Can I end fixed-term tenancy without others' consent?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Can I end fixed-term tenancy without others' consent?

    Hello,

    First of all, I'd like to apologize for my English, it's not my mother tongue but I hope you'll be able to understand me !

    In feb 08, I signed with 3 other people that I didn’t know a fixed term joint tenancy. I let 6weeks of deposit - It's a 12 months contract with a 6 months break contract. My cousin acted as the only guarantor for the joint tenancy - If I understand well, it makes him responsible for all of us.

    Since 6 weeks, I told my roommates and the agent that I needed to leave the country and going back home. The plan was to find someone matching with my roommates and my guarantor and I would be removed from the tenancy agreement.

    Unfortunately, I already propose 7 people to my roommates but no one was good enough for them. (No students even if they are paying the rent until the end of the contract - This one is "too partying" - This one is "too boring" ...)

    I start to be tired of being a real estate agent for my room especially when my roommates, are refusing everyone. I never had good relation with them, but now we are talking only by e-mail. When I try to come to talk to one of them, they are just not answering and changing of room. I'm honestly close to do a depression.

    The situation is really tense now - They like to say that I'm stucked until February here - The agent tells me that he doesn't want to be involved and he can't do anything.

    I can't afford the next month rent and I don't know how I will pay for it.

    What can I do? I don't want my cousin to pay anything. I'd like to get back my deposit. And I really need to go as soon as possible. (I have a new job and i m very close to loose it...I already missed 2 weeks of works - Even if my boss is very cool, it will start to be very complicated)

    I still hope my roommates will accept someone but I'd like to have a plan B! I think they expect that I will leave pay the rent until february and get the house only for them.

    Thank you very much for your answers,

    Yannick

    #2
    Your English is very clear, don't worry!

    Your housemates sound very awkward! I agree, they should have been able to accept one out of the 7 you found. I think you are certainly in the right morally.

    Your problem is that you - and your cousin - are legally tied into the contract until Feb 09, (although it was unusual for one guarantor to guarantee the rent for three people he didn't know). The agent won't want to know, of course - as far as he is concerned, he has found four tenants for his LL and he won't want any trouble.

    Does your cousin live in the UK? If so, he could be pursued for your rent until February.

    Which country do you hope to return to?

    In your situation, some people would just leave, in the knowledge that it is unlikely that the justice system will catch up with them outside the EU, at least. Some people would leave, but leave details in the house of three or four more prospective tenants for their housemates, so that they can choose someone if they wish. I cannot condone breaking your tenancy agreement, but I agree that your housemates are being very unreasonable.

    Perhaps one of the lawyers can advise us as to whether you or your cousin have any other option?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      Yannick,
      You explain the situation clearly but I've two questions.
      1. You said you started trying to leave 6 weeks ago. Did you try to use the break clause to end the agreement at 6 months?
      2. Was your cousin given a copy of the agreement to study before he signed as guarantor?
      I'm thinking that it seems unlikely that your cousin would sign up as guarantor in full knowledge that he was guaranteeing rent payments for three people he doesn't know - maybe the proper procedures for obtaining the guarantee weren't followed and the guarantee is invalid.
      Going back the break clause, I think that you should have been able to end the agreement at 6 months, with or without the agreement of your co-tenants.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you very much for your answer.

        In the tenancy agreement it's written:

        The following person

        • XXX XXXX

        have agreed to act as guarantor of the this tenancy (and any extension) and be responsible to the landlord for any loss, damage, costs or other expenses (including rent) arising out of the tenants breach of, or failure to comply with, the obligations and responsibilities of this agreement.


        Our four names are under this agreement. So nothing is specified that he is "my guarantor" and not the guarantor of the tenancy.

        He is living in the UK. And I'm going back to France.

        I think my housemates try to make me out of the house and paying to rent until February. They will have the house for 3 or will have an unofficial new tenant in my room to pay a share of the rent instead their.

        They are not talking to me any more, they are threatened me, they putted some laxative in my bottle of coke, turn on the TV when I'm on the phone...Nothing very serious, but it makes me living like in hell. I was thinking about going to live in my cousin's flat the time I can solve this problem, but I thought I would be to easy for them to not accept a new roommate.

