How Long Should A Tenancy Agreement Be? As Short As Possible!

How Long Should A Tenancy Agreement Be

I know I’ve mentioned the shit-storm that is signing up tenant’s with long-term contracts in the midst of various other posts, but I think the issue is important enough to warrant its own merry discussion.

So here it is, so let’s take a look why I think less is so more in the world of tenancy agreement contract periods!

The Tenancy Agreement fixed-term length

My interest in this particular subject, the length of a tenancy agreement, was recently reignited after I caught a glimpse of a scuffle on Twitter, between someone that goes by the alias ‘Rent Rebel’ and some other veteran Landlord I’ve been following for some time now.

‘Rent Rebel’ was showing a particular passion for long-term tenancies and grilling the landlord for allegedly not offering them to her tenants’ (I have no idea how the drama started). From what I gathered, he felt landlords only give a crap about themselves, because not enough offer the security of long-term contracts to their tenants.

Of course, common sense will suggest selfishness is not really the reason why landlords don’t offer long-term tenancies. Or at least, it’s not usually the case.

Should long-term tenancies be mandatory? No, because that’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.

What if I only want to rent my house out for a year? What about those tenants that only want to rent short-term?

Would those popular and required markets suddenly close and/or become extremely limited?

Let’s not forget, my mate Ed Miliband was proposing to introduce mandatory 3 year tenancies as part of Labour’s pledge in 2015… and they lost.

Ok, anyways, onto the core question, and I’m sure it’s a question all new landlords will ask themselves at some point, how long should the fixed-term of a tenancy agreement be? What’s the most sensible length? I’m going to give my thoughts, but I’m going to answer the question by explaining why long-term tenancies generally scare the shit out of me and why they should be avoided like a steaming barrel of rat piss.

What defines a “long term” tenancy agreement?

Obviously “long term” can be an awfully objective metric. I’ve had relationships lasting for 6 months, each of which I’d classify as a life-sentence, while others would consider them a meaningless flings. So there’s a discrepancy.

In terms of a tenancy agreement’s fixed term, I personally classify 2 years long-term. But perhaps 3+ years is where the general consensus is among landlords and the common folk. Agreed?

Cool. So now we have an agreeable measurement.

Some tenants want the security of long-term tenancies

I get it. I so get it.

I’m sure many do want security. The last thing tenants want to do is throw time and resources into making a shell into a ‘home’ and then continually being burdened with the possibility of repossession hanging over them. That sounds like a terrible situation.

However, I have a feeling that a large portion of those fighting for mandatory long-term tenancies like the idea of it more than the actual reality of it. I’m not convinced they would sign on the dotted line even if they had the choice. So let’s delve into the reality of long term tenancies

How many tenants would actually sign a 3 year tenancy before living in the premises for at least a few months?

That’s the real question.

Bear in mind, many of the tenants in favour of long term tenancies are probably currently joyfully settled in their rental property.

Now, that’s not really an accurate way to look at the situation, because tenancies, whether they’re short or long, mostly begin before living in a property, so how do they know they will even like it long-term?

That’s quite the gamble for the tenant, to predetermine happiness. I’m not sure that everyone supporting the idea of long-term tenancies considers that perspective. What do you chumps think?

Ok, I’m sure there are still a bunch of hippy-dippy tenants out there that are die-hard supporters of long-term tenancies. They want security. They need it. They crave it.

I wonder though, how many of them would actually commit to paying 3 years rent upfront (presuming they had the finances) for a property they haven’t lived in, while also being uncertain of how reasonable their landlord is?

I don’t think many would, but those same people expect that level of commitment from the landlord, and that’s the hypocrisy in it all. They want us to trust them in our investments for 3 years when we generally don’t really know them from Adam.

They want us to invest in them, but they won’t invest in us.

Some landlords want the security of long-term tenants

I also understand why many landlords, mostly novice ones that live in cloud Cuckoo land, would favour long-term tenancies.

The common misconception is that long-term tenancies secure income/rent for the foreseeable future and reduces the painstaking aggravation of having to find new tenants any time soon. Sounds incredible! And it certainly would be, if every tenant on this planet always adhered to the terms and conditions they agreed to in the tenancy agreement, and guaranteed rent wasn’t mythical bullshit.

