Non-AST let; can T terminate early or assign?

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    Non-AST let; can T terminate early or assign?

    I hope someone can shed some light on this for me... We have a 2 year ASTA - which we want to end early in Oct. We've told our landlord (in writing) who has agreed in principle to us ending the agreement early, but wont allow us to end our contract until Feb (that's only two months before it's due to end anyway). Whilst trying to find out what our options are now I've learnt that as we pay more than £25k we shouldn't really have an ASTA - is the ASTA still valid and legally binding?

    #2
    As the rate of rent > £25 000, the letting is not an AST. However, the Letting Agreement is nevertheless valid as a non-statutory contract governed by common-law contractual rules only (+ the Protection from Eviction Act 1977). Yes, you're bound until the fixed term expires.
    For why, see post #5 on http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...822#post223822.
    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).

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      #3
      Thanks Jeffrey... not really what I wanted to hear, but that's the law I guess. We will have to find another way out... anyone want a house in SW4?

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        #4
        Can a tenancy agreement be transferred?

        Is it possible to transfer a tenancy agreement and what needs to be done to ensure its done properly/ legally?

        We would like to surrender our tenancy 18 months into a 2 year contract and thought that by finding someone to transfer the tenancy to for the remaining six months will help our landlord out and facilitate our leaving.

        Any advice would be much appreciated.

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          #5
          Do you mean you want to leave and get someone else to take up the remainder of your contract?

          This would be an assignment of tenancy.

          You would need to complete a deed of assignment which requires the consent of all the parties (you, the incoming tenant and the landlord)
          "Screw you guys, I'm going home" - Eric Cartman

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            #6
            Thanks.

            Landlord is being funny about us surrendering our contract so trying to look at other options which could work for us both.

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              #7
              You can do this, but the landlord has to agree. A template for the deed of assignment has previously been posted by one of our users: http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...66&postcount=4

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                #8
                Just for the record, an assignment made without consent where required still operates to transfer the tenancy to the assignee. The position is that an assignment made in breach of covenant renders the tenancy liable to forfeiture. The breach is a "one off" and that means that if the landlord has notice of the breach and then demands or accepts rent he waives the breach. A landlord faced with an unauthorised assignment therefore has a choice: forfeit and put an end to the tenancy or accept the assignment and maintain the tenancy.

                No sensible assignee aware of the law will accept an assignment that has not been authorised by the landlord as his position is precarious.

                It should also be noted that when an unauthorised assignment is made the original tenant continues to be liable to pay the rent and observe the terms of the tenancy.

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                  #9
                  Who's being unreasonable?

                  We would like to surrender our tenancy early largely due to the unsuitability of the house itself, we have a young baby and it's over four floors. I have developed back problems since the birth of our daughter a few months ago which means that on occasion I lose all feeling in one leg and the ability to walk! In a flat that would be bad enough, but with four floors its a nightmare, not to mention painful at times.

                  We have asked to leave 18 months into a two year contract, we have offered to find a new tenant, to cover the costs of advertising etc and even to help prepare the house before we leave. Meaning that there will be very little effort or financial outlay for the LL.

                  The house will rent in the click of a finger, its in a desirable part of south London where there's a shortage of properties and demand is pushing rents up in the area. Every week there's another letter from agents in the area seeking properties (ours is a private agreement, no agent, we do have a S.T.A.)

                  Now, I know the landlord doesn't have to accept our proposal but she is claiming that our request is unreasonable and that "a six month reduction is huge by any standard"... is it, really? I mean fair enough on a 1 year contract but on a two year contract! We want to go at the end of September - she says we can go one month early. Am I being the unreasonable one?

                  I don't know what else to do now... other than maybe to default on the rent. Which really isn't the way I wanted things to end.

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                    #10
                    Being 'reasonable' doesn't really come into it I'm afraid.

                    Maybe you can point out to the landlord that if you stay to the end of the tenancy, she will have to find a new tenant in Spring 2011, whereas if she lets you find one now, she won't face that hassles, and potential rent void until Autumn 2012. Also, as you have identified, a new tenant now gives the opportunity for an early rent increase, therefore increased revenue for her.

