there 19 months. Therefore in my view the rent would be reviewed and go up to 850 after the first fixed term which ends in December.

    My landlord does not agree with this and neither does the letting agent. The letting agent admitted on the phone to me today that this particular clause was over seen and it was basically a mistake on their behalf. It should state first year of tenancy not employment. I have been completely mislead by this and now they are saying this clause is invalid and I must pay my arrears of 200 pounds in the next 7 days. I will also have to pay £850 from here until the end of tenancy.

    I have spoken to Shelter U.K. & Citizens Advice Bureau who both agree that it looks like a mistake has been made in the contract, nevertheless those are the contractual terms that have been signed and agreed. Therefore they are in the wrong, not I.

    The letting agent was completely impartial on the phone today and I believe they just donít want to own up to their mistake.

    I would love to have peoples opinion on my situation.

    I hate conflict and nearly paid it today just so I didnít have to deal with the stress of it all , but on speaking with legal advisors they have advised me to stick to my guns and donít let them win.

    Last edited by Mcoughlan; 12-10-2018 at 7:46 PM.
Page 1
    • flashg67
    • By flashg67 12th Oct 18, 6:56 PM
    • 2,658 Posts
    • 1,739 Thanks
    flashg67
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 18, 6:56 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Oct 18, 6:56 PM
    I read it like you - so, their mistake, they live with it. It's 'only' £200 - not worth the landlord's time to try and collect it I wouldn't have thought. It's for the LL to sort with the agent if they've made a mistake between them.
    I know you don't want the hassle, but if you feel you're in the right, let them try to claim it in court - from what we know from your post, they'll probably lose.
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 12th Oct 18, 7:04 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Mcoughlan
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:04 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:04 PM
    Thanks for your reply!

    To be honest I definitely think the are in the wrong.
    When speaking with citizens advice bureau they were saying how they cannot just decide that this clause is invalid after 10 months and say " oh we wrote that but we actually meant to write that"

    They seem to be trying to use scare tactics to make me pay up.

    I am in my early 20's and this is only the second tenancy I have been in therefore I just feel a little bit out of my depth with the whole situation so its nice to get some opinions. Thank you again.
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 12th Oct 18, 7:13 PM
    • 1,034 Posts
    • 1,670 Thanks
    Slithery
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:13 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:13 PM
    Another one that agrees with you here.

    You didn't even need to give the landlord notice (although it is polite) - you can just leave at the end of a fixed term by handing the keys back before the end of the final day of the tenancy.
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 12th Oct 18, 7:17 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    Mcoughlan
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:17 PM
    • #5
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:17 PM
    Thats so very true!

    I did it out of politeness and to allow him to market the property out so he could get new tenants in as December will be a difficult time with Christmas and what not.

    Isn't it funny how he never asked for more rent before I piped up and said I wanted to leave. If I hadn't given him notice I would still be paying £750 and nothing would of been said.

    Its all a bit fishy!

    I'm now wondering if he's doing this out of spite of me leaving the company as I was a great asset and rumour on the street is that he's been struggling without me ever since.
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 12th Oct 18, 7:28 PM
    • 1,034 Posts
    • 1,670 Thanks
    Slithery
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:28 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:28 PM
    I'm now wondering if he's doing this out of spite of me leaving the company as I was a great asset and rumour on the street is that he's been struggling without me ever since.
    Originally posted by Mcoughlan
    All irrelevant - ignore this personal aspect completely and let them either try to dispute your deposit or take you to small claims. I think you'd win in both cases.
    Last edited by Slithery; 12-10-2018 at 7:46 PM.
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 12th Oct 18, 7:43 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    Mcoughlan
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:43 PM
    • #7
    • 12th Oct 18, 7:43 PM
    Exactly, on speaking with Shelter UK he can't even bring me to smalls claims court as it is not even over £500. He can take it out of my deposit but as soon as I dispute it I will more than likely win due to the circumstances. I just need to stick to my guns and let it play out me thinks!
    • Marvel1
    • By Marvel1 12th Oct 18, 9:04 PM
    • 3,693 Posts
    • 4,094 Thanks
    Marvel1
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 18, 9:04 PM
    • #8
    • 12th Oct 18, 9:04 PM
    Also the letting agent will never agree with you are they act for the landlord.

