new tenant has collected keys & cancels

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  • new tenant has collected keys & cancels

    Hi All,

    I have a tenant who signed a 12month agreement in August and was supposed to collect the keys on the 1st september at the start of the tenancy. Keys are kept with the concierge of the building and they had instructions to release the keys to him on the 1st.he failed to collect keys or pay the first months rent and was not contactable for 2 weeks. He then got in touch stating he was in hospital & could not call me. He agreed to pay the rent and I agreed not to charge him any interest on overdue rent if he proved he was in he transferred the rent into my account. His story just didn't seem believable in the slightest.

    He hadn't returned the inventory to me and we arranged to meet and get the inventory. He didn't turn up and then informed me he wanted to cancel the rent as his mum needed some care and he had to go back and take care of her.

    I have subsequently asked him for a letter stating he wants to cancel the contract but he refuses as he says he wants all his money first then he will provide the letter. He says he didn't physically move in so he shouldn't have to pay the rent.

    he has just wasted my time as I could have found another tenant and I think I have been very fair in releasing him from the contract. the only money I want to retain is 1 months rent as I have to find another tenant.

    He has now threatened that he will go back to the flat and destroy it unless I pay him all his money. I have contacted the police but they are unable to do anything until he actually goes in does any damage. So I basically have to wait for him to damage the place.

    I'm not sure where i stand legally. I'm not sure what i should do at all. Am I being fair by keeping a months rent while i find a new tenant? I might not find a tenant by the 1st but all I am charging him is the one moths rent.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks on advance.

  • #2
    I suppose you took a deposit before handing the keys over?

    Perhaps you can ask him to request the refund of his rent (and any deposit) in writing, stating the reasons why. That should give you some legal standing to prove he is no longer a tenant and possibly change the locks.

    In any case the keys should be returned before he can get any deposit or money back.

    Threatening to extort money is a criminal offence - I would have thought.

    Good luck


    • #3
      This is a difficult one as you could have just cancelled the arrangement as until your tenant paid any rent you didn't have a tenancy.

      So on 1 September you should have walked away and looked for another tenant, as the one you have would have been in breach.

      Trouble is you now have accepted rent so in effect you have probably created another parol (oral) monthly periodic tenancy from the date you accepted rent and gave him the keys.

      You are entitled to retain, or have the tenant pay rent until another tenant is in situ but must return any overpaid amount thereafter. You can't "penalise" your tenant in anyway, just mitigate your loss.
      The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


      • #4
        thanks for the responses.

        A member of his family called me and I explained and the situation. He is now willing to give me the letter. They want me to draft the letter for them and I 'm not sure if there is a standard letter or do I just do write out a letter requesting the cancellation and return of deposit?



        • #5
          Remember the letter is supposed to be from the tenant, even though you may draft it. All it needs to say that they want to cancel the contract and not proceed for the tenancy, possibly giving a valid reason, and request for the return of monies paid.

          You on the other hand, have the wright to charge for the loss you've incurred and cost of reletting etc. Personally I feel you cannot just keep one-months rent - because by doing so you are giving them tennancy rights, you can however deduct from the deposit your costs - which may or may not be higher than one months rent. I wouldn't make a blanket deduction of 1 months rent for that reason - only the forfiet of deposit as a maximum but preferabble only a portion of the deposit - because that is one of the things the deposit is for.

          Good luck


          • #6
            Thanks sober!

            It's been over 3 weeks now and I still don't have a tenant which is why i thought I would deduct for the 3 weeks and keep the holding deposit. which makes up exactly a months rent. I think it is more than fair as the tenant requested some new furniture and now he isn't moving in! So i have wasted that money on stuff that someone else would probably not even bother about.



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