Can tenant change mind after giving notice?

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  • Can tenant change mind after giving notice?

    My tenant gave me her 1-months' written notice to quit and is due to leave in 3 days' time. But last night she told me her circumstances had changed and she asked me if she could to stay on. I was delighted to agree, as she's an excellent tenant and I have no other tenant lined up for the property; but I was just wondering out of curiosity whether I would have any option in letting her stay.

    If I had already signed an AST with a new tenant, and the old one refused to move out after giving notice, then presumably I'd be in breach of contract with the new one through no fault of my own, and at risk of being sued? Would I then have to counter-sue the old tenant?

  • #2
    As far as I know in that situation you wouldn't have a contract with the new tenant as an AST is only effective on possession (once they've been given the keys).
    You would of course have to give the new tenant any money they've paid back but that's about it.

    And expert will correct me if I'm wrong.


    • #3
      You would still be in breach of contract with the new tenant. People often make the mistake of believing that because a contract has not been fulfilled (fulfilment is the bit where the contract has been offered, accepted, and performed - the performance in this instance being by the moving in of the tenant) there is no liability - there is!

      Suppose I offer you 1000 "Widgets" at £1 each to be delivered by 1st January next year. I fail to supply those widgets and there is no clause in the contract to supply allowing me to cancel the order. You then have to look for those widgets elsewhere and they cost you £1.50 per widget - you could sue me in breach of contract for the extra cost of 50p per widget. The original contract was never fulfilled, performed, or whatever word you want to use - the contract was breached however.

      Now a wise landlord would put in a contract "subject to the removal of the existing tenant" if the agreement was signed before the existing tenant moved out, or would not sign a new agreement until he/she had vacant possession. If the existing tenant failed to move out, then under this instance there would be no liability to the new tenant.

      Hope this explains it a little more clearly.


      • #4
        Yes my mistake, Paul F did mention that there should be "subject to contract" to protect the landlord.


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