While the argument for long-term tenancies can seem extremely desirable on the surface, I’d say the opposing arguments to offer short-term tenancies are a hell of a lot more attractive for both landlords and tenants…

Why long-term tenancies are junk

I genuinely believe avoiding long-term tenancies is in the best interest of all parties involved, but I’m going to tackle the issue from a landlord’s perspective, obviously ’cause that’s what I is:

  • It’s difficult to evict/remove tenants during the fixed term
    One of the most effective and cleanest‘methods of evicting ‘rogue tenants’ is by serving a Section 21 notice (repossession notice) (even though technically a Section 8 notice (eviction notice) is designed to rid of tenants that have breached the terms and conditions of the tenancy e.g. failing to pay rent).

    When using a Section 21 to serve notice, you’re essentially telling your tenant you won’t be renewing the tenancy after the fixed-term has expired, so they’ll have to vacate on the termination date specified (assuming the notice is served correctly). A landlord doesn’t need a reason to repossess their property in this case, and no one can dispute the landlord’s right to do so. Like I said, clean as a whistle.

    I won’t get into intricacies of the differences between the two notices, but for those of you that don’t know, you may want to read the post on Section 8 Vs Section 21 before continuing.

    So let’s translate the difficulties of removing a doughnut tenant during a long-term tenancy using a practical scenario:

    If my tenant falls into arrears 3 months after starting a 3 year long-term fixed tenancy, the only sensible option is to serve a Section 8 eviction notice, as opposed to a Section 21 (because the end-date is nothing but a mere dot in the distant future).

    The problem with a Section 8 notice is that the grounds for possession can be disputed by the tenant, unlike with a Section 21. So if after serving the Section 8 notice the tenant refuses to vacate, and then proceeds to fight the grounds for eviction (simply because they want to be difficult, which they can), then there’s a good chance you’ll have a legal battle on your hands, and you may require a court order to remove the tenant. That’s when landlords get screwed, because this process can take several painful months, especially if your tenant drags their heels (which they usually do so they can remain in the property for as long as possible, and often without paying rent). Plus, it’s not even guaranteed you will win your case by the end of it, particularly because Judges often sympathise with the tenants, despite their wrong-doing(s). It’s a real sucky state of affairs.

    So what’s my point? By offering a long-term tenancy you waive your right to rely on a Section 21 for the vast majority of the tenancy (unless there is a break clause riddled in the tenancy agreement), and that’s a very stupid and dangerous position to throw yourself in.

    In conclusion, a section 21 is a very useful tool against dipshit tenants, and by keeping your tenancies short you’ll always be relatively close to the period where you can serve a Section 21 (instead of a Section 8), so the damage can be limited.

  • Landlord’s circumstances might change
    I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.

    I don’t know whose bored wife I’ll be screwing next week.

    I don’t know if I’ll have a roof over my head next week. Incidentally, it’s not that uncommon (and I don’t know why) for landlords to require possession of their BTL because their personal living arrangements have changed, which results in them needing their BTL for their own residency.

    My point is, long term tenancies make landlords a lot less flexible/liquid.

  • Tenant’s circumstances might change
    I’ve lost count of how many tenants have notified me of unforeseen changes to their financial situations. It’s not uncommon for perfectly adequate tenants’ to quickly become an unstable bubbling irritable boil, prime to splatter.

    Here are a few examples:

    • My tenants got divorced mid-tenancy, which meant one of them had to vacate. While both were still liable for paying the rent, it still made the situation risky and uncertain. My working professional tenants certainty weren’t as appealing as they once were.
    • One of my very first DSS tenants suddenly had her benefits revoked.

      That was tragically unexpected, because I was told by my loyal and trusting letting agent (this was when I used high-street letting agents to find tenants) that the beauty of DSS tenants is that rent is guaranteed because the Government pays on their behalf. If you can’t trust the Government, who can you trust, right?

      Needless to say, I fell for my agent’s spiel, and it was just one of several myths that was stuffed into their sales-pitch. They got me good. Shafted. Rent is NEVER guaranteed.

      I was regularly receiving my tenant’s rent directly into my account for several months, and then one day it stopped without warning. No reason was given, and there was nothing I could do about it. Most disappointing was the fact that the local council were beyond useless when I reached out to them.

      In any case, unsurprisingly, my tenant quickly fell into arrears and I had to start the process of eviction. In fact, she encouraged me to send her an eviction notice so she could move up the council house priority list. Don’t get me started!

    • One of my tenant’s suddenly lost their job, she claimed it was due to unfair dismissal. Something about discrimination in the workplace. I don’t remember the precise facts. All I remember is that I didn’t really give a shit.