        Now, I'm thinking about making them crazy, and sending back the ball...(Turning on the alarm at 4AM - Emptying the trash in their bed...) to force them to accept someone. But it's not my nature, and I still believe in justice and well behavement to solve this problem...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Yannick View Post
          Now, I'm thinking about making them crazy, and sending back the ball...(Turning on the alarm at 4AM - Emptying the trash in their bed...) to force them to accept someone.
          Don't! In any dispute, it's vital that you have a 100% clear record and have done nothing that can be held against 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


            #6
            Originally posted by johnjw View Post
            Yannick,
            1. You said you started trying to leave 6 weeks ago. Did you try to use the break clause to end the agreement at 6 months?
            In the tenancy agreement, it's written:

            Break Clause for Tenant and Landlord
            Should either party wish to terminate the contract at the end of the sixth month, they must give notice in writing to the other party before the end of the fourth month. If this notice is not received in time the tenancy will automatically be extended to the full year.


            Unfortunately, I tried to move out after the 6 months period. At this time, I guessed that I couldn't use this clause. Is that right ?

            Originally posted by johnjw View Post
            2. Was your cousin given a copy of the agreement to study before he signed as guarantor?
            I'm thinking that it seems unlikely that your cousin would sign up as guarantor in full knowledge that he was guaranteeing rent payments for three people he doesn't know - maybe the proper procedures for obtaining the guarantee weren't followed and the guarantee is invalid.
            Going back the break clause, I think that you should have been able to end the agreement at 6 months, with or without the agreement of your co-tenants.
            My cousin didn't see and sign the tenancy agreement. He signed some paper that we don't have any more - The agent told me last week that he was responsible for the tenancy and not for me but we will be able to remove him on a new tenant agreement. I was a foreign students without job when I took this house but my housemates were working and had a "Credit check" by the agency.

            I will go to ask the paper of guaranteeing from the agent - but even if he is just "my" guarantor, I can't afford to leave and to pay the rent until February.

            Comment


              #7
              The good news is that if your cousin was not made guarantor using the correct legal prodedure (.i., being given a copy of the contract and sufficient time to read it, seek legal advice about it, etc before signing, also having his signature witnessed by an independent third party), then he cannot be held responsible for the tenancy. Unless the agent has written evidence that he did all those things, your cousin is 'off the hook'.

              You presumably paid a deposit of several hundred pounds wehn you signed up for the property? I don't think you have much chance of getting that back unless you can sign up a new tenant yourself before you leave. That seems unlikely. So...why don't you call your flatmates' bluff, recruit some prospective tenants as suggested, email their details to your housemates saying your deposit will cover the rent until they move someone else in.Tell them at the same time that the guarantor agreement is invalid, and that they should find themselves another one for the remainder of the contract,if the contract specifies there should be one. Email all this info to them on the day you move out.

              Technically they could sue you (take you to court) for the rent you owe minus your deposit, but I somehow don't think they will. It would emerge, for instance, that they didn't have a guarantor, that they made your life hell, that they moved someone else in unofficially...it doesn't look good. Plus you're in France, (lucky you!) which will complicate the process for them.

              Bon courage!
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with the views expressed by "mind the gap".
                You have produced replacement tenants and it's really up to the landlord or agent (not your fellow students) to vet them and accept or reject. I believe the landlord/agent has a legal duty to minimise your losses. This means that they can't be unreasonable in rejecting all the tenants you suggest as unsuitable. You should now seek to produce another suitable replacement tenant and should refer this person to the landlord/agent.
                Its probably prudent for you to keep a record of all the efforts you have made to find a replacement, though I do think it's unlikely that the matter will end up in court.
                Regarding your cousins position as Guarantor, it seems unlikely that the guarantee will hold. He should not only have seen the agreement but should have been given a copy to retain. He should also have a copy of the guarantor form which he signed. Of course, it's never a good idea to sign documents without understanding the implications, but in this case it does appear that the proper procedure for obtaining a guarantee, were not followed.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by johnjw View Post
                  You have produced replacement tenants and it's really up to the landlord or agent (not your fellow students) to vet them and accept or reject. I believe the landlord/agent has a legal duty to minimise your losses. This means that they can't be unreasonable in rejecting all the tenants you suggest as unsuitable. You should now seek to produce another suitable replacement tenant and should refer this person to the landlord/agent.
                  Actually, in a joint AST (as opposed to separate individual ones), I do think it's up to the tenants themselves to find suitable replacements if anyone leaves early, not the agent/LL. (Our student contracts, for example, state each individual must do so, if s/he decides to leave early).
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                    #10
                    But no AST allows T to leave when it suits. Surely it's granted for a fixed term, and L is entitled to expect T to stay for at least that long.
                    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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                      But no AST allows T to leave when it suits. Surely it's granted for a fixed term, and L is entitled to expect T to stay for at least that long.
                      Unless contract/LL allows for a replacement tenant to be found if one of the originals cannot remain there?
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                        Unless contract/LL allows for a replacement tenant to be found if one of the originals cannot remain there?
                        Of course, if that's so- unlikely but conceivable.
                        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


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                          Of course, if that's so- unlikely but conceivable.
                          It seems to be fairly common in student lettings - I've seen it on a few TAs now. I suppose it's less of a headache for the LL if someone in the property fails their exams, falls out big time with housemates, etc. At least it saves LL the hassle of pursuing the 'flitter' for rent etc.

