Breaking Joint Letting agreement

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    #31
    Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
    I note what is said in post 27, but I am not sure that the law actually requires a landlord or an agent to inform a tenant if his notice is invalid. One would hope that a court would take notice of the guidance, but it can only be persuasive.
    Yes, I agree, although I assume that no sensible Agent would want to risk a test case on whether they owe the tenant a duty of care. I may be misjudging it, but It seems to me that with all the guidance on consumer legislation and the current climate around tenant rights, that would only go one way.

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      #32
      I think that on a practical level, the agent would have to be in contact with the landlord, because it's not entirely clear to me that what the agent seems to be doing is actually in the landlord's best interests.

      While keeping the other tenant as part of the tenancy is ostensibly in the landlord's interests, the likelihood of only receiving half the rent and not being able to recover the rest from the departed tenant ought to be a consideration. The landlord's interests might have been better served by ending the joint tenancy and finding new tenants.
      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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        #33
        [QUOTE=DPT57;n1093449]I assume that no sensible Agent would want to risk a test case on whether they owe the tenant a duty of care./QUOTE]

        In this case the agent has no cause of action. Only the landlord can sue for the rent. The question will be: Does a landlord have an obligation on receipt of a notice to inform a tenant if he considers it invalid? In the answer is "yes", then I think it has to follow that an agent has the same obligation.

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          #34
          I would have thought that consumer legislation would apply even more to the landlord-tenant relationship than it does to Agent-tenant and CMA31 references the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 to support the argument that Landlords and Agents should carry out their services with reasonable care and skill within a reasonably timescale and that they should not mislead tenants about their rights and obligations. I guess that the problem with this as with much consumer legislation is that its untested in in this arena and therefore open to interpretation.

          It did make me wonder though what the duty of a letting agent is to a tenant who walks into their office and asks for help. At that point there is no intermediate landlord. If the Agent says 'Im not helping you, you're a <fill in the protected characteristic>' is this discrimination under the relevant legislation or just a hate crime?

          Comment


            #35
            The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 has now been replaced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, although the requirement for reasonable care and skill remains in that legislation.
            But while they shouldn't mislead tenants about their rights and obligations, they aren't under any obligation to correct a tenant's mistakes.


            Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
            It did make me wonder though what the duty of a letting agent is to a tenant who walks into their office and asks for help. At that point there is no intermediate landlord. If the Agent says 'Im not helping you, you're a <fill in the protected characteristic>' is this discrimination under the relevant legislation or just a hate crime?[/COLOR][/LEFT]
            If the agent would have helped someone without the protected characteristic, it's discrimination.
            Whether or not it's a hate crime would probably depend on what words were used to describe the protected characteristic.
            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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              #36
              I'm a little surprised with the views around the OP not "rolling over" and paying what's demanded. Whilst I have very significant sympathies with the OP, I'm not sure what else the landlord could have done here (let's forget for a second that there's an agent involved). The tenants are jointly and severally liable for rent under the contractual terms of the tenancy. Whether a tenant is actually resident or not is immaterial.

              Let's look at the landlords options :
              1) inform the tenant that the notice is invalid. Ok, a good landlord would of course do this. However it doesn't really change materially the position so this is a courtesy not to do with rent due.
              2) agree a termination of the joint contract and reissue a sole contract. Other than the fact that the other tenant would need to agree to this anyway, what responsible landlord would do this? The other tenant has really made their position clear in only paying half the rent so why on earth would you absolve the first tenant of their responsibilities?
              3) accept the notice given. A non starter given the impact on the remaining tenant, and indeed not lawful.

              So what would you have the landlord do? If this went to court the claim would go jointly and severally against both tenants. It is not for us as landlords to assume or judge who is responsible for the debt, the contract and tenancy does this for us.
              Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

              Comment


                #37
                Originally posted by wish View Post
                . I continued to contact them over 5 months
                Originally posted by wish View Post
                - what date did you email them - I emailed them back in Oct explaining I had left the property due to reason out of y control, and wished to end the tenancy
                That is not 5 months ago

                Originally posted by wish View Post
                -when did the tenancy start (exact date) and was the rent monthly - 30th Nov 2018
                -what was the initial fixed term - yes for 1 year and the was a month by month agreement
                Any notice given before 2 December 2019 is invalid, and tenancy could not have been ended before 30th January 2020.

                Comment


                  #38
                  Originally posted by MdeB View Post


                  That is not 5 months ago



                  Any notice given before 2 December 2019 is invalid, and tenancy could not have been ended before 30th January 2020.
                  Quite. Now we will start the debate about whether the agent is obliged to give tenant 1 (but not 2) a legal tutorial on periodic tenancies. It is hard enough for landlords to keep up with perverse and damaging legislation - let alone becoming tutors to tenants using that legislation to oftentimes steal.

