Tenant Abandonment and Re-letting

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    Tenant Abandonment and Re-letting


    Long-time lurker on this forum, very appreciative of all your posts, have helped me out a lot through the years.

    We are family landlord of HMOs in Manchester operating on 'flexible tenancies' - i.e. the tenants sign up for long leases (3 years) but can move out when they want if they can find a replacement.

    This worked well before corona but got tricky with a tenant after the pandemic as she could not shift her room and left (abandoned) last November and stopped paying rent saying that was as long as she planned to stay before moving in with her other half. In Feb i got luck and managed myself to fill the room with another tenant - i didn't surrender the first tenant's AST before the other one signed, though as they refused my settlement terms (saying they were no longer my tenant as i misrepresented the AST by saying it was flexible) so went ahead with new tenant anyway.

    I have a couple of questions. I am not looking to make a claim necessarily but this is a unique situation and wanted to see where i stand (out of curiosity, and just in case it rises again). It is likely that i will move to periodic tenancies in future to stop this happening but i have existing tenants on similar contracts so want to make sure!:

    - can i go after rent arrears on first tenant? It is November-Feb at 470p/month so 1880gbp. ​Does it matter that i didn't surrender/evict them before i signed the other tenancy?
    - Say tenancy B ends early for whatever reason is tenant A still liable for the value of contract, or is me leasing the room basically accept they are no longer my tenant? Can I use that as leverage?

    Thank-you for your time


    You have obviously accepted a surrender if you've let the room again, whether there's any formality or not. At what point you retook possession is up for some debate.

    If you'd told the tenant that they could leave when they wanted it's going to be difficult to make any claim on them for rent, even if, technically it's probably due.
    If the agreement is that the tenant can leave but only if they find a replacement, the tenant didn't find a replacement, I'd say the rent us due until the point at which you retook possession of the property, which is the point at which rent ceases to be due.
    So I don't think

    Another issue is that your agreement and what you're telling the tenant conflicts, which isn't ideal, so periodic tenancies from the start might be a solution.
    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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