Here is a question to the blog clinic from Joanna (not her real name) whose daughter is a tenant.
My dautghter and a friend agreed to rent a flat. They had to pay a deposit of £1000 for the agent to take the flat off the market. When the flat was vacant the new tenants were given a lease which they were not allowed to change. It was dated 5 December.
On the 6 December the new tenants signed the lease as the agent had completed all references, guarantors were in place and 6 weeks deposit and a months rent had been paid.
The new tenante queried the date on the lease but were told that was the start date of the tenancy. The agent then introduced a new requirement that the guarantors had to sign the front of the Lease. This took two days as one guarantor was working the other side of the world (the agent had agreed in writing that this guarantor could sign on his return to England but changed his mind)
The Tenants were not given the keys until 8 December but the agent has insisted the Tenancy started on the 5 December.
Can the Landlord pick a date for the Tenancy to start even though the Tenants are not allowed to move in until later?
Is it considered harassment to accept deposit rent etc and then refuse to allow the Tenant access even when the Tenant has signed the lease?
The agent has said the Tenancy had not started because the Landlord had not signed the Lease nor had the guarantor but the date on the tenancy would remain 5 December.
I don’t think it is harassment. However I am concerned that presumably your daughter is being charged rent for a period of time when she is not allowed to be living in the property.
I would suggest that she query this in writing to the agents and ask for their assurance that this will not happen. If they insist that she pay rent for this period then there may be a case for deducting this sum from their rent during the last month.
So far as the legality of what they are doing, if the tenancy is being signed as a deed then the tenancy agreement will start on the date specified. However otherwise, I suspect technically it will start on the day they move in (as s54 of the Law of Property 1925 will not apply – see here).
A document is signed as a deed if there is a statement saying this and the signatures are witnessed.