Resident L and excluded tenant- can the latter terminate?

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    Resident L and excluded tenant- can the latter terminate?

    Hi everyone,

    I hope this isn't an inappropriate use of your forum, but am desperate for some guidance and can't get through to Shelter.

    To give you the background, I am currently sharing with a live-in landlady who gave me appropriate notice on my lease. Since this is in no way a sour parting, she simply wants to try and get a Mon-Fri let only, she also agreed to let me stay on until after my exams (I study part-time, work full-time). I found the possibility of finding myself homeless after my exams very stressful so have already managed to find a new home. I signed a 6-month lease with my new, also live-in, land-lady towards the end of April, due to start on the 13th of June.

    However, in the last week, I have literally stumbled across an opportunity to join a shared ownership scheme. I cannot explain what an opportunity this is for me to finally, finally get some stability and stop having to share with other poople. I should have a mortgage in principle by the end of tomorrow. The completion deadline is set to the 9th of July and I cannot sublet.

    Basically, I am going to approach my new landlady about either letting me out of the lease entirely (so I don't move in at all) or letting me out 5 (!!!) months early. I expect she is going to be livid. I would be. I am intending to offer to her that I find a suitable replacement tenant and there is no question of me even asking for the deposit back. What I am really worried about is if she doesn't agree to let me out of the lease.

    Basically, she's created the lease herself from an AST document, and it actually says its an AST lease. There is no clause about either party being able to end the tenancy with 30 days notice, as my previous lease has. I've also noticed that it doesn't include the fact that we agreed that the rent would be inclusive of all bills. Not that I think that's relevant, but I thoughtI'd mention it just in case. Will serve me right for accepting a glass of wine when I went over to sign the lease! I want to handle this as sensitively and agreeably as possible and feel awful backing out on a contract, but I also want to be certain of my rights and obligations so that I don't let my guilt and fear lead me to agreeing to anything I'm not actually obligated to do/pay. Are there things I should do/say when I approach her that I should say that could work in my favour should she take me to small claims?

    Can anyone advise?


    The fact that the agreement says its an AST probably won't invalidate it as a contract - agreements are often called the wrong thing, but that doesn't usually make them ineffective.

    Unless the agreement was effected by deed, then the tenancy doesn't start unless or until you take up occupation. But you do have a contract which the landlady can apply to the courts to enforce - either an order for specific performance (ordering you to take up the tenancy - unlikely in the circumstances) or an order for damages. With regard to the latter, the court will look at her actual losses. So, for example, if she has relet the property in the meantime, her losses will clearly be less than they would otherwise have been. It will also take into account the wider circumstances, including whether she has done anything wrong - although from what you have said so far, this doesn't seem to be relevant in your case.

    Another angle to bear in mind in the timing of the shared ownership property. If it is being sold by a housing association (which is usual for shared ownership properties, at least on first sale) they may be willing to give you a little longer to complete. Indeed, many associations are having difficult shifting their "for sale" stock, so it is at least worth asking if this would be of interest.

    Good luck



      Thanks so much for your input. It was really helpful. I've decided, based on that, to back out of the shared ownership deal if she's not agreeable and honour the contract. I just can't take the chance of having a CCJ on my record. It would be awful, and I'd be devastated, but at least I'd still have a good credit rating and be able to buy into something else in the future.


        if you pay the CCJ before it is 28 days old then it can be removed from your credit rating
        PAUL GIBBS, solicitor, Jacobs & Reeves. My comments on this forum are correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. No responsibility or liability is accepted by reason of reliance upon such comments. This disclaimer would not apply to direct clients of Jacobs & Reeves where there is a valid retainer in place and I would be happy to confirm any advice if formally instructed. . Jacobs & Reeves now offer a fixed fee possession service.


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