Ending short term tenancy before tenancy starts

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    Ending short term tenancy before tenancy starts

    Hello,

    I signed a short term tenancy agreement for a shared house at the end of last year. The term begins on the 30th Jan, however I found out this week that I will be relocating for my job and therefore I'll no longer be able to commit to the room.

    I haven't paid a deposit, or a months rent upfront yet, I've only signed the short hold tenancy agreement, however the first months rent will be due on the 30th as far as I'm aware.

    What are my options? The contract doesn't have a break clause in. Obviously I'd rather not be paying rent for a room I won't be in.

    Thank you.

    #2
    Try and negotiate with landlord: However he could sue you as you have signed a valid contract. So maybe offer something.. (or e.g. cost of finding someone else...)

    Unless you think he's not legit......
    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


      #3
      As per artful, I think you are going to have to accept that you are on the back foot here. You are responsible for all of the rent for the period of the contract (as well as Council tax, cost of heating etc., need to adhere to the contract in terms of occupancy and so on). You need negotiation, and I think this needs to be generous without being open ended - e.g. "I will pay two months of rent irrespective of whether you get a tenant before that, together with £200 of re-advertising costs in exchange for being released from the tenancy". What you don't want to do is to offer to pay rent until a tenant is found....

      It is lucky we still have a semi-robust letting market - you would have bought the house otherwise.

      Comment


        #4
        There is no tenancy.
        You need to inform the landlord (ideally in writing)that you will not be moving in. The landlord has to mitigate any loss, he can't simply say you have signed a tenancy agreement and so are responsible or the rent for the fixed term.
        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by thesaint View Post
          There is no tenancy.
          Could you elaborate how there is no tenancy? I'm not quite following. I have signed a short term tenancy agreement to begin on the 30th, but no rent or even a deposit has been paid for. I've offered to advertise for the room however as it stands the landlord expects rent until the room is filled, which is not something I want dragging on since I am having to relocate to London.

          Comment


            #6
            There are two elements to the problem.
            The tenancy hasn't started because you haven't taken possession.
            The contract is still valid and you are intending to breach its terms.

            If the tenancy had begun the landlord probably does not have to mitigate his losses, with the contract breach they do.
            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).

            Comment


              #7
              jpkeates,

              So what are my options here? I don't intend to take possession as I won't be able to. As I understand the landlord would have to mitigate loses with the breach of contract?

              Would I need to send a letter of notice or anything other than telling the landlord via phone/text?

              Comment


                #8
                Negotiate.
                If you make the landlord a "without prejudice" offer of 2 or 3 month's rent they might accept it - but I doubt it.
                If they don't send them a cheque with a month's rent as full and final compensation for your failure to comply with the agreement, apologise and let the landlord sue you for the rest if they have the inclination.
                Which they probably will - small claims being easy and cheap.

                However, although this isn't a commonly held view, the landlord can only claim actual losses, not lost rent, which is a consequential loss, so they've not actually lost much.
                Which would be your defence to the claim.

                The advertising and the missing weeks rent would happen between any tenancy, so all your non-performance has done is brought forward the cost to the landlord, they're not an additional loss.
                They've lost a bit of admin time and any postage and direct costs that arose as the result of your non-performance.
                Which the month's rent should compensate them for.
                Provided a judge agrees with you, you're fine.
                They may find that the advertising and missing weeks rent are an additional expense for example.
                But a) this will be in several month's time, b) you can ask for time to pay and c) they might not, but at least you can be confident that the amount you have to pay is correct.

                But most landlords will feel entitled to lots more (and will be supported by their mates in the pub).

                If the eventual settlement is less than or equal to the original offer, you can ask the judge to award costs against the landlord because the case wasn't necessary.

                But it's not a low stress option.
                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).

                Comment


                  #9
                  The tenancy was supposed to start in 3 days... The landlord will be able to claim loss of rent because there is no way to find a replacement during that time.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    They might.
                    It would depend on what they can show they lost - if they've kept the place empty for a while because the OP was going to move in, they could claim for that as well.

                    As the tenant, my argument would be that voids are inevitable and this is simply a matter of timing.
                    The general prejudice of the judiciary in favour of tenants should do the rest.
                    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).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                      The landlord will be able to claim loss of rent because there is no way to find a replacement during that time.
                      That's a bit of a blanket statement.
                      I have tenants lining up for properties at the moment.

                      Not 10 minutes ago I had to call a tenant that viewed a property this afternoon, to inform her that the person who viewed it this morning has taken it.

                      Personally, I would offer a months "rent" and readvertising fees.
                      Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Well, if you have plenty of people who can be referenced in 24 hours, sign within 48, and move in within 72 then all is great.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                          Well, if you have plenty of people who can be referenced in 24 hours, sign within 48, and move in within 72 then all is great.
                          If required, then yes it's doable. Lone landlords often don't do a lot of the referencing an agency may do.
                          We have potential tenants for whom we have done half the referencing/checks ready and waiting.

                          To say there is "no way" is simply not a truthful statement.
                          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Even if it takes more than three days, it doesn't mean a month's rent's been" lost".
                            It means that the next month's rent from that property has been delayed by a period of time.

                            Given that rent is paid in advance, it's quite likely that the landlord will receive the same number of instances of rent in the year regardless of a gap.

                            And, I'd suggest that any rent "lost" is a consequential loss, not a direct cost arising from the non-performance.
                            Advertising is a normal cost of business and again has just been brought forward (and I bet the landlord claims the full cost against tax).
                            Any agency or credit referencing fees might be more tricky to try and remove from a claim as they were money out of the business specifically for this agreement.
                            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).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                              To say there is "no way" is simply not a truthful statement.
                              Thank you for this constructive correction...

                              Comment

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