Landlord charging agency commission after using break clause

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    Landlord charging agency commission after using break clause

    I've just left an AST 12 month tenancy using the 6 month break clause. Landlord agreed and we have moved out. The landlord says that he is going to take the remainder of the agency commission from our deposit. He's quoting this clause:
    7. The Tenant shall pay to the Landlord (or his Agent), all reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the Landlord for the following:
     any re-letting costs or commission incurred by the Landlord if the Tenant vacates the Premises before the end of the Tenancy.

    I believe that this doesn't apply as we haven't vacated the premises, we have ended the tenancy with the break clause. The contract also contains this clause about early termination and the break clause:
    1. Early Termination
    The Tenant may be allowed to surrender the tenancy and vacate the Premises during the Term, apart from under the terms of an agreed break clause included within the Agreement, strictly only with the express written consent of the Landlord (or his Agent). The Landlord (or his Agent) may impose certain conditions for the surrender. The Tenant will remain liable to pay Rent and any other monies payable under this Agreement until the Term expires; or the Premises are re-let whichever is earlier.

    2. Break Clause
     The Landlord (or his Agent) may bring the Tenancy to an end by giving the Tenant at least two month's written notice stating that the Landlord requires possession of the Premises. The Landlord may not serve such a notice within the first four months after the commencement date.
     The Tenant may bring the Tenancy to an end by giving the Landlord (or his Agent) at least two month's written notice. The Tenant may not serve such a notice within the first four months after the commencement date.

    Does he have the right to charge us for his agency fees?

    #2
    This is bovine excrement. Either the landlord accepts the tenancy has ended or he doesn't. The contract between agent and landlord has nothing to do with the AST; that is between you and the landlord, and nothing to do with the agent. The landlord can't have it both ways, and needs to take this up with the agent, but does not involve you at all.

    You can't have conditional terms of surrender under a correctly executed break clause.
    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.

    Comment


      #3
      I would say that clause 7 is meaningless in all cases:

      1. If the landlord agrees to a surrender, the tenancy ends, so you haven't vacated before the end of it.
      2. If you use the break clause, the tenancy ends, so you haven't vacated before the end of it either.
      3. If you just vacate, you indeed have vacated before the end of the tenancy, but then the landlord has no right to re-let.

      The only thing he can do is to impose conditions to accept a surrender, as stated in clause 1. Such conditions might be thise listed in clause 7 or they might not.

      Certainly in the case of you using the break clause, he can't charge you anything.

      Edit:
      I concur with "bovine excrements"

      Comment


        #4
        I agree.

        And in any case, as the tenancy was ended perfectly legally, he should be able to get a pro-rated discount from his agent for the next tenancy. And if he cant that's his problem!

        Lodge a dispute with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. You will win.
        IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your help guys. I will pass on your comments regarding bovine excrement. Am I to understand that the term 'vacate' is equivalent to surrender? That is, to leave before the tenancy ends, and not just leaving the property in general.

          Comment


            #6
            No - vacate still just means to leave.
            And you can vacate leaving the tenancy still running, or you can vacate where it has clearly been surrendered by both sides. Yours is the latter.
            IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

            Comment


              #7
              In my terminoolgy vacate means vacating or annulling tenancy agreement (legal)
              A T may leave, or vacat.e the property before vacating the tenancy
              The OED offers 3 alternative definitions. it would be for a legally qualified person to decide the context, in this case
              A Court order or other legal remedy would clearly vacate the TA on execution

              Comment

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