      So after her dismissal, what did she do? She spent the last of her savings on a Solicitor so she could take her employer to court. She was adamant she had a good case and was due a big pay-out (because that’s what she was told by her Solicitor), therefore rent wouldn’t be a problem! *slaps forehead*

      You can probably guess how that ended. She soon lost the case, and her husband wasn’t earning enough to cover the rent and bills. They quickly fell into arrears with everyone. I literally mean everyone. They had several debt collectors chasing them for years after they vacated my property. Crickey, they were such a pair of plonkers.

      If she was discriminated against for being a cock-eyed donkey, I’d say her employer had a point, and the final outcome was always going to go one way.

      But obviously the joke was on me, because they left me £850 out of pocket and with a bathroom saturated in mould.

      Merry Christmas.

    So, even if you have found the perfect tenants, ones you even feel excited and comfortable with offering a long-term tenancy to, bear in mind they’re not immune to morphing into tenants that aren’t worth pissing on, even through no fault of their own. Circumstances frequently change for everyone. It’s life.

    Sadly, tenancy agreements aren’t like insurance policies, they don’t suddenly become void if circumstances change. Although, they really, really, really should be.

  • It’s more difficult to make amendments to the tenancy e.g. increase rent.
    I’m not just talking about the prospect of increasing rent, that’s just the obvious one, and probably the easiest to translate into a real example. But let’s be real, it’s probably the one aspect most landlords give a shit about.

    Anyways, essentially, long term tenancies may impede on your ability to increase rent when needed (and I’m not talking about increases out of greed, I mean necessity, like keeping up with inflation).

    The premise of a ‘fixed term’ tenancy is typically what it says, the tenancy T&C’s remain the same for the duration. That could mean you will need to keep the rent fixed for the entire 3 years. That’s incredibly short-sighted, because you have no idea if or when your costs will increase, whether it be due to inflation or a new unforeseen legislation, which will require landlords to pull an additional £500 out of their asses *Ahem* Selected Landlord Licensing Scheme.

    Landlording is like any other consumer based business, in the sense that if our running costs increase, we may need to mindfully consider passing on the costs to the end consumer. Otherwise we’ll be running at a loss.

    But let me clarify, I’m not saying it’s impossible to make changes to a tenancy agreement during its fixed-term, but it’s certainly more difficult, and it may mean you’ll need to be extra careful with the clauses in the tenancy agreement, which enables lawful flexibility/amendments.

  • Enforcing a long-term tenancy does NOT work in the landlords favour
    This is probably my biggest gripe with long-term tenancies, and the reason why they make no sense at all to me.

    Assuming you have a long-term tenancy with an eager prospective tenant. They’re hyped, you’re hyped, and you’re both confident it’s going to be beautiful.

    What happens if 10 months down the line your beloved tenant wants to ditch you like a bad case of Syphilis? What if your tenant officially hates you? You didn’t fix the leaking tap in a reasonable time. You’re a piece of garbage as far as he’s concerned. Your tenant wants to end the tenancy agreement agreement.

    So what are you going to do? Force someone that hates you to stay in your property? Bear in mind, they’re bitter, they want to use your nutsacks/clit as golf balls.

    Would you trust someone like that in your property?

    Do you want to have a working relationship with your tenant under those circumstances?

    Oddly, I know many landlords do try and force the tenants in these situations, although I’ve never really understood why.

    Any reasonable landlord will just allow the tenant to surrender the tenancy despite how long is left of the fixed term, subsequently side-stepping the potential drawbacks of effectively caging an animal. The only type of tenant worth a damn is a happy tenant. Every other type is a ticking time-bomb.

    Now this brings me to my point. A long-term tenancy does NOT work in the landlords favour, because if the tenant wants to break it, it’s safer just to break it. On the other hand, if the landlord wants to break it early, what tangible bargaining chip do we have? Absolutely none, so the tenant has no reason to surrender early on our request.

    If you’re a hopeless optimist, you could argue that the landlord could intentionally fail to meet their obligations to repair and maintain. But that’s not technically true, and it’s definitely not a bargaining chip, because the landlord can be prosecuted for failing to meet their legal obligations, which includes the responsibility to repair and maintain.

    So question has to be asked, what security do landlords actually gain by offering a long-term tenancy?

How long should you offer a tenancy for?

Most landlords offer 12 month tenancies. That’s pretty standard. It’s also what most tenants expect.

