How to ask agent to remove unfair rent review clause from 1year AST before signing

How to ask agent to remove unfair rent review clause from 1year AST before signing

7:08 AM, 28th January 2015, About 9 years ago 12

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I’ve just been sent a 1 year Assured Short hold Tenancy to review before we sign and move in 2 days. It has a 6 month rent review clause that I think is unfair and not just because its every 6 months. What is the best way to ask the agent to remove it? They know we don’t have time to find another house and so have us over a barrel.

“Rent Reviews
The landlord reserves the right to review the rent on a six monthly basis and /or when the tenancy is
renewed. The landlord may elect to increase the rent to bring it in line with the current market rent of
similar properties in the area.”

I think this clause is unfair. It’s the word “may” I have issue with. They “may” bring it into line with current market rent they “may” double it or triple it, there is no limit. It needs some min /max percentages in or something not mention it should be yearly at the end of the fixed term. There is no time limit either they can raise the rent in 6 months time and every 6 months after that.

This place was on the market for a long time before they reduced the price so I’ve a gut feeling the agency will want to put it back up asap. Especially as they charge fees for everything they can think of. We signed the for the annual £120 charge for a new contract every year when we gave the holding deposit and agreed to the list of fees but I think this means they’ll demand the fee every 6 months when they print a new contract with our new 6 monthly rent increase.

I want the clause removed. How do I go about it while avoiding being homeless in two days?

Any advice greatly appreciated


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James MacDonald

10:15 AM, 2nd February 2015, About 9 years ago

So we moved. At the office the agent said they did not receive my carefully constructed email arguing why we should not have a 6 month rent increase and why the clause should be removed or reworded. I saw the email history on their screen and it was missing. Strange as their address was definitely on there and it was definitely in my sent folder and my girlfriend received her cc'd copy. So that’s a bit fishy.

Anyway they were arguing in the office that the clause means they can only put the rent up every 52 weeks according to regulation. Which is good as that means they were not going to try and increase the rent at 6 months and they are aware of the regulations.

I was trying to point out that it doesn't say that, it says they can put it up every 6 months and by signing I agree to ignore the regulation and it should be reworded. If the intention was to review the rent every 6 months after the initial fixed period and not review for the subsequent 52 weeks after the last increase then it should say that clearly.

They said that's what the "and / or" bit means and it’s the contract used in 400 offices nationwide so therefore it must be alright. Time was short so we stopped debating it there as I realised with that kind of logic, arguing further was going to be frustrating and fruitless.

Another agent overhearing said in all their career they never heard of a 6 month increase and then started debating about the regulation and whether it’s possible. They were joking maybe it was something they could look into. We signed and didn't cross out the clause to save further arguing after their assurances. I'll post in 6 months if they do go ahead and put the rent up :-).

They do have a the word "Initial" and a little dashed space at the bottom of every page, so that's good because I wouldn't have thought of that. I hadn't read Ian's post by then.

In reply to Gary they have already said they always ring the landlords and push for resigning at the end of the fixed term and they have shown us the fee for this which they have to do by law I think before signing. They say it's more secure for both the landlord and tenant as we'll have another 6 months with no surprise notice from either party. Which is fair enough although I'm sure it’s their annual hefty fee that concerns them more. It can't possibly cost that much to reprint a contract and ring two people.

Cheers for all the help and opinions. Nice use of the word otiose. I'll admit, I had to look that up.

Ian Narbeth

11:20 AM, 2nd February 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "James MacDonald" at "02/02/2015 - 10:15":

Happy to help. I could also have added that using "and/or" is almost always ambiguous. Does the draftsman mean "and" which is conjunctive or "or" which is disjunctive? (Sorry if you have to dust off the dictionary again ;-)) Instead of saying "A and/or B" it is better to write "A or B or both".

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