Landlord accepts early termination of lease, then retracts

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    Landlord accepts early termination of lease, then retracts

    Dear All
    I'm creating this post to ask you some advices because I couldn't find a similar story in the already published post.

    Short story is:

    - We renewed our Assured short hold tenancy agreement in July 2013 believing it was for six month (as told by our letting agent), but discovered later he was lying and that the renewal was for 12 month.

    - In September 2013 we sent a notice by paper mail to our landlord saying we wanted to leave the flat early December.

    - Landlord replied by email saying we had to keep the flat tidy for visits. He also immediatly advertised the flat on various websites.

    - We then requested upon him a date for the final departure inspection and a statement of our reliability as tenants as we were looking for new flats.

    - The mail he sent back to us states that
    My partner and me always paid our rent on time,
    that our final rent payment was due early november
    and that the final departure inspection was due early december.

    Then comes the problem

    - 5 weeks after our notice was sent, our landlord sent us an email, saying that he was just told that our contract had no break clause (we discovered it at this time as well) and asking us to pay the rent until he finds new tenants, 7% of a a commission agent fee and finally asking us to reimburse him all the cost relating to the readvertising of the flat.

    Question is the following:

    Does the statement sent by email by our landlord - including a date for our final rent payment - can be considered as an agreement of surrender? (implied, verbal or by operation of the law ?) making us non liable for any further payment after paying the last due rent.

    or can the landlord just change is mind lately, obliging us to pay the rent until he replaces us and to reimburse the agent and advertising fees?

    We already arranged our moving and new tenancy agreement, before our landlord changed his mind and are in a quite uncomfortable situation right now
    Many thanks in advance for your help
    which would be veryyyy much appreciated

    #2
    I'm not sure about this but if a landlord accepts notice from a tenant then that is set in stone and the tenant cannot change his mind without penalty, so I suspect that since the landlord did accept your notice you are entitled to take him at his (original) word.

    Sauce for the Goose etc.
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

    Comment


      #3
      I think because you have it in writing you are covered. I wouldn't worry about it, just make sure you help your landlord by keeping the place clean and tidy so that he can re-let asap.

      Comment


        #4
        T cannot give Notice to vacate T during fixed term, only offer to surrenderT early.
        What you have in writing from LL are his terms for accepting your surrender, min basic IMO
        You either accept the terms or continue with T until April or do a 'moonlight'
        Another example of not reading the AST before signing. If a 6 month break clause had been included, then LL would have to let you go at break point.

        Nothing to stop you appealing to L.

        Comment


          #5
          This could go either way in a court. The first thing is that although a written contract may seem pretty conclusive, a court is going to look at what the parties 'intended' to be agreeing, so any emails from the agent suggesting it was 6 months, may help OPs claim.

          As has been said, you can't give your notice in a fixed term, all you can do is offer to surrender - but would a court consider the landlords email to be an acceptance of your surrender? I am not convinced, the lack of specific dates is particularly worrying.

          Comment


            #6
            Dear all, thanks a lot for your useful comments.

            I think I should mention some extra details to clarify some points raised par some of you

            To Mariner: We agree that we didn't read the contract carefully enough. Our mistake was to trust the letting agent which made us sign and was saying we had this 6 month break clause. Of course when asked about that, the letting agent could not remember saying that. Because we knew there was a chance for us that we had to move in 6 month for professional reason, we paid extra attention to this fact and both my partner and me remember clearly him saying that there was such a clause when we asked about it

            To Snorkerz: We have specific dates. I did not mentioned them here to make it simple but we have a day specified for last rent due and final inspection in the mail sent by the LL.
            Fact that we sent a mail saying that we "wanted to leave the flat" rather than using the specific "Surrender" term was due to the fact that we believed at this time that we could leave after 6 month.
            Regardless of the wording, it seemed to us that "Leaving the flat" was clear enough for the landlord to understand what were our intention and the consequences of it when he agreed that we can do so.

            Hope it helps getting a more accurate picture of the situation

            Comment


              #7
              I really can't see this going as far as court. As Snorkerz has already said, the court will look at what was intended in the emails. The landlord gave you dates and now he is looking to back track a bit as he hasn't got a new let yet.

              Just stick to your plans, he offered dates, you accepted dates. End of story.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by fleb View Post
                Does the statement sent by email by our landlord - including a date for our final rent payment - can be considered as an agreement of surrender? (implied, verbal or by operation of the law ?) making us non liable for any further payment after paying the last due rent.
                There is a difference between an agreement to surrender and an actual surrender. A series of actions by both parties may lead to an implied surrender or a surrender by operation of law, but the same does not apply to an agreement for surrender which must comply with the strict requirements of section 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. The exchange of emails here does not comply. Accordingly, there is neither a surrender nor an agreement for surrender.

                What about the landlord apparently accepting the notice? If it were an invalid notice to quit you would be in the clear because the landlord indicated his acceptance and you relied on the acceptance and changed your position by agreeing a new tenancy elsewhere. I suspect the position would be the same if you had served an invalid notice exercising a right to break, but the point here is not so much that you served an invalid notice, but that you served a notice you had no right to serve. I think all we can say is that the notice amounts to an offer to surrender which the landlord accepted but which does not give rise to a binding contract - see preceding paragraph. If you had moved out and the landlord had taken the property back it would be different.

                That leaves us with the point that a right to break was agreed, but not incorporated in the written agreement. If evidence is available to show that the right was agreed, you are entitled to have the agreement rectified. The question is though, if you are entitled to rectification, can you anticipate the rectification by serving notice? Not sure I know the answer to that. A further question is, a right to break having been agreed but not incorporated, if both parties believe the tenant has a right to break and the tenant serves notice does the notice operate to bring the tenancy to an end irrespective of whether the landlord indicates acceptance? And what is the position if both parties believe there is a right to break even if not previously agreed? Not sure I know the answer to those questions either.

                Given that:

                1. You were led to believe you had either a six month tenancy or a twelve month tenancy with a right to break

                2. The landlord apparently believed the same.

                3. You served notice to bring the tenancy to an end

                4. The landlord indicated acceptance of the notice

                5. You relied on the acceptance and altered your position by agreeing a new tenancy

                it ought to be the case that the tenancy ends on expiry of the notice. The problem, at least as I see it, is that there do not seem to be any legal arguments to support your case.

                Comment

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