6 months is also quite common, and I’m an avid fan of this duration because I feel it’s the safest for all parties involved, particularly with tenants I don’t know or trust.

Legally, landlords can offer tenancies with fixed terms shorter than 6 months, but it makes little sense, because you can’t repossess your property earlier than 6 months into a tenancy unless you have grounds for eviction or there’s a mutual agreement to terminate. Plus, offering anything less just seems weird, unreasonable and quite frankly, psychotic. So really, what’s the point?

I personally don’t and wouldn’t offer less than 6 months or more than 12 months. When offering a tenancy I make it clear to all my prospective tenants that I’m looking for long-term tenancies (assuming that’s actually the case, which it always is), and the initial 6 month fixed-term (which is what I usually offer) is in place to protect both our best interest (which is true).

If after the fixed term both parties are happy, I’m happy to either offer a new 6 or 12 month contract or allow the tenancy to become periodic (I prefer the periodic option, it’s the most flexible). Whichever the tenant prefers, but once again, I emphasise it’s still a long-term commitment as far as I’m concerned.

From my experience, most tenants are more than happy with those conditions, and it’s never hindered my progress of quickly finding or retaining good tenants.

The reality is, most landlords want good long-term tenants. However, for the reasons explained, I don’t think it’s safe or sensible for either landlord or tenant to create legally binding long-term tenancies in the tenancy agreement.

Be wary of letting agents & renewal costs

Fair warning notice.

If you use a lousy, money-grabbing, greaseball high-street letting agent to sniff out tenants, you’ll most likely be subject to tenancy renewal fees, which means you’ll have to pay a fee each time a new tenancy is signed by the same tenants. You may want to bear that in mind if you renew the tenancy every 6 months, because you’ll be charged a couple of hundred quid a pop. Yes, daylight robbery considering you’ll be paying them to fetch a couple of signatures.

If you’re unsure if you’re subject to the fee check the T&C’s of your contract or ask your letting agent. The good high-street agents won’t enforce such ludicrous fees, or at the very least, will have reasonable rates.

If your agent is hard-selling a 6 month duration, it’s probably because they stand to profit from it, as opposed to it being in your best interest (even though it is). So buyer beware.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you in favour, against or indifferent about long-term tenancies? What do you offer?

Love & Peace xoxo

37 Join the Conversation...

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John 5th May, 2016 @ 08:05

I have an agency managing a couple of properties for me whilst I'm out of the country. The 6 months were up on one property, so they wanted to increase the rent by £25 pcm, and charge me £125 + VAT for the new agreement, and charge the tenants £75 + VAT. So after 6 months I would be (£25 - 12%) = £22 better off per month, which for 6 months = £132.

This extra £132 would have been gained at the cost of £125 + 20% = £150 to me, and £75 + 20% = £90 to the tenants.

So I'd be £18 worse off, the tenant would be £240 worse off and the agent would be £218 worse off.

I pointed out the maths to them expecting them to come back and bargain, halve their fees or something. A week later I got an email asking if I wanted to go ahead with the new tenancy at the new rate as the tenants had agreed. I pointed out that it would leave me worse off.

A few days later they emailed me to ask if I wanted the new tenancy or not.

I replied saying I wanted the tenancy to roll over into a periodic tenancy.

They replied asking for £125 + Vat for the new agreement for the periodic tenancy, and that they would be charging the tenants £75 + Vat for the periodic tenancy. So I emailed the agency boss pointing out the potential illegalities in charging a tenant for holding over, and within minutes got an email back from teh agent saying that in this case they would waive all fees.

Robbing bstrds.

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Pauline 5th May, 2016 @ 08:09

100% agree only 6 month informing tenant that you are looking long term - works well for all cases. Great tenant can just stay, rent increase as required - no agents no renewal fees, S21 if required. Recently a tenant asked if they could have a long term committment to keep rent the same if they did this and that within a month that half of the partnership moved out giving notice! Would not have been in their best interest. Just had another tenant moaning about all sorts, issued S21 for various reasons and court - property was all refurbished when they moved in, just done the check out 3 punched/kicked in doors and filth everywhere. Mind you if either party dealing with agents then fees horrendous and unnecessary - they will say they are running a business BUT a good tenant paying rent takes up no time so earning good money there.

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Edna 5th May, 2016 @ 08:14

Thanks. Was thinking of trying for long term contract. I'll just stick to 6 months after reading your post.

