Must we pay Early Termination Fee? - Not in Contract - We have a break-clause?

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    Must we pay Early Termination Fee? - Not in Contract - We have a break-clause?

    My partner and I have given notice on the flat we are leasing through a real estate agent.

    As part of our contract, we had a six month break clause that could be invoked by giving two months notice any time from four months into the lease.

    As circumstances arose and we are now moving overseas, we gave notice at four months in order to terminate the tenancy at six months. However, our circumstances meant we would actually be vacating after five months. We understood that this would mean paying for the additional month when the flat was vacant and were happy to do this.

    The real estate agent has now informed us that they have secured a new tenant to move in immediately after we vacate, meaning we no longer need to pay the last month's rent. This is clearly great news for us.

    The question we have is that the real estate agent is now charging us an 'early termination fee' of £85.

    This was not stated anywhere in our tenancy agreement nor is it listed under tenancy fees on the real estate agent website. Given that we are abiding by the terms of the contract by invoking the break clause, rather than ending the lease outside the terms of the contract, I cannot see that this counts as an 'early termination' but is in fact a termination within the terms and dates allowed in the contract.

    Does this seem right? Should I have to pay this fee that has never been mentioned before by terminating the lease within the terms of the contract?


    For reference, exact wording of the break-clause below:

    It is hereby agreed that either party may end and terminate the Tenancy at the end of the first six months or
    any time thereafter by serving each other with two clear calendar months notice in writing, such notice to expire
    on the last day of rental period of the tenancy. At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all
    obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the other
    in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement.

    #2
    Originally posted by nightandday View Post
    through a real estate agent.
    At least they're not fake I guess.
    "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

    What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

    Comment


      #3
      You are the one...

      I'd politely decline their kind offer for you to pay them.. They may then sue you or attempt to take it from deposit, both unlikely to succeed..

      However, if you need a reference from them...

      Bet they've charged landlord also...
      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...

      Comment


        #4
        Ask them where it says you have to pay this fee.

        Comment


          #5
          I do not see on what you have provided why you should pay any "early termination fee".

          If it were me, and if your terms and conditions do not include an ETF payment then I would be inclined to write to the agent stating that you will not be paying any ETF fee as no ETF is contractually due and they have not provide evidence that any ETF is due. I would also state that any further communication from them on this issue will result in you charging them a response fee when you reply and that by continuing to communicate with you on this matter they accept that they will be liable for such a fee. I would even consider asking for payment up front with their next letter on this matter. I do not see why this could not be done?

          pm
          Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

          Comment


            #6
            Tell them you'll just keep the keys until the end of month 6 (which will surely loose them the new incoming tenant.

            Comment


              #7
              The early termination fee is prob not part of AST, but part of separate applicant-LA contract lists of applicable charges, which should have been provided at time of application.
              I doubt LL will benefit from this fee.
              It is unclear whether OP paid rent to end of month6? ie the expected end of break clause fixed term.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by wfd_property View Post
                Tell them you'll just keep the keys until the end of month 6 (which will surely loose them the new incoming tenant.
                In any proceedings, if it got that far, this act would come across as spiteful and not likely to do them any favours. They would also then be liable for the rent for that last month.

                OP should ask the LA for proof that an ETF is due. No proof, no payment.

                pm
                Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

                Comment

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