verbal contract? can LL back out?

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  • verbal contract? can LL back out?

    We recently advertised our property for rent in the Cambridge area. Some people expressed interest and we got them to fill out an application form. We ran credit checks and all seemed ok, we informed the prospects they could move in but they said they only had the deposit in cash not first months rent. After some confusion tenants came to property one evening and gave deposit in cash (we gave receipt) but did not move in and nothing was signed. They promised to get first months rent in cash the next day and we arranged to meet that evening, sign the AST and move the tenants in. However, on the same evening as the first pair gave the deposit, two more prospects viewed and immediately agreed to take the property. These later people seem to be much better, with professional, steady jobs, more business-like attitude etc (first pair of prospects were slow and initially reluctant to fill out application form also somewhat cavalier with fittings in the flat during viewings).

    My question is, can we change our minds at this eleventh hour? We have not signed anything but we have a months deposit in cash and we did arrange a date, the following day!, for them to move in. If we withdraw could the tenants sue us claiming a verbal or parol contract has been established?
    Last edited by john26; 17-09-2006, 18:30 PM.

  • #2
    Yes you can pull out as long as you haven't given them possession of the property (ie keys).

    Give them all their money back.

    It's not a great way to do business and you need to ask yourself if you were prepared to give this first group the property why you don't want to now. They displayed (apparently!) an attitude which I wouldn't tolerate in a prospective tenant and any reluctance of any kind, especially with form filling is a great big no no.

    You may never see the second group again.

    I never like to take people who want to move in the next day, it smacks of desperation, usually because they are being evicted elswhere and it doesn't give you enough time to do all of your checks.

    Proceed with caution.


    • #3
      It certainly looks as though you have made some kind of contract and they could sue, bit it is unlikely they will as the precise nature of the contract has not been written down and it would simply be their word against yours. If you withdraw you are a naughty boy/girl.
      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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