Pants on fire? Notice to leave dispute.

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    Pants on fire? Notice to leave dispute.

    Hi Everyone!

    I've been a very recent lurker here and just want to say hi and thanks for all the great advice.

    I'm having a few problems trying to sort out my exact rights on the problems I'm experiencing on handing in my notice. Hoping you guys here can help please?

    I am renting with 3 others on a joint periodic tenancy agreement that completed it's fixed term AST over six months ago. In my opinion we have been model tenants; punctual with the rent, pay all our bills and keep the property in good condition.

    Anyhow, I and one other housemate have decided to buy a flat together and as such, wish to move out of the property. We handed in our written notice to our estate agents with one calendar month's rent-due-date notice and had already told our other housemates sometime before.The estate agents at the time accepted our letter of notice with no quibbles and even signed the extra copy I had for my own records.

    Now however, with only two weeks left to go before our move date and no sign of any replacement tenants for the two rooms we're vacating, the estate agents have come back and said that they have not acknowledged our letter of notice because we're on a joint tenancy and it does not have the signature of the other two tenants. Therefore, they are going to hold us all liable still for the coming month's rent!!

    Also, if one of the others decides to leave as well, they will not be willing to let the remaining tenant sign a new contract with 3 new housemates....something about the landlord losing control of the property if this happens?

    Our other housemates have now decided that should this be the case and if we proceed on leaving, they are going to use our house deposits to cover the rent.

    What I need to know is, are the estate agents within their rights? It doesn't make sense or seem fair that we can be forced to stay interminably until new renters are found. Plus can the other housemates try to use our deposits like this against our will?

    Any advice will be much appreciated.



    IMHO, you don't have much to worry about. You have given your notice to the agents of which you have proof of acknowledgement. Once any joint tenants leave, the tenancy agreement is void and the remaining joint tenants have to re-negociate a new lease with the landlord or agent. As part of this process, the property should be inspected, the original inventory checked, the full deposit returned and shared as appropriate. The remaining tenants with howmsoever is going to join them should then pay a new deposit and sign a new inventory.

    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


      In joint tenancies if one tenant gives notice it determines the tenancy for all tenants so you giving notice means you can leave and the remaining tenants would have to either sign a new contract or leave too.

      Check here for a bit of info


        I did a good load of research on here, thanks Jennifer M and P. Pilcher, as well as looking at relevant reputable government sites and they all say the same thing - that I'm well within my rights!
        However, I went to speak to the estate agents today in person along with my housemates. Let's just say they're not budging on the matter and are going to insist on another month's full rent from us.

        Is the only way forward from here to pay for legal representation? I'd rather avoid it if possible but I will if I have to because I absolutely refuse to be cheated on this matter, especially when I've done everything by the book.



          Did you point the agents to the applicable legislation to demonstrate your rights? Try doing that again before vacating to hopefully avoid problems down the line.

          If you believe through your research that you have given proper notice to end your periodic tenancy, then I do not see any need to employ someone to represent you at this stage.

          What date do you intend to vacate? Continue as though the agents acknowledged your notice; do all the cleaning and straightening to the property; work towards the last day; encourage the agent/landlord in writing to inspect the property, and on the last day take photographs of the spic and span property with that day's newspaper in frame, leave and return the keys to the agents.

          If however you find that your deposit has been unreasonably retained - then either pay for legal representation or take legal action yourself.
          Last edited by Poppy; 25-11-2006, 15:18 PM.


            Kaiser, don't pay anymore than what is due regardless of the agent. If they really believe they're due anything let them take you to court and lose.

            As for the deposit, if the landlord tries to withold it, just go to small claims court via the online filling system. You will have to pay a fee to start with (not hundreds of pounds) but you recover this from the landlord if you win.

            And follow Poppy's advice too.


