Cancelling contract

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  • Cancelling contract

    Hi everyone, does anyone have any information for me?

    I am in a panic. I have a tenant who was found by a letting agent, he is due to move in on 31st October. I was going to move into lodgings several miles away and start a new job on an agency contract for six months, and this is the period I have agreed to let out my house for.

    My parents are elderly and the situation there has deteriorated and I am now very concerned about moving out of my house and think I may have to stay in my property. The tenant has paid his fee, and I have signed the "tenant find only" form. I feel very uneasy foremost for the tenant, but then what I want to know is where do I stand? Could I change my mind and stay in my house, and what if any penanties would I incur?

    Look forward to any information or advice. Thank you in anticipation.

  • #2
    cancellation of contract

    Strictly speaking all matters remain "subject to contract" until a formal contract is entered into; which is to say to that until the parties have exchanged executed agreements either is, I believe, at liberty to withdraw from the transaction.

    If your prospective tenants paid the seemingly ubiquitous "credit reference" and "tenancy agreement" fee which most of the high street letting agents extract, I would respectfully suggest to you that there is no question, morally, if not legally that these out of pocket expenses incurred by the prospective tenants should be refunded by the agent.

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    • #3
      I agree with quarterday, although be prepared for some flack if T is very unhappy about it. Perhaps it would be an idea to ring the agent first thing Monday and explain the situation. As them if they have any alternative accommodation on their books, similar to yours, which T may be interested in.
      '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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by quarterday View Post
        If your prospective tenants paid the seemingly ubiquitous "credit reference" and "tenancy agreement" fee which most of the high street letting agents extract, I would respectfully suggest to you that there is no question, morally, if not legally that these out of pocket expenses incurred by the prospective tenants should be refunded by the agent.
        Actually, I'd go a bit further. The money should probably be coming out of your pocket. However, that's as far as it's likely to go, assuming you haven't signed a contract. Most tenants are well used to having properties yanked from under them, by two-timing letting agents or uncertain LL's like yourself.

        (In general, this is why I dislike holding deposits. In this situation, the tenant would get the deposit back, but it would have given him no assurance of getting the property.)

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        • #5
          In fact, your agent may also be a bit hacked off at having their commission snatched away after they have worked so hard to find you the tenant/waited patiently in their office all that time waiting for a tenant to walk through the door - I expect they may have something in their agent's contract with you about LLs backing out (they generally do).

          If it starts to look tricky from a legal standpoint, another option (inconvenient as it will be for you) would be to move out as planned, let to T but use his rent to rent somewhere else yourself in the area.

          Good luck - I hope it works out.
          '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

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          • #6
            Could you live with Mum & Dad for the duration? That way you'd be able to keep your eye on them and have accommodation for negligible cost.

            Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
            If it starts to look tricky from a legal standpoint, another option (inconvenient as it will be for you) would be to move out as planned, let to T but use his rent to rent somewhere else yourself in the area.
            Remember you are likely to have to pay tax on Ts rent. You need to sit down with a calculator and work out which option will cost you least - going ahead and renting alternative accommodation for yourself, or paying out now to T and LA.

            Remember, a 6 month AST rarely lasts only 6 months, you have to allow for the fact you may have a 2 month eviction process on the end of that.

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            • #7
              The proper answer to this depends on what stage the agreement reached.

              If the tenant has signed the agreement, and the agent has signed it as well - then there is a contract between you and the tenant via your agent. If that is the case, then you will be in breach of contract and the tenant can expect to receive compensation for the breach of contract, mainly, but not necessarily limited to money for storage of his furniture if he has to move out having given notice to his landlord, costs of finding alternative accommodation and potentially loss of amenity if he has to take a lesser standard of property. He might concievably have to move into a hotel for a while and would if the above assumptions are right, be successful in collecting this off you in legal proceedings.

              In this case there is no tenancy since the tenant has not moved in there is no specific performance, so its not unlawful eviction. However, in addition all monies paid by the tenant would have to be refunded.

              Expect the tenant, at the worst, to get free legal aid to sue you. At the best, he might go away with his money refunded and take it as par for the course. A gamble you and only you can decide upon.

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              • #8
                As most have said, the practical step is to call the agent asap to ensure that they haven't yet signed the tenancy agreement - I assume they haven't otherwise they would have told you by now. Let them know of your situation so that they can advise the tenants accordingly so that the tenants can look for alternative property. They will all be extremely hacked off with you, but check the terms of your agreement with the agency to see what exactly you are liable for. P.S. - I would resist the agent trying to automatically pass on the tenant's credit reference fees to you - if the tenant finds another property through them, some of these fees would be incurred anyway so noone has lost, but again you may have already agreed to do this under the contract between you and the agent.

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