Rent increase during tenancy agreement?

Rent increase during tenancy agreement?

9:50 AM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago 18

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Hello,

I appreciate this is probably not the right place to ask, but I am a bit desperate for some assistance.

Myself and my partner rent a property (and have done for nearly 6 years). We signed a 12 month renewal document (online via docusign) in February this year, agreeing to a £35 per month rent increase (this was also signed by the landlord).

However, the estate agent has now been in touch to say because the document is still ‘in process’ online (I assume because they have not completed it at their end, it is most definitely signed by us and the landlord) that we are, in fact, in a rolling monthly contract and not a 12 month agreement and they are now asking for a further rental increase of another £32!

Is this something we can challenge at all?

Any help would be greatly appreciated

(And no, we have not been awful tenants, we look after the property, have paid the rent in full, on time and every month, never missed a payment, nor have we begrudged any rent increases in the past).

Thank you,

Jenn



Comments

The Forever Tenant

10:43 AM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

They haven't got a hope in hell of this sticking. If you received a renewal document for 12 months and you signed it, that's what the deal is.

Doesn't matter if they processed it or not, you signed it (and have probably be paying the extra rent specified) and as such, that's what's valid.

reader

10:47 AM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

There are so many possible ramifications of not having a tenacy agreement, assuming you have not had one before for this property you need professional advice. If you have had a previous tenancy for this property it needs careful professional consideration.

I usually allow my tenancies to go periodic rather than issuing a new one. So much less hassle and lot cheaper way to do business.

Simon M

11:22 AM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

If the landlord signed before you and you and your partner are both tenants and signed, then your agreement is valid.

Docusign can be set up in different ways. In these circumstances it would be ideal if you and your partner have the Docusigns emails confirming you both signed. If not and you have the Docusign email, the link may show you some proof. Even if it doesn't tell the agent you signed and ask them to show you Docusign record of who signed & when.

Even if the landlord didn't sign before you they have been accepting the extra £35/month since the new term started & in doing so they accepted the new fixed term. i would stand my ground.

Even if the agents now back off if you can I would politely contact the landlord who may not even know about it.

Judith Wordsworth

12:14 PM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

If the landlord or their agent has not signed the contract there is no contract BUT if you have been paying the increased pm £ since February then a court will most likely confirm a contract IS in place by performance.
For the agent to say “it’s still being processed” after 6-7 months this is totally unreasonable and personally think they are chancing their luck.
Continue paying the original increase and sit tight

Jenn Smythe

13:21 PM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Thank you all for you help, I am in the process of taking this back to the estate agents (although they are fighting this tooth and nail, trust me!)

Just to confirm, we have always had a fixed tenancy in place, usually renewed for either 1 or 2 years.

The landlord signed the contract before us, we don't have email confirmation from docusign, but do have screen shots and the document itself downloaded.

We did, of course, increase the standing order for the rent to the agreed amount in February.

The estate agents are currently saying the previous property manager made the error and it wasnt processed due to 'one of the safety checks not being complete'. They are also claiming the landlord wasn't aware of the rent increase (even though she signed the document) and is within her rights to increase the rent now, as her costs have gone up.

Will see what happens, as I said, the estate agents are pretty adamant that this is all above board and right, and we don't really have the resources to fight it 😔

Puzzler

15:19 PM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Do you have a signed copy of the new agreement?

Jenn Smythe

16:42 PM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 26/09/2022 - 15:19We have a PDF copy and a screen shot of a signed lease (by ourselves and the landlord). But it says across the document that it is 'in progress' (because the estate agents didn't finish it their end) and that is why they are now saying this lease is not valid, and we have been on a monthly rolling contract, not a fixed term.
Although if the contract wasn't valid, then the rent increase wasn't valid and we have been overpaying rent surely?

Unless, of course you mean the new monthly rolling contract, then no, nothing has been signed, we have just been informed of the change via email

Chris H

19:52 PM, 26th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jenn Smythe at 26/09/2022 - 16:42If that is the case then they should have refunded within the first month or two and requested you pay the prior amount 😉

They now in theory owe you the overpayment with interest...
Sounds very much like they are trying it on, I see no way a Judge rules against you, assuming they are willing to take it that far...
You do not mention how much you currrently pay, so I cannot work out the increase %, I am told that tenants in place are protected by cap increase limits, but online reading provides several different answers, someone here will likely be able to provide the correct answer of increased rent per year
I agree with other comments (we are Landlords here not thief's) pay the first increase and that is all they can increase within 12 months.
Good luck!

Puzzler

13:44 PM, 27th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Whether capped depends on the tenancy agreement. They can't increase it twice in one year without your agreement. It would of course postpone the next increase but without a fixed term you could be subject to two months' notice

Jenn Smythe

13:02 PM, 29th September 2022, About 2 months ago

Well at the moment it doesn't look like there is anything we can do.

We can't afford legal help and we can't afford for them to trash our credit score by not paying the rent increase. They are refusing to budge at all and just keep blaming the error on the previous property manager (which seems completely irrelevant to me).

So, looks like we have been successfully, well and truly screwed over by the estate agents and landlord. Joy. What's the point in signing for a fixed lease if it is only relevant when they want it to be..?

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