Letting agent trying to persuade me into paying another month of rent

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    Letting agent trying to persuade me into paying another month of rent

    Hello, so this is me and my fiancee's first time renting a property. It is a fixed term contract lasting 12 months, which started on the 8th of March 2019 and is supposed to end on the 7th of March 2020. Now last night I wrote an email to the agent informing her that on the 7th of March we will be leaving the property as we found it to the best of our ability, and I did not send notice earlier simply because we didn't find another property until yesterday, so clearly I couldn't give earlier notice that we plan on leaving because we weren't sure if we were going to find another property by the end of this fixed term tenancy.
    The agent replied to my email today saying that she accepts my email as my written notice but as per our tenancy agreement, we are required to give two months notice. She then says that our tenancy is now going to end on the 24th of April 2020 and that we are responsible for the rent and utilities until our tenancy end date.
    The thing is on the contract it states very clearly that the term of the tenancy is for a period of 12 months, starting on the 08 March 2019 and shall end on and include the 7th of March 2020, but subject to clause 5.1, which is the mutual break clause which states that at any point after four months of the initial fixed term contract, either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months notice. When I emailed them this at 12:30pm today, they took 4 hours to answer, and this is their answer.

    "Your singed agreement is for a fixed term but after the agreement ends, the tenancy falls in to statutory periodic and so runs on a month by month basis - it doesn't just end. It's the same for the landlord they have to give you adequate notice, they wouldn't just expect you to move out on the fixed term end date.

    From the 8th March your tenancy will become statutory periodic. You will be required to give one months Notice to terminate the Tenancy and Notice must be served on the rent due date. Your Landlord must serve two months Notice to terminate the Tenancy, again Notice must be served on the rent due date. All other Terms and Conditions will remain unchanged. I can accept your email as you one month notice from 8th March meaning that your tenancy will end on 7th April but that is the soonest you will be able to end the tenancy."

    Now surely this can't be right? What is the point of having a fixed term agreement if it doesn't end when the contract states it ends? From what I know, and as I said I don't know too much since I'm not from this country and this is my first time renting, the fixed term tenancy would turn into statutory periodic tenancy only if, after the end date of the term, which in this case is the 7th March 2020, we still live in the property, which is not going to be the case since I already told them that we will be out of the property on that date.

    I wrote this back but I haven't sent it yet as I want to know if I am wrong or right, but to me it sounds like there should be no need for us to inform them that we desire to move out of the property on the end date of the tenancy. That is why it's there in the first place, no?

    Ok so in this case, why is there none of this information specified in the contract? On the contract it clearly states that the duration of the tenancy is for a period of 12 months, ending on the 7th of March 2020, subject to clause 5.1 which states that either party can at any time after four months of the initial fixed term of the tenancy invoke this mutual break clause, by giving two months notice. In this case, none of the parties are invoking this cause, it is just the fixed term contract coming to an end, as it states on the contract. Nowhere on the contract does it state that after the end date of the agreement, the fixed term contract will become statutory periodic, and neither does it state, unless I'm missing something, that we should give notice prior to the end of the fixed term contract. The only point where it says that the tenant should give two months notice is in the mutual break clause, which clearly is not the case here as none of the parties are invoking it, it is simply the contract coming to an end. If I was required to give notice, it should have been stated in the contract, I understand that there is no need to inform us that after the agreement is over, if we continue to live on the property, it will automatically turn into a statutory periodic tenancy, as this is an assured shorthold tenancy and that is how it goes. As far as I know, the fixed term agreement would turn into statutory periodic if after the 7th of March when the agreement ends, we are still living in the property, which isn't going to be the case as we will be moving out. "

    Thank you in advance and I really hope that we are not going to have to pay another month of rent for literally no reason, but even then everything is so dodgy because in the first email they tried making us stay until the 24th of April, basically saying that it had to be two months notice, making us pay 2 more months of rent, and after I have stated that I know that there is no need for two months notice in this case since it isn't the mutual break clause, they now reduced it to only one month notice.

    Don't send that message.
    The agent is wrong.

    The tenancy ends on 7th March, and if you move out and return possession to the landlord (or agent) before midnight on that day, that's it.
    There's nothing the landlord or agent can do to change that.

    If you stay in the property, a new periodic tenancy will arise, but if you don't, it won't.

    The tenancy agreement has notice periods but there's nothing the landlord or agent can do to enforce them. It's not possible for a tenant to serve notice during the fixed term, regardless of what the tenancy agreement says (although break clauses are allowed).

    Call shelter if you want reassurance (I appreciate that some random person on the internet may not be particularly confidence building).

    Just tell the agent that they're wrong and you will be leaving on 7th and will drop the keys off. If they argue, suggest that, like you, they take some legal advice.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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