                    Also, read up on 'quiet enjoyment' and use what you learn to remind the landlord that at the end of the tenancy you do not have to allow 'viewings' or access for agents etc - obviously, if she allows you to find tenants, that won't be an issue.

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                      #11
                      If you get a good quality T, who prepared to pay the same rent or higher and you are prepared to pay for adverts and allow viewing, I can't see an issue, but it may not be on your timescale, as it be silly for the LL to release you from you obligations until a replacement T is found. Which could be till the end of your fixed term anyway.
                      The easist way is to hand in your notice for the end of the fixed term, and mention that due to your baby and health, that you will only viewing on a particual day of the week and time within the last month of the Tenancy, unless you come to another arrangement.
                      He will do the maths, and work out there may be a gap, unless he changes his mind. If he does, make viewing alot more easier, to find a replacement T.
                      Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

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                        #12
                        Thanks, perhaps I'll go back again and point these things out. I had intimated them but perhaps I need to bullet point it all or something and make it really obvious.

                        We will have no problem finding someone, I'm confident if I put an add up now it would be gone by the end of the weekend and probably at £100+ pw more than we pay. Perhaps I should suggest doing it the other way round, we find a new T who's willing to take it and then ask her again, with a T lined up. We are willing to do all the work and cover all the costs, I just don't see what more we can offer to make it easier. She wont be out of pocket, if anything she'll be better off.

                        I really don't want to stay until the end of the tenancy and I certainly don't want to move in Feb as she's proposing.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Marienj View Post
                          Thanks, perhaps I'll go back again and point these things out. I had intimated them but perhaps I need to bullet point it all or something and make it really obvious.

                          We will have no problem finding someone, I'm confident if I put an add up now it would be gone by the end of the weekend and probably at £100+ pw more than we pay. Perhaps I should suggest doing it the other way round, we find a new T who's willing to take it and then ask her again, with a T lined up. We are willing to do all the work and cover all the costs, I just don't see what more we can offer to make it easier. She wont be out of pocket, if anything she'll be better off.

                          I really don't want to stay until the end of the tenancy and I certainly don't want to move in Feb as she's proposing.
                          But you still seem to be missing the point. She doesn't have to take you up on your offer even though you claim to be 'making it easy for her'. For most LLs, 'making it easy' would mean the tenant staying until the end of the tenancy that they agreed to and paying the rent on time. It's a hassle changing tenants and if you have signed up for 2 years then the LL can reasonably expect you to stay for 2 years or more.

                          No harm in asking of course, but I do detect a slight attitude problem which may not help your case.

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                            #14
                            Three threads by the same member have been merged here. Please do not start a new thread if you merely wish to continue a previous discussion or report on subsequent developments. It can cause unnecessary confusion (quite apart from losing the connection with facts previously established or legal points previously explained).

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                              #15
                              Apologies...

                              Sorry, I'm new to forum posting and thought each new question should be a new thread.

                              I don't think I have an attitude, but I am frustrated. Trying to work out the inns and outs of what I can and cant do within the confines of my contract. It implies that I can end the agreement early... and that I could transfer the tenancy...

                              B9 "...if you give us notice that you are going to leave the property before this agreement has ended, you must pay our reasonable costs for reletting the property as well as paying the rent until a new tenant moves in."

                              C9 "...transfer the tenancy to someone else without our permission, in writing (which we will not unreasonably withhold).

                              we're offering to meet all of these terms... terms that are in an AST when we pay more than £25,000 in rent, so it can't be an AST. It's all very confusing.

                              Friends who are LL don't think we're being unreasonable, or that given our proposal to find a new T at our cost that it will cause the LL any hassle but then I thought perhaps that might be because they knew how much anguish this is causing and were just being nice. So I was seeking some clarification and independent reassurance before I committed to solicitors fees.

                              I've now written to the LL once more and have taken legal advice. I wont post any more Q's, but once this is resolved I will add a follow up post.

                              Thanks to all who have left helpful comments, its appreciated.

                              Comment

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