Rights: Break Clause Fee? Any advice?

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    Rights: Break Clause Fee? Any advice?

    Hi all,

    I'd really appreciate some help on this. I moved into a place two months ago. I was told verbally that a fridge and washing machine would be included. When I moved in, they were gone. Two days later, I was broken into and my laptop was stolen. I'm now keen to move out.

    When I was requesting to be reimbursed for the washing machine/fridge, the agent's told me: "If you wish to give Notice in relation to the property itself and leave the property earlier then we are sure that there will be no issue in this regard."

    They are now telling me that I have to pay a £260 break clause fee to terminate the contract, which I refuse to do so on account of them breaking their verbal contract.

    What are my rights here? I read "there will be no issue in this regard" as being a get-out clause, right?

    Thanks.

    #2
    Originally posted by MaxHeadroom View Post
    Hi all,

    I'd really appreciate some help on this. I moved into a place two months ago. I was told verbally that a fridge and washing machine would be included. When I moved in, they were gone. Two days later, I was broken into and my laptop was stolen. I'm now keen to move out.

    When I was requesting to be reimbursed for the washing machine/fridge, the agent's told me: "If you wish to give Notice in relation to the property itself and leave the property earlier then we are sure that there will be no issue in this regard."

    They are now telling me that I have to pay a £260 break clause fee to terminate the contract, which I refuse to do so on account of them breaking their verbal contract.

    What are my rights here? I read "there will be no issue in this regard" as being a get-out clause, right?

    Thanks.
    Your difficulty will be proving (in court) they said that if they sue you for the unpaid rent/break clause fee.

    What exactly does your tenancy agreement say about the fixed term and any break clause? (I'm assuming you have an AST).

    Actually, there may be a way out of this for you. Has the LL or agent protected your deposit as they are now legally required to do?Have they supplied you with details of the government scheme they've paid it in to, and your ref number for claiming it back?

    Re fridge and washer: it sounds from what they say as if there is no inventory. Is that correct?
    '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
      Here's what 3.27 of the contract says (highlights):

      "In the event that the Tenant shall terminate his Agreement prior to the expiry of the Term, then the tenant shall be liable to a fee of £150.00 plus VAT as the agent fee for releasing the tenant from this agreement together with a further £100.00 for any adverts in respect of re-letting or references payable to Estate Agents and without prejudice to all claims by the Landlord against the tenant at common law..."

      Jeez, don't these people know what a full stop is?!

      Anyway, - I'm contesting the break clause fee only. What are my chances on this?

      The LL did put the deposit in a protected account, yes.

      There is an inventory, but no mention of fridge/washing machine. Verbal contract, albeit misleading or down to human error.

      Comment


        #4
        Your agreement is with the landlord not the agent.

        The agent has no power to release you from a tenancy agreement thus he can't charge you for a service he can't actually provide; that can only be done by you and the landlord agreeing a mutual determination of the tenancy.

        Tell them to sue you for it; they can't deduct it from your deposit without your agreement either.
        My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by oaktree View Post
          Your agreement is with the landlord not the agent.

          The agent has no power to release you from a tenancy agreement thus he can't charge you for a service he can't actually provide; that can only be done by you and the landlord agreeing a mutual determination of the tenancy.

          .
          (1) The term does not necessarily puport to refer to obligations between the T and LA. Whilst the drafting could be much, much better than it is, the term could easily be interpreted as "the T will be liable for the LA fees incurred by the LL in respect of etc"

          or

          (2) Even if the term cannot bear that interpretation, whilst a tenancy agreement is, as you correctly state, between the LL and the T, there is nothing to prevent or prohibit terms within that (or any other) contract that confer a benefit on a third party (ie: the LA); see the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.


          I think the term is prima facie enforceable; doubtless however, the usual suspect will be along at some point soon to declare the term "unfair".
          Health Warning


          I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

          All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

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