Here is a question to the blog clinic from Mia who is a landlord.
A leading estate agent made so many mistakes with the AST – ‘ wrong postcode, wrong deposit amount (did not match the actual deposit payment), missing break clause and maintenance clauses which lead to clauses being incorrectly numbered.
I noticed these before signing and the AST was corrected after multiple versions.
Would these inaccuracies have led to a void contract, in a court and put the landlord in a weak position?
This is very annoying I agree, not what you are entitled to expect from a leading agency where you are paying for their service.
The errors would not have led to a void contract, but the contract between you and the tenant would be as per the signed agreement document and not as previously discussed with the tenant.
So, you would have been left with a contract:
- Where the wrong address could have caused issues, in particular, if you ever need to evict the tenant
- Where neither you not the tenant would have been able to end the fixed term early without the consent of the other, and
- Where you would have had to deal with the changed deposit sum. For example, if the sum in the agreement was in excess of the amount permitted under the Tenant Fees legislation you would need to refund the excess and could be vulnerable to enforcement action for default.
It is always possible to rectify mistakes after signature of a tenancy but only if the other party agrees. For example, by signing a new tenancy agreement which would have the effect of cancelling the original agreement and replacing it.
However, if the errors are in the tenant’s favour you always run the risk that they may not agree to do this.
There is a statutory procedure for amending tenancy agreement terms, but this can only be used if the tenancy continues as a statutory periodic tenancy after the fixed term has ended.
Note that if you decide to do your own tenancy agreements, we have a wide selection available on Landlord Law.