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  • Legal FAQs

    Does an AST need to be witnessed?

    Does an AST need to be witnessed?

    Only asking because my agent issued a new tenancy and it is just signed by the tenants & the agent, so wondering if it is a legal requirement or not?

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    ASTs only need to be witnessed if:

    1. They are for more than 3 years;

    2. They are to start at some future date later than the date of signature; or

    3. They are for an over or under value.

    Even in these cases it doesn't matter much if they are not witnessed because of what is called the rule in Walsh v Lonsdale. This means that if the parties intended an agreement to be made the court is not likely to refuse to accept it because of a minor technical defect


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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    Thanks David, for clarifying that.

    Had one more question - My tenant's AST ends 31st May 2019 and as he is applying to extend his visa, he needs to send documents (including AST) to the home office. He said they may question the fact that the AST is soon expiring. Hence he has requested a new AST. I can do this, however, I will need to create a new deposit protection & refund 1 weeks deposit (as he paid 6 weeks and this now needs to be 5 weeks) 

    Just wondering if, instead, I could give him some sort of letter confirming that either the AST will be renewed upon expiry or simply stating it will become a periodic tenancy and I am happy for him to stay another year.

    Thanks...

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    I would be inclined to send a letter confirming that a new tenancy will be created as and when he gets his visa extended. To not do this would mean that you may have granted a tenancy to someone who would not have leave to stay and therefore right to rent during the period of the newly granted tenancy.

    I doubt very much that the Home Office would have an issue with this.

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    Landlord with 25 years’ experience in the property market and a specialist in tenant referencing, ID and credit screening. Creator of identity, credit and anti-money laundering system ValidID.co.uk

    A witness is also required if the landlord is a company with just one director and no secretary or just one signature on the contract. See section 44 of the Companies Act 2006.

    This also applies to the deposit Prescribed Information and any other notices such as Section 21 etc.

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    Witnessed?? An AST in England under 3 years doesn't even need to be on paper.

    Bonkers:

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