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hRon 5th May, 2016 @ 08:20

I had a good tenant (a foreign student) on a 1-year AST (with 6-months-break clause) who - at agent's suggestion - renewed rather than going the SPT route. But a month later she got a scholarship to elsewhere, therefore regretted now being "tied in" for a further 5 months. So I said "OK, you've given me what would have been the requisite notice if it had been SPT, just put me in the situation that I'd have been in with SPT by reimbursing me with the part of the contract fee which I'd had to pay to the agent." She did this, probably relieved that she was no longer committed to paying rent for 3 or 4 months when she wouldn't be there!
My point, I suppose, is that circumstances can change, and for both tenant and landlord a "good working relationship" is ideal - it can be done!
Note for the uninitiated: SPT = statutory periodic tenancy: if tenant stays at end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and nobody does anything to change things, then automatically it is a SPT on essentially the same terms, with tenant normally having to give 1 month's notice and landlord 2 months, each to end the day before a rent day (but on this last aspect I may be a year out-of-date).

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Stephen 5th May, 2016 @ 08:23

Agree with your point of view. We've never offered more than a 6 month tenancy and whilst tenants and LL want long term sometimes it's not in the best interest of either as you've said.
We have had all our properties rented for about 4 years all started on a 6 month ast.

Like reading your blog...well most of it.


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Carol Sissons 5th May, 2016 @ 08:37

Enjoyed your article. I have a tenant that started on a 6 month contract and has gone on to a rolling contract. She has never missed a payment in 3 years - sounds great. However, on DSS, very young and had a second child since she's been there (no father around). Keeps the place cleanish. So far so good. I have only just started using a management agent because I never know when she is going to ring with something wrong.I have a boiler contract so she can get someone out any time for a problem and she won't let them in if it's not convenient. The washing machine was leaving 'bits' on her clothes (I had to show her how to clean it). I won't go on bease it goes on and on. I gave in to an agent for my sanity but do resent the fees.

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Ryan 5th May, 2016 @ 08:46

Great post! I only offer 6 months then rolling month to month as you say being tied in for 3 years is just stupid and could be very expensive if you get a wastrel tenant.

None of the hyperlinks seem to be working I wanted to read your one about DSS. That is me done with those fuckwits for the last time as that's a few times stung now.

I got a text last week from the tenant telling me all his money has stopped and he'd moved out that day leaving me a months rent down, because of course they pay in arrears. The council don't give two fucks about notice periods etc. so they can house the fuckers from now on cause I certainly wont entertain them again.

I know I am tarring them all with the same brush, but ALL of us landlords are cunts aren't we!?

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Chris 5th May, 2016 @ 08:53

A 6 month agreement is the maximum my tenants will get from me with a s.21 signed at the beginning. After 6 months, they go onto statutory periodic.

I'm in it for the long term and I let my tenants know this so they don't have that fear looming over them.
There's a minority of rogue landlords whose brush we all seemed to be tarred with but there are also scallywag tenants who can cause landlords to have nervous breakdowns for all sorts of reasons, not just non payment of rent.

I consider myself a good landlord and in return I have very good tenants who I treat with respect. Repairs are done asap and all is well.

In a conversation with one of them just last week, she said they'd like to go to town on the garden and really do it up. They've been with me for 16 months and want to stay long term, I said that's fine by me and they can stay as long as they like. There's no reason for me to issue a longer tenancy as the SPT works fine for us all.

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Mandy Thomson 5th May, 2016 @ 08:54

Interesting and timely piece - I'd just like to point out that Ed Milliband's proposed bill would have allowed the tenant to get out of the agreement early, but not the landlord. I'd be interested to know whether that would violate the unfair contract terms act, as most landlords are consumers (i.e. private individuals)...

I'm currently looking a for new tenant, and the other day a couple came to me who were one month into a new tenancy, but the landlord then decided he wanted to sell and wanted vacant possession. I thought about this and came up with 3 possible scenarios:

-it wasn't an AST but a contractual tenancy with no fixed term
-the tenants had done something pretty bad and the landlord suddenly decided to "sell" to get rid of them (whether he served a section 8 too or not)
-landlord was just ignorant of the law and his responsibilities (unfortunately, there ARE a small number of "hobbiest" landlords around who could care less about landlording...)

Also, the landlord could have sold with the tenants insitu, but this would have limited his market to other landlords.

One of the tenants had a stable but lowish income, but her boyfriend just had a casual evening job that paid next to nothing - in all, not good circumstances under which to be seeking another tenancy, especially not a self contained flat in London.