    Their error is not your issue.
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 12th Oct 18, 9:11 PM
    • 7 Posts
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    Mcoughlan
    • #9
    • 12th Oct 18, 9:11 PM
    • #9
    • 12th Oct 18, 9:11 PM
    I always thought the letting agent had to be impartial to both sides. Obviously not
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Oct 18, 11:20 PM
    • 46,151 Posts
    • 55,839 Thanks
    G_M
    ......Verbally my landlord said that if I choose to leave the company my rent would increase at some point as he is giving it to me 100 pounds cheaper as an employee. .....................................

    “the tenant acknowledges that the rent is offered in the first instance below market value at £750 PCM whilst employed by **employers name**, should the employment cease during the first year of employment the rent will revert to £850 PCM. Thereafter the rent will be reviewed on an annual basis”
    Originally posted by Mcoughlan
    I think you and other posters are interpreting this overly positively.

    Certainly as written, the increase in rent from 750 to 850 appears to be dependant on your leaving their employment within your first year of working there.

    However, this is clearly a nonsense, given that you had already been employed by them for more than a year when the tenancy started. So a judge may well look at the intention behind the clause.

    It seems obvious to me (and I suspect to you and others) that what they intended was for the rent to increase immediately if you left during/within the first year of the tenancy. (The assumption being that the employment and the tenancy commenced together.)

    Yes - it is very badly drafted, and yes, often poorly drafted contracts are interpreted by courts in favour of the party who did not do the drafting - in this case you.

    But not always. Courts can, and do, also look at the intended purpose of a contract/clause, and whether both parties had a mutual understanding of the intention when the contract was drawn up, even if the wording did not precisely reflect that understanding.

    So - if I were to ask you, honestly, what you thought was being proposed (so far as the reduced rent and planned increase is concerned) at the time you took on the tenancy, what would your answer be........?
    Last edited by G_M; 12-10-2018 at 11:24 PM.
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 13th Oct 18, 3:06 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Mcoughlan
    My understanding was that once the first fixed term (aka 12 months was up) it would then be reviewed. My meaning of the words ďsome timeĒ reflect he vagueness of the conversation as he wasnít very clear. At this point in my career within the company I didnít question this fully as I had no intention of leaving the company and seen myself there for many years so felt this was irrelevant. I completely understand that when this is reviewed after the fixed term they would take into calculation I am not an employee and revert this to back to the market rate of £850.

    If I had left in August and my employer had said your rent goes up next month I would of questioned it then but nothing was mentioned there was no warning , I have not been trying to get away with a lower rent for 2 months as I genuinely believed I had been paying the correct amount. (Also if I hadnít why wasnít I contacted in August when my first rent payment no longer as an employee was made)! It was the whole reason I handed in my notice as I knew £850 was quite hefty for me so come December I wouldnít be able to afford the higher rate.

    I appreciate your view and definitely can see you how it looks from your perspective but hand on heart I thought I was paying the correct amount.
    • Mcoughlan
    • By Mcoughlan 13th Oct 18, 3:13 AM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Mcoughlan
    Sorry just to add, on signing the contract I had not been with the company a year. It was 11 months.
    • martindow
    • By martindow 13th Oct 18, 10:13 AM
    • 7,869 Posts
    • 4,523 Thanks
    martindow
    Exactly, on speaking with Shelter UK he can't even bring me to smalls claims court as it is not even over £500.
    Originally posted by Mcoughlan
    Is this correct? I didn't think that there was a minimum sum for a claim.
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