When does a tenancy become legally binding?

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    #16
    If you hit problems you can 'phone Shelter, the housing charity, on their **free** helpline 0808 800 4444
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      #17
      IMHO, the tenancy hasn't started as the start date hasn't come round yet and no-one has moved into the property. If there is no tenancy, no rent is due. If it doesn't start, no rent is due.
      However you also have a contract (verbal, email, chalked on pavement, whatever) with the agent who may have taken holding deposit (different to tenancy deposit), reference fees, etc. This still stands and you should pay that without unreasonable dispute. After all, the agent has carried out some work to make the appropriate arrangements for you (and the Landlord).
      If you have paid any tenancy deposit and rent up front, this should be returned immediately as it is unrelated to the current situation and isn't required for a tenancy that will never begin.
      p.s. don't expect to win any friends with this one. The LL and agent have a right to be miffed, but you also have a right to deal with your personal life as long as it's not to the demonstrable detriment to others.
      I may be a housing professional but my views, thoughts, opinions, advice, criticisms or otherwise on this board are mine and are not representative of my company, colleagues, managers. I am here as an independent human being who simply wants to learn new stuff, share ideas and interact with like minded people.

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        #18
        Legal clarity and common sense from Darth.

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          #19
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          If you never enter the property, you will never create a tenancy, so it will be the same contractual issues before and after it starts.
          I believe this is pretty wrong. A lease gives a right to exclusive possession for a fixed period of time. Whether the tenant actually enters the property or not (i.e. uses his right) is pretty irrelevant; as long as he has the right to exclusive possession from the tenancy start date, a tenancy will have been created that day.

          Originally posted by jpkeates
          If the contract isn't a deed, it does not become a tenancy until you move in.
          I believe this is even more wrong. You probably refer to s.54(1) LPA 1925. However again there only needs to be a right to exclusive possession, so whether the tenant actually enters the property or not is not relevant, as long as he has such a right to exclusive possession.

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            #20
            I see where you're coming from;
            However if the prospective tenant forgoes that right of exclusive possession - tells the landlord that they have no intention of creating a tenancy / exercising that right, and them makes that manifest by their behaviour (not entering the premises and living somewhere else)
            the tenancy doesn't arise.

            In this case the tenancy has not begun (we agree on that I think), the person who would be the tenant has no wish to create a tenancy (or pay rent etc).
            There is a contract that is binding, but the tenancy doesn't start.

            If the tenancy does begin automatically as you suggest, and the tenant then declines to cooperate or simply vanishes, the Landlord would have to evict the absent tenant to regain possession in order to allow any new tenant to exercise their own exclusive right to the property, which makes no sense.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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              #21
              Originally posted by mattl View Post
              I believe this is pretty wrong. A lease gives a right to exclusive possession for a fixed period of time. Whether the tenant actually enters the property or not (i.e. uses his right) is pretty irrelevant; as long as he has the right to exclusive possession from the tenancy start date, a tenancy will have been created that day.
              In my situation, I have not entered the property and the tenancy start date is only in October. So from everything that has been said so far, I gather that until October there is no tenancy and I have the right to give up the contract? And covering admin costs/referencing/etc. Am I right in thinking that?

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                #22
                There is no tenancy until you move in line with your contract. But there is a contract.

                Re. that contract: Both you & landlord are tied by it **. Unless it says you have a right to give it up then I fear you must negotiate with landlord to be allowed to break it at whatever terms you & LL agree..

                ** Think of it the other way round: If you wanted to move in in October but landlord said "Nah, changed my mind..." you would likely feel more than upset & inconvenienced...

                Cheers!
                I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                  #23
                  theartfullodger,

                  There is a big difference between feeling inconvenienced and upset and making someone pay rent for a property they do not live in. I recognize that this is not an ideal situation, but to cause as little inconvenience to the landlord as possible I have notified the agency over 2 months before the move in date, and I am happy to pay fees, give up the deposit, etc. But from what you are saying, it seems like I might still be liable to pay the rent if the landlord does not agree to cancel the contract?

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                    #24
                    Suggest you 'phone the experts, Shelter, the housing charity, on 0808 800 4444 and see what they say..

                    Life ain't fair: Sorry. Do not in future sign contracts you do not understand the consequences of. Shelter or CaB are both admirable charities who can advise on housing matters.

                    SUMO.

                    Cheers!
                    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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