                  Comment


                    #39
                    Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post

                    Quite. Now we will start the debate about whether the agent is obliged to give tenant 1 (but not 2) a legal tutorial on periodic tenancies. It is hard enough for landlords to keep up with perverse and damaging legislation - let alone becoming tutors to tenants using that legislation to oftentimes steal.
                    I think the point is this: If a tenant serves an invalid notice to quit and the landlord/agent intends to rely on it being invalid, at what point is the landlord/agent obliged to inform the tenant that the notice is invalid?

                    Let's take two extremes:

                    An agent receives an invalid notice to quit. He immediately informs the tenant that the notice is invalid. Given the law, no one can complain that the agent has acted improperly even though it means that the tenant will be liable to pay more rent than he expected. The tenant will be peeved that serving notices to quit is trickier than he thought and the general opinion may be that the law may on the whole may be fine, but that where a joint tenant wants to leave at the end of the fixed term the law needs tweaking.

                    An agent receives an invalid notice to quit. The agent says nothing. The tenant leaves. The situation is such that it is clear that the tenant believes that the tenancy has ended and that he has no further liability for rent. No attempt is made to relet and the landlord does not enter. Six months after the tenant leaves he gets a demand for six months' rent. Surely we can all agree that that is wholly unreasonable?

                    I confess I find it slightly amusing that in a thread which highlights the law being unreasonable for tenants you take the opportunity to have your usual rant about how landlords are oppressed. In the words of the late Harold Macmillan, landlords "have never had it so good". In some places they are collecting two-thirds of a tenant's income. As things stand, the law favours landlords. The problem for landlord's is not the law, but the law's delay. In any other service business the supplier can stop supplying the service if the customer does not pay. Landlords of short term residential property have to go to court to get out non-paying tenants. Landlords have to take their place in the queue with everyone else seeking justice. Should they be given priority? Is another system possible which ensures that tenants are not deprived of their homes without due procedure?

                    I find it ironical that during 13 years of a Labour government very little was done to improve the lot of short term residential tenants, but now we have a right wing Conservative government which believes in the free market which is proposing significant changes. It is a recognition that the Thatcherite agenda has failed.

                    Comment


                      #40
                      Originally posted by MrShed View Post
                      I'm a little surprised with the views around the OP not "rolling over" and paying what's demanded.
                      I realise that elements of my argument are more hypothetical than related to this case, but I do think there is an important point here. Consumer legislation is an enormous beast to which most landlords have hitherto paid lip-service. This is probably because it's not yet clear to what extent it applies or how cases will be interpreted by the courts. However I suspect that it will become clearer and more significant in the future.

                      As to whether the agent had a duty to correct any mistaken impression this tenant may have had about their notice, I think that there is a moral duty to do so and if agents and landlords continue to resist this, there will eventually be a case brought to the courts that ends up opening a much bigger can of worms.

                      Comment


                        #41
                        Hang on a minute though as I think the two are different beasts.is anyone truly disputing that the agent shouldn't have informed this tenant that their notice was invalid? I sincerely hope not, I agree that there is a moral obligation to do so.

                        However none of this changes liability - which isn't even a landlords choice, legally their hands are tied.
                        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                        Comment


                          #42
                          A big part of the problem here is tenant education , especially around joint tenancies. And this is not a landlords cross to bear , or indeed one that the landlord can bear. I as a matter of course spend time going into detail with my tenants about what "joint and several" means, my assumption is that most don't. However, i am biased - at least from the perspective of the tenant. So if course the natural inclination from a tenant if an issue does arise during tenancy is "well of course the landlord would say that, but it doesn't feel right - if I'm not living in the property and someone is why should i have to pay?". And they are right, it doesnt feel right - but that's the law. Hence why this education needs to come from elsewhere.
                          Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                          Comment


                            #43
                            Originally posted by MrShed View Post
                            However none of this changes liability - which isn't even a landlords choice, legally their hands are tied.
                            Yes, if a case ever came to court and was won by the tenant, it would be interesting to see what redress the court felt was available.

                            Comment


                              #44
                              People seem to be of the opinion that if T serves invalid notice, then LL or Agent have a duty to tell them so.

                              Does that mean that when LL serves invalid S21, the T has a duty to inform LL rather than waiting until the hearing?

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Originally posted by MdeB View Post
                                People seem to be of the opinion that if T serves invalid notice, then LL or Agent have a duty to tell them so.

                                Does that mean that when LL serves invalid S21, the T has a duty to inform LL rather than waiting until the hearing?
                                I dont think anyone is saying legally there is a duty, more morally. I would argue that morally the T has this duty also (if they know this).

                                However, there is a wider point here which is that in my view (and it may be mine alone), I would expect that I as a LL knows the law better than the T around letting. As such, I do feel that I shouldnt abuse this position and even in a dispute situation (provided that the tenant is acting reasonably, as this OP is I believe) I shouldnt take advantage of legal loopholes.

                                I am also quite conscious of my position of effectively owning and having power over someone's home (not just a house) and I do therefore think that there is a duty of care burden, even if this is moral only, attached to this.

                                Also as an aside point on this, lets not forget that the OP may have a legal claim against the remaining tenant.
                                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                                Comment

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