              Our rent is due on the 11th of every month (or next working day) so we submitted our notice on Saturday the 11th of this month, and are due to leave on the weekend of the 9th Dec.
              We had actually even called the agents before the Saturday to ask their advice on how to give notice properly and explained our situation with the other two housemates originally wanting to stay behind. This is also part of the reason why all four of our names weren't on the notice and it wasn't something the estate agents had a problem with at the time, in fact they said it was completely fine.
              Also, we had to hand our notice in physically by letter because any emails to them had bounced back and I wanted some kind of proof of receipt, which I'm especially glad of now!

              Thanks Poppy and Jennifer.

              I will carry on as planned and will write a letter to the agents pointing out all the relevant parts in the Housing Acts etc and will also send it by special delivery. I think I will also send the landlord a copy of the letter and politely detail in a separate letter what is going on on our end and why....

              We're evidently just having a bad experience with a dodgy agent.


                That one or more joint tenants can give Notice to end a tenancy for all joint tenants is certainly true. The only problem I can see is if your co-tenants who wish to remain, have not agreed a new AST to follow the one you have terminated and furthermore, have not agreed to leave and pay the full rent. I think that the Agent could argue that he should return the deposit only when he has fully vacant and checked accommodation and all the keys in his hand. I'd be interested to hear what others think.


                  As it stands now, I and one other housemate were the ones who handed in the original letter of notice. So we're leaving regardless. The other two tenants said they were happy to stay on and sign a new AST contract with any replacement tenants.

                  However, one of those other housemates has now recently decided that he also wants to leave whilst the remaining housemate definitely wants to stay on and sign a new contract.

                  We are all willing to have the house contract cleaned etc before we leave as per our obligations but the agents have told us that this does not matter. They say we are obliged to pay full rent for December because the letter of notice did not feature everyone's name...."which was ok when only two tenants were leaving and two replacememnts were required, but no longer applies when three are leaving because the extra person leaving is an original tenant". By original tenant, they were referring to the, now leaving, housemate who has been living at the property since it was first ever let out over two years ago. Let's just say they were quite rude and insistent when we met with them yesterday.

                  I don't pretend to understand the logic of this because I'm not sure there is any! Like Poppy and Jennifer have advised, I will go ahead with my plans to move, communicate all the legal backing on my side by letter and invite them to inspect the property when the time comes and take legal action if they try to unfairly retain our deposits.


                    Your Notice will end the current AST in early December. The Agent should then be in a position to check out the condition of the premises and return your deposit accordingly. However, he can only do this, if he has either
                    1. The vacated premises with all keys returned OR
                    2. A new AST is agreed and signed by your colleague (who wants to stay).
                    Your colleague would be responsible for paying the new deposit and first months rent in advance. It is up to him/her to find replacement tenants.
                    I imagine it is the case that your colleague who is staying, is in fact not willing or able to sign a new AST.
                    The Agent will be saying that he requires empty premises before he returns your deposit. If this is the true position I think the Agent will argue that as joint tenants you have a responsibility to persuade your intransigent colleague to either leave or sign the new AST if in fact one is on offer.


                      I would suggest that the easiest way to resolve this is to explain to the final tenant the situation, that he might find himself liable for the entire rent rather than just a quarter. He would be in a much safer position financially if he also arranges to move out on the same day. This way, you will all be able to hand back all the keys, get the inventory checked, and there is no room for doubt that the tenancy has ended.

                      As for the final tenant, when he is looking for another house share he should definitely avoid that particular agent as they seem like a bunch of sharks to me!



                        The remaining housemate who wants to stay on is fully aware of the situation, is not only willing to sign a new contract with new tenants, but also to get the property contract cleaned and although not overjoyed by the move out for two days and move back in if that's what it takes!

                        Basically, although the estate agents accepted our letter of notice before, I personally now believe that they are worried that they won't be able to fill the property before Christmas. They are therefore now behaving quite deceitfully in order to pressure us to stay until after the New Year...which, let's face it, is probably considerably easier to find people to fill the property given the extra time allowed and post-festive season.

                        What. A. Palaver.

                        Sharks indeed.....


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