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Big c 5th May, 2016 @ 09:06

In my experience it is the tenants that want shorter agreements as well.

If I'm confident in the tenants I insist on 12 month agreement, i get annoyed when agents try to drum up business towards the end of the agreement by wanting £ for agreements or trying to turn tenants over to make more on finders fees.

Think these 'tenant activists' & Shelter live in cloud cuckoo land claiming they speak for the majority of tenants.

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Denise 5th May, 2016 @ 09:40

I have two good tenants in my property who have been paying an agents for 3 years for the renewal of their 12 month agreement. On top of what I am charged annually for them having introduced my tenants 3 years ago. The Letting agents charges are extortionate so I will not be renewing at the end of this agreement as I need to break ties with the letting agent who are receiving a lot of money for changing dates on a piece of paper. So I have to loose my lovely tenants or I will end up in court. Has anyone ever paid a 'get out' fee to an agent to allow them to continue to use the tenants that the letting agent introduced.

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Tony 5th May, 2016 @ 12:43

Denise. Dont loose a good tenant. Just notify the agent that you no longer wish to use their services. Read your contract as there should be details in there. I generally manage my own properties but occasionally use an agent. The agent I currently use for one of my properties requires 90 days notice which I think is fair.

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Thunderballs 5th May, 2016 @ 14:38

I agree with a lot of your analysis but i suspect too many landlords prefer to stick to rely on the rolling periodic month by month agreement once a fixed terms ends.

Tenants get pissed when rent increases for no apparent reason and they are asked to cough up something to get a renewal - when they are a reliable repeat customer !

Tenants don't necessarily want to rock the boat either so many will keep quiet and accept a periodic rather than push for a new fixed term.

A landlord ends up with a good tenant getting slowly more and more pissed off with a landlord they barely see, incremental rent increases and less security... so they start to look elsewhere when a bit more of a proactive friendly approach from the landlord would have kept things to everyone's liking.

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Nige 5th May, 2016 @ 15:20

Remember the rules for the issue of section 21 have changed...and section 21 notices have as well the second time in less than a year. More hoops to jump through.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:12

Ahh, that's precisely what I was referring in regards to the 'tenancy renewal fees' - it's ridiculous.

What's baffling is that they tried to charge you a fee for the “new agreement for the periodic tenancy” when there is NO new agreement, which is the entire point of the tenancy rolling over. Beggers belief how unethical agents can be just to make a few extra quid.

Glad you stood your ground and justice prevailed. However, unfortunately, most landlords probably aren't as well informed, and would probably have just gone with it and paid the fees.

Thanks for sharing! Hopefully others in the same situation will read your comment and so the same thing.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:14

Ahh so it went all the way to court. Did the Judge grant you possession immediately?

I've had a few tenants vacate the property in a state, but to be honest, I'm just usually so relieved they've vacated that the the damage doesn't really phase me anymore, but it is frustrating.

I'm so with you regarding those agents that charge extra for every little thing, especially when things go wrong and they know the landlord is in a vulnerable position, so have no option but to pay through the nose. When landlords have "good tenants", what are landlords paying for when they're paying a 'management fee'? In reality, they're paying agents to check a bank statement to see if a Standing Order has been transferred successfully. Of course, a 12yr old can do that.

I find it all a bit conflicting. Landlords pay agents a premium to find "good tenants", but then agents make a lot of money when the tenants turn out to be not-so good, which is often the case.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:14

You're welcome, and wise decision :)

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:15

Perfect example of how situations can change and how forcing a tenant to commit to the entire fixed-term doesn't usually make sense. Fortunately you're a reasonable individual and it worked out.

Thanks for sharing, appreciated.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:15

Glad other people like yourself are on the same wavelength.

Thanks Steve... well mostly ha :)

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:16

Sounds like you've got yourself a good tenant in general. I would have done exactly the same - despite having received rent perfectly fine for 3 years, she does does come with certain risks, so the rolling contract would have been my preferred choice (which it always is regardless, though).

The agent fees... always tough to swallow. However, if you've got a good tenant (i.e. one that pays rent on time and keeps the property in reasonable condition) that is demanding, I can see why it could make sense. And in the long-run, it can work out cheaper just to pay the fees, as opposed to running the risks of getting a different tenant, which may turn out to be problematic (plus the costs of a potential void period).

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:17

Thanks Ryan!

