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

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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.

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Why not just make the contract dates 28.02.12 - 27.08.12. but you allow the tenant to move in on the 14/02/12. As long as you get the contract signed first months rent & deposit beforegiving the keys.

If they cant afford the first months rent ( which takesthem up to 27/03/12) I would be very corncerned about granting thema tenancy.

Job done.

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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?

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I wouldn't do any of that.....just keep it simple:-

Personally I'd start the AST from the date they move in ie 14.2.2012 and make sure they pay a FULL deposit and the FULL rent for the first month up front and in cleared funds ie no cheques. AST's normally contain a receipt for them showing their initial payment. Then just pay them a refund of 2 weeks rent the day they move in, in cash or cheque and get them to sign a receipt for you showing what they have been refunded. Job done, everyone happy, no problems now or in the future with the AST.

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Similar to RL if a T moves in you want them to have full responsibility from the point 'you present keys'.

In special terms I detail that

"The period date to and including date shall be a rent free period.

Rent shall be payable from date."

They have entered into the AST from the 14th they just aren't responsible for rents till the 28th. They are responsible for bills and more importantly security.

They can't depart after a week saying they don't like it and haven't started the AST yet.

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I agree there are a number of ways to do this and in hindsight RL's option sounds the best but I have used mine a number of times without problems but had only used it for a couple of days in advance not 14.

The tenant is reponsible for all utilities fromthe day they move in.

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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.

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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.

Yep...I think otherwise. There are 2 issues here.

1. For some reason you want to write this into your AST......WHY ? when you don't have to and when you gain no benefit from doing it . As I said earlier......just keep it simple.

2. This AST wording that you have posted on here a few times.....is this your own draft or is this part of a ready made off the shelf AST that you have purchased ?

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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!

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The majority of posters on this site are not solicitors and we won't have direct experience of what you are proposing.......cos its not the sort of thing that happens often. Most of us do however recognise that there are all sorts of potential problems, risks and scenarios that might occour......hence the suggestion to keep it simple and not to muddy the waters of the contract when you don't have to.

If I were in your shoes and as someone probably unwilling to pay for professional legal advice, I think I would consider the 'varied' advice/ suggestions on this forum and choose one that suits. I've already posted my choice......Good luck.

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1 complication is that taking funds with the intent to return is a deposit, this will confuse any deposit protection situation.

Having given the funds back, although never protected, it seems the Courts won't have concern.

At any later date the actual deposit may be more confused by an awkward T or solicitor.

Many AST's have a special clause facility, animals, clarification if T has presented a potentially confusing issue. I see the risk of a badly worded entry, in this case following the 14 day intro period the AST should become standard and the special clause then irrelevant (expired).

As Grampa, there are various ways to address situations, here I see no advantage to my changing my way but wouldn't be offended if others have a different preference.

I'm interested in others thoughts as I'm still learning.

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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!)

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