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Freefall

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  1. Freefall

    1st 2 weeks free rent - how to write in AST?

    Richlist, thanks for your input. It looks like the 'straightforward' option of writing the situation how it really is on the AST is maybe (potentially) not so straightforward after all and the 'pass the parcel' solution you suggested (take £600, give £300) isn't as complicated as it first appears - and I can certainly see the point of it better now! Your suggestion seems pretty practical all things considered. Thanks for persisting with me! COR, I think it seems straightforward to put it simply and honestly on the AST but I'm afraid of the unknown so I think I'll go for Richlist's suggestion. The deposit issue shouldn't be a problem because I'll accept the £600 and give the £300 at the same time. I guess there's no harm in putting the info all on one receipt with a copy for the tenants and one for me? E.g. 'landlord (name) received £600 from (tenant's names) for 1st month's rent in advance, £300 rent refunded by (my name) to (tenant's name) for period of (dates of 1st month's rent), + deposit of £900 received'. (But with better wording!) Or if that's too complicated, just to put the info about the deposit and £600 received for 1st months' rent on one paper and the refund of £300 on another. They'll have the same dates on them so shouldn't make the deposit bit an issue. (Sigh - getting myself tied up in knots again!)
  2. Freefall

    1st 2 weeks free rent - how to write in AST?

    I got the AST from lettingexpert.com. Though I wanted to keep the 2 free weeks as simple as possible, I've found it easier said than done! It just seemed unduly complicated/pointless to take £300 and give a receipt for £600 and get a separate one from the tenants acknowledging I'm returning £300 when I could just make the discount clear on the AST. However, I'm aware small changes on the AST can have big consequences so if you really think it's a bad idea to write it into the AST then I'm happy to defer to your experience. But isn't it possible to just be straighforward on the initial receipt that the first month's rent (with dates) is being charged £300 only - or is that a bad idea because it contradicts the AST? Thanks for putting me straight!
  3. Freefall

    1st 2 weeks free rent - how to write in AST?

    Good advice all. Richlist's idea seems to make sense though it seems odd to take £300, and give receipts for receiving £600 and for returning £300 on moving in day. It's a toss-up between doing this, and writing it into the AST: The term shall be for the definite period of .....6...... months from and including the ..14..../.02...../.2012..... to and including ...13.../.08...../.2012..... The rent shall be £600 per calendar month, payable in advance. The first payment for the period from and including 14/02/2012 to and including 13/03/2012 shall be charged at £300 only. This payment shall be due on 14/02/2012 or prior to taking possession. Thereafter, the "RENT DUE DATE" will be the ......14th..... day of each month during the term of this agreement. I think both methods would do the job unless there's something I've overlooked but I think the extra clause in the AST makes it clear - but feel free to correct me if you think otherwise! Thanks for your suggestions.
  4. Freefall

    1st 2 weeks free rent - how to write in AST?

    Thanks Grampa. So the AST would look like this?: The term shall be for the definite period of .....6...... months from and including the ..28..../.02...../.2012..... to and including ...27.../.08...../.2012..... The rent shall be £600 per calendar month, payable in advance. The first payment of £600 being due on ..28..../.02...../.2012..... or prior to the date of taking possession. Thereafter, the "RENT DUE DATE" will be the ......28th..... day of each month during the term of this agreement. I don't know the implications of it but I was assuming the AST would need to cover the date they start living in the flat from. If I put the start date as the 28th Feb, wouldn't this imply they have no obligations re bills and council tax until the 28th? They are planning to stay longer than 6 months so it's not as if they need to leave on a particular date. I just want to keep the AST as straightforward as possible. They should be fine for the money (I'm waiting for credit checks and references now) but they are paying rent on their current place too until the middle of March so they're actually paying two lots of rent for 2 weeks. I don't mind them moving in early because the flat's empty anyway and it saves me from paying council tax and heating bills (and I think the council uses the AST to determine dates the tenant is living there too). They've got one and a half months' deposit to pay when they move in too so they're paying out a lot of money at this time. Do you think the AST example in my first post would be a problem with the first payment date on either the 14th or 28th?
  5. Hi, I'm planning to give new tenant's approximately the first 2 weeks' rent free but how do I put this in the tenancy agreement? The tenants are moving in in the middle of the Feb. I was initially assuming that they could move in and pay the deposit but not start paying any rent until the end of the month but I'm not sure if this makes the AST awkward/invalid (especially for giving notices at a later date). Is this valid? The term shall be for the definite period of .....6...... months from and including the ..14..../.02...../.2012..... to and including ...13.../.08...../.2012..... The rent shall be £600 per calendar month, payable in advance. The first payment only is discounted to £300 being due on ..28..../.02...../.2012..... or prior to the date of taking possession. Thereafter, the "RENT DUE DATE" will be the ......14th..... day of each month during the term of this agreement. Or is it better to keep the first payment date as the 14th too for the sake of simplicity - and I don't know if there would be any implications for giving notices etc that I'm not aware of. Or does it not matter either way? (I can't think straight at the moment - but doubt if I'll be able to think any clearer in the morning!) Also, if you have any better wording regarding the discount, please feel free to suggest! It's the only clause I've amended; the others are straight from the original AST. Thanks for any suggestions.
  6. Cheers for the answers - gave me another way of looking at it. I guess the charges of £20-25 (which seems standard) for sending letters re rent arrears and returned bank payments are a way of mitigating bank overdraft charges. I guess I'll leave the clauses in with the standard £20 or £25 and probably just not bother enforcing it - at least not for minor things. I guess it's intended to persuade the tenant that it's in their best interests to keep to the tenancy agreement and pay on time so maybe not such a bad thing to keep.
  7. The AST I have charges the tenant for 1) sending letters to the tenant re breaches of the tenancy including rent arrears 2) returned payments from the bank and 3) sending a section 8 notice - but it leaves the amounts blank. Do you usually charge for these things - and if so, how much? Or do you write amounts and not necessarily enforce the charges at your discretion -or would that be a stupid thing to do? I'm just wondering what to write here. What do you all usually do?
  8. Freefall

