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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have a 2 year fixed term contract on a housing we are renting

Resolved Question:

I have a 2 year fixed term contract on a housing we are renting with no break clause. We recently had a change in circumstance and have decided to move out of London. I advised my landlord and the agent of this and gave 4 months notice with the full understanding that we would need another tenant to be found to relieve us of our tenancy.

We have been model tenants against a not so model landlord. The tenancy has 9 months to run and so far the landlord has reject 2 solid 12 month offers, stating that he wishes to sell at the end of the tenancy. He has since engaged in conversations with us around selling the property to us, stating a much earlier transation date. We feel we have been very flexible with viewings etc and now feel somewhat trapped. Do we have a leg to stand on here? The cost per month is £3,900 hence why we are keen not to get trapped in paying for this alongside a mortgage.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Does the tenancy allow for viewings please?

Customer:

Hi

Customer:

Sorry, just to be clear, I am the tenant in the property concerned, thus Im not sure I understand your question? Do you mean viewings if the landlord wished to sell?

Customer:

I guess I am looking to understand how rigid the law is here, ie, we have signed a contract, thus its tough, or alternatively, we have acted resonably and have done everything we could to enable zero loss to the landlord, hence we have some grounds for feeling like there should be some flexibiltiy here?

Customer:

Sorry, I notice my initial brief is confusing....

Customer:

Facts-

Customer:

We wish to move and break the contract March 24 against a Dec 12 contract end date

Customer:

We gave 4 months notice and have worked with the agents to allow countless viewings

Customer:

We have been very upfront with the landlord

Customer:

Our contract stated that we could break if we had to move back to NZ for work, or due to family illness. We invoked none of these clauses, as they we not applicable, instead we are moving to allow our kids to enjoy the countryside.

Customer:

Previously the landlord and I had discussed us buying the place with a earlier transation date of around April, however we decided that we wished to move out of London instead.

Customer:

He has 2 very good offers on the table for 12 months, but has rejected them saying he wants to sell in December.

Customer:

We feel this is highly unreasonable, as do the agents, as its unlikely that you can rent a 5 br £2m house unfurnished for 9 months

Customer:

hope this helps

Alex Watts :

When you say leg to stand on, do you mean staying for 4 months?

Customer:

Sorry, we would like to vacate March 21, but are obligated until Dec 12, with no break clause, bearing in mind the information Ive furnished below, I was rather hoping you would be able to provide me with an opinion on whether I have any options here, ie go to court to seek a release from the contract?, cease payment etc, or are these shorthold tenancy agreements highly enforceable and as such, if this went to court, would I not have a change, or leg to stand on.

Alex Watts :

Do you have any way of getting out of the contract - no

Alex Watts :

If you knew what you were signing and knew it was for a period of time you can not just get out of it.

Alex Watts :

The Court would not declare the agreement unfair unless it had a particularly onerous term

Alex Watts :

If you knew you were signing for 2 years then a Judge would expect you to have read that.

Alex Watts :

Unless the Landlord has breached the contract in any way and it would need to be a significant breach then you are unable to be released

Alex Watts :

All you are able to do is find replacement tenants.

Alex Watts :

Of course if you do leave early you dont have to tell the Landlord where you are going and as long as you do not want a reference and do not intend to give a forwarding address you can leave.

Alex Watts :

But you would need to leave overnight - it would need to be quick

Alex Watts :

The Landlord would then have to find you to issue a claim against you.

Customer:

Understood...

Alex Watts :

But if there is no forwarding address or contact details, the Landlord would be unable.

Customer:

last question

Alex Watts :

But to leave the contract - sadly not unless there are significant Landlord breaches.

Alex Watts :

Yes?

Customer:

If the landlord has two solid offers which they have rejected due to the term required being 12 months, versus his aspirations of 9 months, does that change a thing?

Customer:

Seems to me that we have done all we can to find an alternative (2) and he is unwilling to play ball

Alex Watts :

That would be lack of mitigating any loss, but it still does not mean you can leave early or with hold rent.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer:

Ok thanks for your assistance here...

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.


Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.


 


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Alex Watts :

Sorry I didnt press the right button - try and rate again - thanks!

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