An easy way to amend the contract is to use our free renewal service. Essentially you will be signing the tenant up to a new AST with the new agreed terms included. Where this option is available, it is a more straightforward way than either agreeing orally which is open to dispute, informally in writing which may lack clarity and then be found to be void, or by Variation agreement or Deed of Variation which may require the assistance of a solicitor.
Orally or in Writing between the Parties
Technically terms can be amended orally between the parties. Oral agreements are not recommended as there is the likelihood for dispute.
It is possible to vary the contract in writing by written agreement. Parties can make informal agreements in writing to vary terms which should be signed by all parties. If this is done informally then problems may arise as these agreements may be inexact.
This is a formal document which sets out changes to the original contract in the form of a new document. The Variation agreement must be signed by all parties to the original Contract including any guarantor. Where the guarantor is not party to the Variation agreement, it may well be discharged from its obligations. To ensure that the Variation agreement is exact it will include the following information:
- identify the Parties as clearly as possible
- identify the AST as clearly as possible
- identify when the variation comes into effect
- clearly state the clauses that are being added and those being deleted
- include the Guarantor's consent
- ensure the document is signed by all parties
There are two ways in which the amendments can be detailed:
- The changes can be listed. If there are only a few changes then it may be best to set them out in the variation agreement itself.
- A marked up version of the original AST can be attached to the variation agreement and referred to in the variation agreement its self.
Deed of Variation
However, it is worth noting that in some cases even a formal agreement of this type will not be suitable. This is because of a legal concept called 'consideration', which is necessary for a valid contract: in practical terms, this means that a contract must offer some benefit to both parties and may be invalid if it does not.
This requirement for consideration applies to contracts but not to Deeds, and therefore variations made by Deed. The Deed will include all the clauses of the formal Variation agreement however will be executed differently and will be referred to as a Deed.
It is important to seek independent legal advice in the preparation of an Variation agreement or a Deed of Variation to ensure that it is prepared and executed correctly.
Types of amendments that are acceptable.
Amendments must not be contrary to the Unfair terms in Consumer Contracts Act 2015. The Courts will not uphold a term that is "unfair". This will be the case whether or not the term has been individually negotiated.
There are types of terms which are set out in statute law and cannot be changed. These include, for example, the legal requirements placed on a landlord when serving notice to end a tenancy.
Information on this site is by way of general guidance only and may not apply in your particular circumstances. You should not act or refrain from acting upon information on this site without seeking independent legal advice.