    Vermin

    Letting agency AST has this clause under 'tenant's obligations': The tenant agrees to... Pay and arrange for the removal of all vermin, pests and insects, if infestation begins during the Term, woodworm and woodboring insects excepted, unless such infestation occurs as a failure of the Landlord to fulfil his repairing obligations.' So I guess if there's a hole in the wall that the Landlord has neglected to fill and mice start getting into the house as a result, then it's the Landlord's responsibility to resolve, otherwise, it's the tenant's responsibility. Point taken about mice getting in under doors though. They really can squeeze in through the smallest gaps. And lettingexpert.com AST says the following: 'Pay and arrange for the removal of all vermin, pests and insects, if infestation begins during the term. Woodworm and wood-boring insects are excepted, unless such infestations occur as a failure of the Landlord to fulfil his obligations.' Which I assume is intending to say the same thing but with misleading punctuation?
  9. Freefall

    AST advice needed!

    Yes, that's what I meant. Or if the guarantor is informed that the tenant is a month in arrears and then bails out, and the tenant continues to get into further arrears, then I guess the guarantor would only be responsible for that first month? In which case I don't know whether it's better to inform them sooner or later. Hopefully, I won't ever need to know! Also, I don't know if it's feasible to keep a guarantor for the full term of the tenancy, including the periodic tenancy. I've seen tenancy agreements stating the guarantor is responsible for the full term of the tenancy incuding any periodic but I don't know if these are valid or not, or if they can still opt out?
  10. Freefall

    AST advice needed!

    Good point. I guess a solicitor near them could do it if they can't come here. Another thing that confuses me: I understand that once the fixed period has lapsed into a periodic tenancy that they are no longer liable if they give written notice that they no longer wish to remain the guarantor. If the landlord has already informed the guarantor that there is a problem e.g rent arrears, and the guarantor then said they no longer wished to be the guarantor, would he still be liable for any costs he had already been told about?
  11. Freefall

    using email for giving/receiving notices?

    I'm quite happy to give official notices e.g. section 21 by post if that is required - but for communication to get to me, if would make much more sense for the tenant to email me as I can access my email from anywhere and spend long periods of time away from my official address. I guess I can't stipulate that official notices be sent to me by email but just let the tenant know that they'll find it easier to reach me that way. I would have thought that email would be appropriate for everything as long as a response is also received from the tenant - after all, it's a written record. Wouldn't it only if they didn't respond to the email etc that you'd need to send a formal letter?
  12. In all the info I've seen, it seems to be that the only valid way to serve or receive notices is by written letter. Will email not suffice in this day and age? Obviously, I don't mean if there are any problems, like serving a section 8, but if there is a good landlord-tenant relationship and I want to give/receive notices by email? Can I add a clause to the AST that a copy of all notices should be sent to my email address in addition to the postal address? It is much easier to keep an eye and respond promptly via email than written letter.
  13. Freefall

    AST advice needed!

    Cor, so between what you and Dave A said ("witnesses have to be independant to the person signing the document, this refers to any legal document. They cannot be family members or co signees of the same document."), the witness could be a friend of the guarantor/tenant as long as it'snot a relative? Would it not be possible to get the forms signed and returned by registered post along with the original ID docs (passport/driving license + utlility bill)? This was my first choice. Or would the signature not be valid if I don't see it signed myself? If not, do you know roughly how much a solicitor would charge for this task? Thanks for your info!
  14. Freefall

    AST advice needed!

    COR (or anyone!) - who can be used as an 'independent' witness for a guarantor? I guess I'm not supposed to use a friend or member of my family and assume the same goes for them. I'm not using a letting agency. Also, does the guarantor need to sign the document in front of me or could they sign it, scan it and email it back to me with photocopies of their passport/driver's license and utility bills - they don't live nearby.
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