                          Come to think of it, a clause to that effect was also included in the standard AST agreement I downloaded from the internet - and that wasn't specifically for students.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Again, thank you very much for all these answers! I'm not sure that I understood well all what you said, but I already feel better!

                            If we cannot find an agreement about a new tenant, I can leave the country, I'm loosing my £900 deposit and the Landlord can sue only our 4. And then my roommates can sue me? How much will it cost them if I'm in France ? What do I risk if I'm loosing? Any penalties? Court fees? Arrears fees? (There is still $2600 of rent to pay.) If, in few years, I would like to come back in the UK, will I have a problem?

                            There is bills (Phone - Electricity - Council tax...) that I didn't pay in September...I consider that I have to pay for it, but if they keep my deposit, I won't be able (and wish) to pay for it. Bills are not on my name.( And I was not suppose to pay the council tax because I was a student and not them...that's what the council told me.) Can they sue me about it too? It's around £300

                            My cousin cannot be sued because the guaranty is not valid? How can I check it? We don't have any paper...But he never saw the tenancy agreement and obviously didn’t sign it. Is he not at least responsible for me?

                            That was about the plan where I'm loosing only £900....Lets talk about the plan b!

                            I saw that on the tenancy agreement:

                            The Occupier
                            The Premises will be occupied by Mr XXXX, Mr YYYY, Mr ZZZZ, Mr WWW as the Tenant (“the Occupier”). The Occupier will use the Premises for private residential purposes only. The Tenant may allow additional or replacement Occupiers to occupy the Premises upon receipt of written permission from the Landlord or the Agent.


                            Before it's said : 1.2. The expression “the Tenant” includes anyone entitled to possession of the Premises under this Agreement

                            Does it mean that with the agreement of the agent, I can take someone instead of me? Can I sign a sub-contract? Or do I really need the agreement of the others?

                            There is also this part witch seems me interesting:

                            24.1. THE LANDLORD AND TENANT AGREE THAT: if at any time:

                            (a) the Rent, or any part of the Rent remains unpaid for 14 days after coming due, whether formally demanded or not; or
                            (b) if any Agreement or obligation of the Tenant is not complied with; or
                            (c) if the Premises are left vacant or unoccupied for more than 21 days without the Landlord’s consent; or
                            (d) if the Tenant shall become bankrupt, insolvent, go into liquidation or receivership or enter into a voluntary arrangement with its creditors or be made the subject of a winding-up order whether compulsory or voluntary;

                            then the Landlord may re-enter upon the Premises provided he has complied with his statutory obligations and obtained a possession order from the County Court and the court bailiff has evicted the Tenant; thereupon the Tenancy will be determined. This does not prejudice any right that the Landlord may have in respect of the Tenant’s obligations under this Agreement.


                            If I understand well, if my roommates are not paying for me (or someone else), the agent can end the tenancy? And I won't be responsible until February but maximum for the month of October? Do you think the agent will do it ?

                            Thanks,

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Yannick,
                              I think you need to accept that you must find a replacement tenant whose credentials are satisfactory for the landlord/agent. I don't think you need the approval of your co-tenants - from what you say, this wouldn't be forthcoming anyway.
                              You need to pay all the bills due - rent and services up to the time you leave. I dont think you can expect to recover your deposit at this stage, nor can you use it legitimately for payment of rent arrears or service bills. The deposit is to cover damages and other failures in relation to the contract and repayment is only due at the end of the contract ie. February, 2009. The best you can hope for on deposit, is that the person coming in to replace you will pay you the amount of your deposit, in which case, your £900 which is held by the landlord, will become their deposit.
                              Regarding the tenancy agreement, I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. However I am sure that the words on the tenancy agreement will not help you to break the agreement. If you just run away as you seem to be suggesting then you are acting unfairly; the law is definitely against you and you'll be relying on distance to protect you.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X