Tenant wants out (three months into twelve-month let)

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    Tenant wants out (three months into twelve-month let)

    Hi All,

    I am a newbie to this site. Was wondering if someone could assist me?

    I have a student, which signed up to a 12 ast agreement, and she wants to get out of it 3 months early. Should I just turn around and say you need to pay up until the end up of the agreement or work around it? Anyone else been in this predicament? As anyone else tried to negoiate a middle ground where the tenant pays half of the rent for the 3 month period to get out of the agreement?

    Any help much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Last edited by bsnapool; 25-03-2008, 13:39 PM. Reason: More Detail

    #2
    Originally posted by bsnapool View Post
    I have a student, which signed up to a 12 ast agreement, and she wants to get out of it 3 months early. Should I just turn around and say you need to pay up until the end up of the agreement or work around it? Anyone else been in this predicament? As anyone else tried to negoiate a middle ground where the tenant pays half of the rent for the 3 month period to get out of the agreement?
    You can't simply insist that she pays you for the full term; and neither, obviously, can you physically restrain her from quitting.

    What you can insist upon is that she pays for your readvertising and associated costs, and that she covers the rent until you have a new tenant installed. You have to be seen to be making reasonable effort to find a new tenant, as well; eg, if she can find someone to take over her the property, you can't refuse providing the individual fulfils your normal vetting procedure.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by bsnapool View Post
      Hi All,

      I am a newbie to this site. Was wondering if someone could assist me?

      I have a student, which signed up to a 12 ast agreement, and she wants to get out of it 3 months early. Should I just turn around and say you need to pay up until the end up of the agreement or work around it? Anyone else been in this predicament? Has anyone else tried to negotiate a middle ground where the tenant pays half of the rent for the 3 month period to get out of the agreement?

      Any help much appreciated.

      Thanks
      1. Can she (T) afford to pay all (or most) of the remaining rent?
      2. Can you easily re-let at this point in the yearly student-letting cycle, or are most prospective tenants unlikely to want to move?
      3. If you re-let now, can you be sure that your new tenant will be out before the next full-year letting to new crop of student tenants?
      4. Once you reply to those questions, we can advise how best to proced and minimise cost to you.
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for your replies...

        1. Can she (T) afford to pay all (or most) of the remaining rent?
        2. Can you easily re-let at this point in the yearly student-letting cycle, or are most prospective tenants unlikely to want to move?
        3. If you re-let now, can you be sure that your new tenant will be out before the next full-year letting to new crop of student tenants?
        4. Once you reply to those questions, we can advise how best to proced and minimise cost to you.
        1. Probably would be able to afford it, but as from previous reply, I can not force her to stay and best trying a more ammicable way of sorting this out.
        2. It would be difficult to let to student for a 3 month period, basically the summer period. Im not saying this is impossible but highly unlikely.
        3. No, this is the diffficulty really. Thats why i wanted to sign students up for twelve months to stop the rooms from being vacanct for longer than a month. Is the contract worth more than the ink on it? As I would like to be in a position where i can back my arguments....

        Thanks for your replies...

        Comment


          #5
          There's not a lot that you can do. She (T) could be kept liable for all of the remaining term's rent, but whether she would or could pay in full...
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

          Comment


            #6
            I'm suprised at this advice. What's the point of an AST if tenants can just say 'I've had enough and so I'm going and I'm not going to pay the rent for the time left to run on the agreement'. Landlords can't just say three months before the end of an AST 'Oh, by the way, I want you out early'

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by bagpuss View Post
              I'm suprised at this advice. What's the point of an AST if tenants can just say 'I've had enough and so I'm going and I'm not going to pay the rent for the time left to run on the agreement'. Landlords can't just say three months before the end of an AST 'Oh, by the way, I want you out early'
              Don't be surprised. There's a difference between "Can't pay" and "Won't pay".
              L has to decide if pursuing T will yield enough money for the exercise to be cost-effective.
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

              Comment


                #8
                Fair enough, Jeffrey, but it didn't sound as though lack of money was the issue here, just the tenant thinking that she could go when it suited her rather than sticking to the contract.

                I think how you react about terminating a tenancy agreement depends a lot how and when the tenant approaches you. We had a tenant who had signed up for an academic year and then decided a couple of weeks later to go to a different Uni. He asked us if his friend could take over his agreement - this was fine by us and the new guy has been a model tenant ever since.

                In the case in question, however, I think it would be next to impossible to find a tenant for just 3 months. I'd be annoyed if one of my tenants tried this on without giving any reasonable justification for leaving early and I think I would insist on at least half the remaining rent, if only on principle.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I found this site/post by accident from the other site of the fence, as it were.