I pretty much went through the exact same situation with the council- complete waste of space when it comes to problems with DSS tenants and rent payments. I don't have a problem with DSS tenants specifically, it's the system that annoys the hell out of me- there's NO protection for landlords when it all goes tits up, yet they want private landlords to keep housing DSS tenants.

I actually think you're pretty fortunate that the tenant left that day, I'd be grateful for that. From my experience, most DSS tenants in that situation would have remained in the property without paying rent until they were legally forced to vacate!! That's what they're usually advised to do by the council and support groups like Shelter/Citizens Advice!

Thanks for letting me know the links weren't working, resolved the problem! Appreciate it.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:17


I can't fault or disagree with anything you said. What you described is exactly how it should be, in my opinion.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:19

Ahh yeah, I forgot about that part regarding Ed's proposal. But now you've jogged my memory, I remember being outraged by that aspect of the proposal at the time. Sounds just as ludicrous now as it did then. How did they even consider that fair/sensible? Baffling.

Hmm... my money would be on his ignorance of the law, or perhaps just ignoring it. Also, it's worth noting for anyone else reading this- a lot of landlords stuff clauses in the tenancy agreement that aren't enforceable by law, but the tenants don't know any better- so they just go with it. There's a good chance there's a clause in there which make the tenants believe he's acting lawfully because they agreed to something in the agreement. Of course, that may not be the case, but it happens a lot.

Would be interesting to know how much time he gave them to vacate.

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The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:19

@Big c
I definitely get the same impression- that most tenants do actually want 12 month contracts. The thing is, a lot of people rent because they like the flexibility (i.e. lack of commitment), and not just because they can't afford to buy.

Some times I really do question the sanity of the activists- because they act like the tenants literally have zero rights, which couldn't be further from the truth. I think the biggest issue is that these people don't understand their rights, or realise how easily landlords get screwed over.

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The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:21

Common problem. But you could just tell the agent to let the tenancy roll over onto a periodic tenancy- then no extra work is required from then, so it would be difficult to justify tenancy renewal fees. I've done that before.

Have you considered doing that? As said, I prefer periodic tenancies anyways.

You may want to read this post on avoiding tenancy renewal fees.

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The Landlord 8th May, 2016 @ 03:22

Agreed. I personally prefer periodic tenancies, they work well for everyone in my opinion. Plus, as I advised Denise (comment 11), agents aren't typically able to apply tenancy renewal fees if the contract rolls over, because no extra work is required.

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Angry Agent 8th May, 2016 @ 11:38

As an agent & former landlord I sympathise with you all.
I feel there is a lot of resentment towards agents fees of which I used to feel to. But have you stopped and asked yourself why?

Do you resent paying a restaurant for a meal, a shop for goods, a solicitor, TV subscription do you demand a breakdown and explanation of how their prices set and their revenue distributed? I think not.

You resent paying an agent as you feel we do what you can do for a lot less money and to a certain degree your correct, however when your lack of knowledge or sheer laziness blows up like a bike steaming shit bomb who do you run to for advice? Oh let me guess the agent who is good but you didn't want to pay a fair fee to.
What you don't realise is a good agent works their nuts off for little in return. The running costs of an agency makes you want to puke as cost of being on Rightmove & Zoopla is a couple of thousand a month just for a few post codes, then their is software to run everything, rent, insurance, membership to redress schemes, hardware, other advertising, stationary, printer toner and paper, cleaning, electric, water, rates and that's before the doors even opened.

The amount of cocksure aren't I great landlords that have come in lording it up like they're the towns biggest and best businesses men only to find after they have wasted an hour of my time squeezing me for free advice then realising their current managing agent has left them with their pants down and bent over a barrel ready to be screwed by whoever feels like a go to then turn round and haggle my fees and tell my I'm exoensive is just insulting. The next problem I face is these types of landlords who have so kindly given me a hornets nest to sort out normally have equally bastard awkward & rude tenants. So I'm now dealing with a whole list of new problems because previous agent or landlord done sod all about it in the hope tenant would hide under rock.
Here is a very recent example; I took on 3 properties for a landlord I charge 10% management pcm, expensive you say other agents do from as low as 5% and yes they really do but how do you define what you get for 5%? I'll tell you, you get your rent collected they pass on information from tenant to say there is a problem and they charge you for renewals! If an agent offered proper full management at 5% they wouldn't last 3 months.
The sheer volume of work and man hours in creating details, floor plans, pictures,attending viewings even outside business hours, obtaining documents for referencing company, regular unannounced visits and calls from tenants and landlords, preparing a property & setting up a tenancy and then just when you think your ready after tenant and landlord have hounded the shit out of you to get it done ASAP despite them constantly moving the goal posts they do it again or make a new request rendering most of what you've done worthless.
10% in my opinion isn't enough for a super slick service but it's what's just accepted.
Before slamming agents and I am the first to admit most are useless take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself do you cut corners to conserve time and save money? If your agent was so loose with your property and it blew up in your face who you gonna call and scream at and want to sue?
Free tip just incase some of you aren't aware when you create a new tenancy you need to prove you have served the tenant a copy of the EPC and Gas Safety certificate or you will not be able to serve a section 21

