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Landlord Legal Issues - March 2023

Landlord & tenant lawyer Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlaw.co.uk answers your questions

Q. We are a letting agency and have a tenant who has asked for the tenancy to be renewed as a five-month fixed term as they are in the process of buying a house. The landlord has agreed to this on condition that they pay the five months’ rent up front. However, the tenants are refusing to sign and say they can only pay on a month by month basis. What can we do about this?

A. Not much. The tenants are entitled to remain in possession once the fixed term has ended and a rolling periodic tenancy will be created under statute (s5 of the Housing Act 1988). It is not necessary for there to be any paperwork, as the periodic tenancy will be created automatically.

If they were paying on a month-by-month basis prior to the end of the fixed term, this will be incorporated into the new periodic tenancy, and the landlord will not be able to change it if they do not agree. The only thing he could do would be to bring proceedings to evict them, but as any such proceedings would inevitably take longer than five months, but which time they will have left anyway, there is little point in doing this. I suggest you advise the landlord to leave things as they are.

Q. Our tenants agreed to a gas inspection appointment, after initially refusing, but then when the gas inspector attended, they refused to let him in. He has invoiced us for the wasted call and we have asked the tenants to pay. However, they say we are not allowed to charge this to them as it is forbidden under the tenant fees rules. Is this correct? 

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