                  My daughter started University in September, and took up a private halls of residence shared flat recommended by the Uni, as their own halls were already full.Sadly her Uni course didn't work out so she withdrew from Uni and explained to the Landlord she would be moving back home at the end of first term. She handed in the keys and came home at the end of December.

                  First terms rent was paid in full but as she is now seeking work and not at Uni she did not get any second grant or student loan payment, so she is unable to pay the 1,800 which is the cost of the rest of the years rent. The Landlord has about 20 other better appointed empty rooms, so the chances of her finding another student to take over the room were nil, but she did try.

                  This particular Landlord is going through the Courts to claim the money, so I think you must have a better case if the Student just wants to leave on a whim.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'm in the process of filling in the Court response pack with my daughter on this and I would be grateful for any honest opinions from Landlords on if they think they the landlord in this case has acted reasonably.

                    In summary the landlord has over a thousand bedstudy students in fours or sixes in the building and payments for the 43 week term are in three payments at the start of each term, T was sharing with 3 other students chosen by L. She paid 1st terms rent 1,200 plus 150 deposit and (250 utils, whole term cost).

                    As mentioned in my previous post she had big personal and academic problems , withdrew from the Uni in Dec, notified L and handed in keys.

                    We both thought as she was no longer a student with student grant/loan facilites she would be expected to vacate anyway.

                    L is demanding full payment for full year regardless and although T explained she had no money to pay and at the best would be getting £47 per week Job Seekers Allowance while she looks for work, L's only offer was paying in instalments of 250 per month, which was mathematically impossible.

                    I think the contract she was given was misleading and that the section on liability for the full term was designed to stop students moving to other accomodation willy nilly. Not to punish student who left the academic course completely.

                    The problem with getting anybody to take the room over , was the L had many other nicer empty rooms in Dec/Jan and the 3 other students she was put with, although nice people, were the messiest and un-domesticated bunch you could meet.

                    My argument is that given the specifics of the case it was always going to be impossible for her to find a replacement and L will know that, so not offering some compromise is unfair practise.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As a tenant, I would say that there's little you can do. If you rent privately and sign a contract for a certain amount of time, it's common sense that you have to honour it. It's not a case of punishment, it's a case of fulfilling normal obligations. Would you expect to be able to take a half-eaten pack of biscuits back to tesco for a half-refund if you lost your teeth and couldn't eat them anymore?

                      I also dropped out of Uni partway through a year, but I stayed in the area, got a job there, and kept living in the same flat. I'm not saying that this would necessarily be best in your daughter's case, but just to illustrate...

                      I think L might make more of an effort to find a replacement, but if none is forthcoming, it would be difficult to argue with his position.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        One presumes there is no sort of break clause allowing either side to end the agreement early after 6 months with the appropriate notice.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          While I did post that I would chase a tenant for rent who just decided to 'leave early' on an apparant whim, I do feel sorry for your daughter in this case, but it's this sort of risk that you take when you sign an AST. LLs take risks too, don't forget, and ASTs are there to protect both sides.

                          Did you sign up as her guarantor? If you did, then the LL will probably go after you for the rent and I doubt that you'd be able to get out of paying the rent for the remainder of the term of the agreement.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks very much for the comments, it's nice to get some objective views, I respect and value all opinions you may make.

                            There's an interesting angle on the staying in the room after leaving the course suggestion, within the terms on the agreement there's a section that says the LL can ask the student to leave if they end their studies for any other reason than Graduating.

                            It's this cake and eat it attitude of the specific LL that is hard to swallow if you can pardon the pun.

                            If she had chosen a smaller landlord and was with flatmates she had picked and signed a joint tenancy with I don't think this would have developed.

                            For one thing her chances of being able to influence her flatmates to keep the shared kitchen cleaner would have been greater. The room would have been bigger, nicer and more atttractive. Most importantly the LL wouldn't have several dozen other better room available within the building for later arriving students with fresh money, and would have had more incentive to help refill the room.


                            We filled in and sent back the section for disputing the claim to the County Courts today, so I'll let you know how things develop.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Quote
                              There's an interesting angle on the staying in the room after leaving the course suggestion, within the terms on the agreement there's a section that says the LL can ask the student to leave if they end their studies for any other reason than Graduating.

                              It could be that this clause is to ensure that only students are tenants as this affects the LL's ability to gain council tax exemption for his properties - working people have to pay council tax, full time students don't.

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