Landlord not accepting replacement tenants - wants to do repairs during notice period

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    Landlord not accepting replacement tenants - wants to do repairs during notice period

    Hello

    I've been renting a flat from my landlord for the past 4 years.

    Details are as follows:
    • AST (England)
    • Contract initially for 12 months although has continued month to month as a "monthly contractual tenancy" for three years since then
    • Rent paid monthly
    • Notice period is 2 months


    I have just bought a flat so mindful of the 2 month notice period agreed with the landlord that I could find replacement tenants who would take over a with a new contract (as clearly I don't want to be paying a mortgage and rent for 2 months!). The flat is in a great location and has gone within a day the last two times its ever been advertised.

    There is a backlog of repair jobs that need to be done that the landlord hasn't done over the past 4 years despite knowing about them for over a year (fixing lights, new kitchen worktop and rising damp on a wall in the kitchen).

    The landlord is now saying he won't accept replacement tenants and wants the full 2 month notice. I think he intends to do all the repair work during this 2 month notice period.

    What are my best options here.

    a) If I find people who are willing to move in regardless of the work that needs doing can the landlord refuse this (assuming they've passed all the same reference checks that I went through)?

    b) If the landlord insists he doesn't want new people in the flat while he does all the long overdue works I don't feel I should be paying any rent for those weeks. Can I hold rent back for weeks that these major works are happening in, or insist that he waits till the end of my notice period (in which case he'd still have an empty period void of rent so would be no better off than if he'd agreed to reduce my notice period)?

    c) If it turns out he's just too busy to get to the jobs until we've moved out do we have any comeback?

    I'm keen to find a win-win situation that keeps all parties happy here so any solutions would be appreciated!.


    Thanks,
    Ian

    #2
    Is it just you living there or or you sharing with other people.

    If the rental agreement is in your name only, and you don't share the house / flat with others, there is no requirement for you to find replacement tenants.

    Answer above, in full about who lives there, number of rooms let, and members can give you more advice.

    Comment


      #3
      The 2 months notice is presumably in the tenancy agreement. That doesn't carry over into periodic (see Housing Act 1988 s5(3)(e) )
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/50/section/5

      - so you just need to give AT LEAST 1 month's notice (assuming rent payable monthly) ending on an end-of-period day. So, if (say) periods go 10th month to 9th month & you serve notice today earliest notice may expire is 9th March 2017.
      Tenancy period may not line up with rent periods.

      If in doubt, 'phone Shelter, 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...

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the responses.

        I live in the property with my partner and the contract is in both our names jointly. (We're the only tenants in the flat and will both be leaving together)

        It's a standard AST template (under Housing Action 1988) from "urban sales and letting" that the landlord used.

        The dates in the contract are from 17-02-2012 to 16-07-2013

        Underneath the dates it says "If at the end of this time, you want to continue the tenancy and have not already received from us two month's notice to end the tenancy it will continue on from month to month as a monthly contractual tenancy. You must give two month's notice to end it. This notice must be given to expire on a rent payment date. After an intial period of 6 months, a break is applicable by either party where written Notice to quit the Property can be given. The Statutory Notice periods must be observed by the relevant parties. The Tenant must provide written Notice of at least two months and the Landlord at least 2 months".

        Thanks
        Ian

        Comment


          #5
          If the landlord doesn't want replacement tenants that's their prerogative.
          There's nothing you can do to make them.

          You almost certainly have to give one month's notice ending at the end of a rental period (which depends on the tenancy agreement - it will be the same day of the month as the end of the fixed term).
          That's a result of the 1988 Housing Act which overrides anything in the tenancy agreement.
          It is remotely possible that you have a specific type of contract which allows the notice to persisit (which is a contractual periodic tenancy) - but that's unusual.

          You don't have to allow the landlord or anyone else into the property to do any work if you don't want that to happen.
          If you do allow it, it can be when you agree, not when the landlord wants it (although there's no need to be difficult about it if you can help it).
          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


            #6
            Serve valid notice today expiring 16th March.

            If landlord won't accept, leave by end 16th anyway, take loads of photos. If he sues for more rent he'll lose.

            Good luck with your new home!
            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


              #7
              Thanks. I've already given notice via a text message but will make it clear that notice expires 16th March as suggested.

