Landlord asking myself (and my Ltd company) to vacate property

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Ernie and Bert
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I am a residential landlord with 6 properties under my wing. However at the same time I am also a tenant.

Basically:

On 7 February 2006, my Limited company (the main business I am in) rented a residential property on a 1 year contract. The property is being used for me and my staff to stay in from time to time when I am in the area (which is far from our main homes).

The contract falls under a 'Common Law Tenancy Contract' so falls outside of the Housing Act and AST.

In November 2006 I received notice of the property management changing hands from the landlord directly to a property management firm. In December they wrote to me asking if I wished to renew the contract and sent me a new contract with no rent increase.

I responded to them in January by phone and mentioned that I did not wish to sign a 1 year contract but would be happy to sign a 6 month one as I was not sure what was happening with the business. They responded by letting me know that the landlord wanted a 1 years contract or nothing. They also mentioned that I would be able to stay on a rolling monthly period anyway.

On reading the contract in full it gave me a 6 month break clause, so I was happy to sign it. I signed (along with Witness signature) two copies (kept a scanned copy of myself) and sent them off in their pre-paid envelope a week before the tenenacy was due to end.

I heard nothing from them but in the meantime I was pursuing quite a lot of maintenance and was trying to get them to fix the various outstanding issues which I had requested to have been done over the course of the year (and since the beginning of the tenancy).

The maintenance has still not completed and they just keep dragging their heels.

Anyway, on 10 April I received a letter (dated 29 March) from the managing agent (on management agent letter head but signed by the landlord) giving me notice to vacate the property on 6 May 2007. I immediately called them on receiving this to ask what was going on as I had signed a new contract.

They informed me that they did not receive any signed contracts from me and they were under the impression from my conversation with them in January that I did not wish to renew and the landlord had decided he wished to sell the property.

I questioned them about the maintenance and asked why I would be pursuing the maintenance issues on a daily basis if I had no intention of staying there. They agreed but could not comment any further.

I sent them the scanned copy by email the same day and a bit of to-ing and fro-ing later, they said that the landlord was willing for us to stay on for longer as long as a new 1 years contract was signed beginning in May and the rent would go up by another 180 per month.

They now keep sending me letters to the effect of agree to the new conditions or vacate by 6 May.

Where do I stand on this? I know that the contracts falls outside of Section 21 AST provisions. It was mentioned to me that I may ask them to comply with section 146 of Property Law Act 1925, however that relates to retail premises.

Is there anything I can do to stay on for a few months longer? I am unable to move out within a week or so as I am travelling quite a lot, let alone being able to look for a new place.

I would prefer to stay on, for the same rent (failing that I do not mind paying about 90/month more), but the important thing is buying myself some time and staying on in the same property.

Please advise.

26/04/2007 00:00

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