Can tenants leave early- landlord has failed to deliver?

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    Can tenants leave early- landlord has failed to deliver?

    Can anyone help me with this? Housemates and I are renting a place which has been broken into twice in 3 months.

    First time, landlord didn't fix the door for a month!

    Then the second time, we couldn't even get on the landlord couse he was out of the country and no numbers worked. Eventually he emailed and didn't even mention paying us back the £150 we forked out to have the smashed window repaired. We have asked for bars to be put on the window, and three weeks later, still no news about this or the money owed.

    We would like to leave early but the letting agent says we need to give 2 months notice according to our contract. I did read somewhere however that there is a harassment clause against landlords that includes repeated burglaries (and lack of repairs). Can anyone shed some light?

    #2
    The simple answer is, no you cannot end the tenancy as such early. However, there are still several options available to you, I shall attempt to detail them below(in order I would do them):

    - Check your AST for a break clause. It is quite possible that in such a long term contract there may well be such a clause, allowing you to give notice during the tenancy. However, this is still unlikely, but definitely worth checking.

    - Negotiate with the landlord. A landlord may be quite receptive to you just sitting, talking to him, and telling him that you would like to leave if possible. They may also be receptive to a financial settlement to break the contract, a couple of months rent may be amenable.

    - Give notice and leave. In this situation, you are responsible for the rent still, however the landlord must make every reasonable attempt to find a new tenant, and realistically finding a new tenant should not take any longer than 2 to 3 months - of course depending on the property and the area. I do not think that the notice period would matter, as you are more giving him notice to look for new tenants than giving notice that you are breaking the tenancy and stopping rent payments. But I wait to be corrected on this. However, it is obviously advisable to give as much notice as possible.

    - Assignment. As long as it is not prohibited in your AST, you have the right to assign your tenancy to someone else. This means that you can find someone else to take over the tenancy from you, and this cannot reasonably be refused. However, I think they have to pass the same credit checks etc as you did.

    - Sublet. Again, as long as it is not prohibited in your AST(most do prohibit it) you can sublet the property to someone else. NB: it is an unfair term to prohibit both assigment and subletting, so if both are, then you can basically choose either, as the terms are null and void.

    - Remember that you are only responsible for the rent until a new tenant is installed, and the landlord must make every reasonable effort to mitigate his losses i.e. find a new tenant.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by mandamai
      We would like to leave early but the letting agent says we need to give 2 months notice according to our contract. I did read somewhere however that there is a harassment clause against landlords that includes repeated burglaries (and lack of repairs). Can anyone shed some light?


      Are you in a fixed term and the agent says you leave by giving 2 months notice thats probably a fair deal.

      If you are in a statutory periodic term then you probably have to give 1 months notice* (it wont matter what your contract says).


      *(if you pay your rent monthly)

      Comment


        #4
        Insurance

        Ask for the landlords insurance details. Most landlords are responsible for the fabric of the building and have that insured. I would have also thought that if the landlord failed to fix a door in a reasonable time that you could have knocked the repair cost off your rent payments on production of receipts. In all probability your landlord is not fully aware of your situation. Get some advice from citizens advice/local council and work from there. Nige

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for all your advice...will see what we can do!

          Comment


            #6
            Searching for a thread where another poster was living in a property that was being constantly vandalised and life was intolerable for the tenant. Can't seem to find the correct key words! There was an authorative response that failure of the landlord to take effective action to minimise problem resulted in a breach of contract - a legal term was used.

            Wonder if it may be relevant to this case.
            Vic - wicked landlord
            Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
            Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MrShed
              - Check your AST for a break clause. It is quite possible that in such a long term contract there may well be such a clause, allowing you to give notice during the tenancy. However, this is still unlikely, but definitely worth checking.

              - Negotiate with the landlord. A landlord may be quite receptive to you just sitting, talking to him, and telling him that you would like to leave if possible. They may also be receptive to a financial settlement to break the contract, a couple of months rent may be amenable.

              - Give notice and leave. In this situation, you are responsible for the rent still, however the landlord must make every reasonable attempt to find a new tenant, and realistically finding a new tenant should not take any longer than 2 to 3 months - of course depending on the property and the area. I do not think that the notice period would matter, as you are more giving him notice to look for new tenants than giving notice that you are breaking the tenancy and stopping rent payments. But I wait to be corrected on this. However, it is obviously advisable to give as much notice as possible.

              - Assignment. As long as it is not prohibited in your AST, you have the right to assign your tenancy to someone else. This means that you can find someone else to take over the tenancy from you, and this cannot reasonably be refused. However, I think they have to pass the same credit checks etc as you did.

              - Sublet. Again, as long as it is not prohibited in your AST(most do prohibit it) you can sublet the property to someone else. NB: it is an unfair term to prohibit both assigment and subletting, so if both are, then you can basically choose either, as the terms are null and void.

              - Remember that you are only responsible for the rent until a new tenant is installed, and the landlord must make every reasonable effort to mitigate his losses i.e. find a new tenant.
              I am in a similar situation as the first poster, ie I need to break my tenancy agreement 4 months early. There is no break clause, but the letting agent has agreed to our assigning the tenancy to someone else.

              I gave notice 5 weeks ago and the letting agent has yet to send anyone round to view the property. I advertised the property myself two weeks ago and have had several enquiries and four viewings. Sadly none has come to fruition and I am getting a little jittery as I am moving into a new property in June and would like to avoid paying double rent.

              I sought advice from the CAB who said I should put the history of this matter into writing and inform the letting agent that I shall continue to pay rent on a month by month basis, paying only if I am satisfied that he has made reasonable endeavours to re-let and that he should send me evidence of such endeavours. I put this to him in a phone call just now and he said it's not his policy to prove he is marketing properties and that the alternative is to see out the term, ie, like it or lump it. He has now given me the details of the agency he is advertising through which I shall follow up tomorrow.

              Did the CAB advise me correctly: should he have to prove he is making all reasonable endeavours? I need the letting agent's reference for a new property, so I don't want to get into his bad books!

              Comment


                #8
                My thoughts:

                - I personally have bad experience with the CAB, they never seem to give correct information. This is not a criticism of them as such, they just have a massive range to cover, housing is only a tiny part, and none of them are "professionals".

                - I am unsure that you could withhold the rent in this situation. Whilst he does have to attempt to mitigate his losses, only a court can decide whether he has made "every reasonable attempt" to do so, as it is subjective. You withholding the rent based on your opinion of it is unlikely to stand up in court, unless of course the court agrees with your judgement

                - Even if this were the case, I am again unsure that the agent HAS to provide you with such details. I doubt it.

                There is nothing wrong with the advice in this case, but you have basically tried it and they have said no. As I say, I personally wouldn't recommend withholding the rent. Have you tried some of the other solutions I have put above?
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                Comment

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