Covid19 moves

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    Covid19 moves

    Wondered if someone may have the answer to my question or any advice?

    Me and my sister and scheduled to move flat at the end of the month, 25th (guarantor reference just needs to clear to be accepted.)

    Due to the government advice, we are looking to the delay the move and we asked our estate agent about this. The landlord said he would give us 5 extra days.

    We are hesitant to take the flat now due to the situation for various reasons (one of us has COVID19 symptons, we have some furniture but no beds and would be reliant on shops opening/travel being unrestricted to buy stuff new or secondhand, removals companies aren't currently running and family members who could have helped are in the higher risk categories, but also just as important - because of the government's own advice that suggests only moving if absolutely essential). Our estate agent is pushing us to complete the move and thought that if we didn't take it, they could find someone else to take it (which seems really unlikely given the situation.)

    It seems as if we have two options 1) move in on the 30th anyway and potentially pay rent on a flat which we can't live in 2) back out of taking it.

    We signed contracts before the outbreak and wondered what may happen to our holding fee if we don't want to risk it, the clause does state that we would not receive a refund if we do not take the flat. It would feel unfair to lose out money just because we are being precautious and adhering to government advice, rather than not wanting it/not being accepted?

    Any thoughts?

    #2
    Although the landlord doesn't have to 'give' you any leeway, I do think 5 days is a bit tight in this situation. Despite what the agents say, I suspect finding a replacement tenant will be hard, so maybe he would rather give you a bit of extra time rather than have the property empty for the next 3 months. He's unlikely to keep it until the crisis is over - that could be months with no rent.

    Unfortunately, you entered into a contract to take the property on the 25th (not the 25th, providing I can get removal men and a new sofa). If you don't, you are in breach of contract and as such you will be liable to compensate the landlord for his losses.

    As they allegedly have other tenants begging for the place, those losses should be minor, but I think we both suspect it will be a long time until he finds another tenant. The landlord had a legal obligation to keep his losses to a minimum to keep your costs down.

    If those losses exceed your deposit, then conceivably you could be sued for the balance. Likewise, you could sue the landlord for your deposit back if you don't believe he has suffered losses.

    What's more likely to happen is simply you walk away from the arrangement and he keeps your deposit.

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      #3
      IMOas yet no COVID 19 Regs prohibit moving house/flat.

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        #4
        If the place is unfurnished then I think its unrealistic of the landlord to assume that anyone will be in a position to move-in. It sounds like this would not be an option for you, particularly if you are self-isolating, so I suggest you either negotiate a longer extension until the practical requirements of moving in can be fulfilled, or back out.

        If you back out, you may lose your holding deposit. However, you should check the terms of any holding deposit agreement you signed to make sure that the landlord/agent hasn't breached the Tenant Fees Act (eg spelled out the circumstances under which they can retain it. Not held it for longer than 15 days without you agreeing an alternative date. Not taken more than one week's rent...)

        Having said that, you would be in breach of contract and the landlord would be entitled to sue you for his losses, which he would have to mitigate. At the moment you those losses may be unusually large as he may not be able to re-let any time soon. I've no idea how the courts will react to these circumstances though and whether the Government will issue any guidance or further emergency legislation to limit that liability when you followed their advice.

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          #5
          Just want to say that regarding shops and lack of furniture - this will not be an issue because buying online is not a problem. Most retailers have even moved onto online selling.

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