              Ideally I'd still like to find someone to take over though as I'm moving on 9th Feb.

              Note the contract also includes the clause

              Tenant must not...

              * Transfer the tenancy to someone else without our permission in writing (which we will not unreasonably withhold)

              Comment


                #8
                You serve notice in such a way as is defined in contract. If nothing said, do it in writing (piece of paper), email as well if you want to, to the address you havea for landlord. TXT as well, but it's harder to stand up in court.

                Clause not transfering tenancy is fine, it carries on in perioidic.

                There is nothing to stop you & landlord agreeing any other deal (eg to end tenancy Feb 9th) but you BOTH have to AGREE such terms as are agreed (could be money, either way)
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ian90210 View Post
                  I've already given notice via a text message
                  Does your tenancy agreement say that you can give notice by text? If not, you need to send a proper letter in writing for your notice to be valid.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ian90210 View Post
                    Thanks. I've already given notice via a text message but will make it clear that notice expires 16th March as suggested.

                    Ideally I'd still like to find someone to take over though as I'm moving on 9th Feb.

                    Note the contract also includes the clause

                    Tenant must not...

                    * Transfer the tenancy to someone else without our permission in writing (which we will not unreasonably withhold)
                    The replacement tenant thing isn't going to happen.
                    There's nothing in it for the landlord, so why would they.

                    The idea of transferring a tenancy agreement to another tenancy is a bit of a red herring.
                    It's realistically not an option - it's something some letting agents (mostly in London) seem to have invented to deal with groups of unrelated tenants sharing a property.

                    If you wanted to avoid the overlap with double payments, you would have to have given notice before 9th January.
                    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
                      OK thanks all for your advice

                      So my plan of attack now is...

                      a) Give written notice expiring on 16 March (my landlord lives next door so will hand deliver it)

                      b) Offer to give the landlord free access to do any jobs he wants from 9th Feb (given we won't be in the flat anymore), in the hope that he'll then agree that in return he'd be happy for us to only pay rent till the end of Feb. He can then have new people move in immediately in March with the problems fixed and no loss of rent.

                      c) If he won't accept that deal, make a point of saying he'll have to wait until our notice period expires before starting his major works (in which case it's clearly in his favour to accept option B given it's the only way he can avoid any void weeks).


                      I think that probably works better than showing people round to find replacement tenants, and telling them the damp in the kitchen and the leaking doors would need to get fixed after they've moved in (given I've been waiting a year for any action on it!!)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        In most cases, sms is not acceptable for Service of Notice.
                        When dd you send it?
                        What did it state EXACTLY?
                        Did LL acknowledge receipt?

                        New Ts must be acceptable to LL who should not let them move in until all refs received and you have vacated. It is rare for a T (or house owner) to change properties with out some overlap of rent/mortgage. It is not like changing hotels.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The only problem is that c looks like you being a bit of a dick.

                          From the landlord's point of view what it might sound like is
                          "If you won't give me what I want (which you don't have to and means you end up with a month's less money) I will be obstructive and make you wait to do some work even though I won't be living there and it would be no inconvenience to me at all."
                          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


                            #14
                            Good point - I was clearly hoping I wouldn't need to get to option (c) but will give it some more thought. I don't want to be a dick as we live next door - hence why I thought finding him some new tenants was the best solution originally as I'd take care of all the advertising, showing people round, paying for reference checks etc.

                            I'm actually a lot happier now I know that worst case I'm only going to be stung for one month's rent and not two!

                            It's clearly difficult buying somewhere as you can only give notice when you exchange to avoid ending up completely homeless if the house purchase gets delayed or falls through - I imagine lots of people find themselves in this situation.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It is difficult at the end of a tenancy, because of the notice periods.
                              You'd hope that in most cases, the landlord and tenant can simply sort it out between themselves and agree some kind of compromise.
                              Maybe you pay less than a full month's rent and agree the end is earlier so the work can start.

                              One good argument that you might make is that if the work is done before the end of the tenancy any check out is going to be difficult, as the place will have been full of strangers before you actually check out.

                              Personally, I've usually agreed to whatever the tenant asked for - there's going to be a void period, and, unless what they want is stupid, we may as well get on with it.
                              What's more important to me is trying to maximise the revenue per annum, rather than worrying about the rent coming in sooner rather than later - but I may be the exception.
                              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

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