Q&As

A tenant held over after their contracted out lease expired as new lease negotiations were progressing. To that end, the parties agreed a tenancy at will which was signed in counterpart. When the tenant returned their signed copy, they had made an unauthorised amendment to their part. The amendment is not agreed, approved or binding but what does that mean for the tenancy at will? Is it void or will the landlord’s signed version take precedence?

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Published on LexisPSL on 05/08/2019

The following Property Disputes Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A tenant held over after their contracted out lease expired as new lease negotiations were progressing. To that end, the parties agreed a tenancy at will which was signed in counterpart. When the tenant returned their signed copy, they had made an unauthorised amendment to their part. The amendment is not agreed, approved or binding but what does that mean for the tenancy at will? Is it void or will the landlord’s signed version take precedence?

A tenant held over after their contracted out lease expired as new lease negotiations were progressing. To that end, the parties agreed a tenancy at will which was signed in counterpart. When the tenant returned their signed copy, they had made an unauthorised amendment to their part. The amendment is not agreed, approved or binding but what does that mean for the tenancy at will? Is it void or will the landlord’s signed version take precedence?

A tenancy at will is a precarious interest, which, as its name suggests, can be brought to an end at the will of the landlord. No notice period needs to be given. As soon as the landlord communicates to the tenant the intention that the tenancy be brought to an end, it determines automatically. If the tenant remains in occupation, it does so as a trespasser. For more information in respect of tenancies at will, see Practice Note: Using licences and tenancies at will and Commentary: Nature of tenancy at will: Halsbury's Laws of England [192].

It is assumed that the intention of the landlord was to enter into a tenancy at will. This would bring obvious benefits in the event that negotiations for a new lease break down (ie in attempting to avoid an implied periodic, and accordingly the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (LTA 1954) protected, tenancy arising).

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