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Denise 9th May, 2016 @ 16:41

If I did roll over to a periodic tenancy is it usual for the agent to charge my tenants or should there be no fee
to either of us.

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The Landlord 10th May, 2016 @ 15:15

@Angry Agent
I don't resent anyone that offers a reasonable service at a fair price. But if my £20 steak is served cold, I'll resent paying.

I don't disagree that a good agent works their nuts off. I don't have a problem with good agents. Landlords that don't have a reasonable grasp of their legal responsibilities should use an agent (in my most cases). The problem is good agents are far and few between.

And, there's clearly a question of "value" when an agent charges £200 to renew a tenancy with the same tenants.

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The Landlord 10th May, 2016 @ 15:19

Did you follow the link provided? The answer to your question is there.

As said, typically, if you let the tenancy roll onto a periodic, the agent doesn't need to do any work, so there shouldn't be any fees for either tenant or landlord. But you should read your contract between you and your agent properly, because the T&C's regarding the fees for tenancy renewals should be clearly written in there. If not, they're probably not able to enforce the fees.

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steve 13th May, 2016 @ 19:57

Ryan please dont beat about the bush just say what you mean LOL LOL

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Chris 17th May, 2016 @ 21:17


I was referring to my pre Oct '15 tenancies but you make a very good point and a timely reminder that the s.21 process has indeed changed. Thanks.

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Mike 4th July, 2016 @ 08:13

Have any Landlords pursued tenants through the county courts for unpaid rent or is it just not worth the hassle?
As a person who would cut my own nose off to spite my face that's what I would do or even the high court.The tenant most likely won't even turn up so you would win by default then you can send the high court Sheriffs round to their new gaffe and tow away their shiny Corsa or take their nice big plasma TVs .

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Stephen 18th April, 2018 @ 20:24

From my perspective of a French dude living in London for the past 6 years, I find the tenancies to be far more restrictive and risky than the French ones.

A French tenant benefits from the same rights and security as a short term lease. Where it illegal for the landlord to impose any rules or even enter the property without the tenant's consent. For example, tenants do not have to ask permission, and cannot be evicted for smoking or owning pets. How long does it takes to evict a tenant in France? Think a couple of years.

A middle ground would be nice. Bear in mind us tenants do not have the ability to shop around. We find a flat we like, and pray the agency and landlord wont be money grabbing sleazebags. I don't mind a short term tenancy, but I do want to be sure I can remain in the property for many years, have complete control on how I live my life in said property, and know my rent wont go higher than inflation in most cases, as well as plenty of notice when changes have to be made as long as my rent is paid on time.

Yes, landlording is a buisness. But when the very lives of people is involved, it isn't a buisness like selling coffee or hamburgers.

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Benji 19th April, 2018 @ 07:45


We had a similar system to France pre Housing act 1988. It didn't work. There were no properties to rent, stifling mobility and the economy.

Most of France gets away with it as they have the same population as the UK but with twice the land size.

Although the rental market in high demand areas like Paris is awful for a tenant trying to find a property- a choice of 'who you know', brown envelopes or slumlords.

The UK system isn't perfect but within it, the conditions you want can be negotiated separately- but you have to pay for it, it comes at a cost. Why should everyone else pay for the system you want?

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Jean 3rd March, 2020 @ 08:45

Re: agent repeat fees as Tenancies run on. I refuse to do business with any agent that asks for these. Only one agent has refused to be instructed onthis basis. London-based, so clearly I have a big choice of agents. In fact, I always write my own agreements with agents and don’t accept their standard issue agreements. No problem there, either.

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Bobby 2nd August, 2021 @ 22:58

Your blog has been enlightening one.
I've gained a lot of information, tips, "experience" that you have shared .
Good work !!!!

















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