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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hello I have an assured shorthold tenancy - Ive been here

Resolved Question:

Hello

I have an assured shorthold tenancy - I've been here over 2 years, always paid rent on time, trouble free for landlord. I've found a much nicer flat, which is perfect for me. The lettings agent has been asked for a reference for the new tenancy (not with them). I get the new flat on May 14 - but my current agent says that my contract runs until July 17, which will involve another two months' rent - almost £1500.
He's very nice and want to 'chat' to me. It seems unfair that the landlord can get me out in two months, even in the middle of contract, but the tenant has to go until the end. I don't want to risk upsetting anyone, or getting a bad reference which might harm my chances to move later. Any advice?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Customer:

Thank you

Joshua :

may I ask, has your original fixed tenancy period expired please as per the original tenancy agreement you signed?

Customer:

I renewed four times since I took it out in January two years ago.

Customer:

Sorry to sound vague. That's why I'm not a lawyer!

Joshua :

Thanks. So each tenancy lasts 6 months?

Customer:

Yes. The current one started 18 January.

Joshua :

Thanks. Unfortunately a new tenancy agreement being signed constitutes a new minimum term and therefore you are bound by the minimum term of the tenancy. So is the landlord and the landlord cannot evict you until after the fixed period has expired - he is not able to simply evict you onto months notice during the fixed tenancy period. However this does not mean you are locked into the contract for the full term necessarily.

Customer:

Thank you. I presume you wouldn't advise that i get stroppy with my current agent!!!

Joshua :

As above the starting point is that subject as follows you cannot unilaterally leave during the fixed tenancy period. However it is possible to escape early from the tenancy by asking the landlord to remarket the same. The landlord has a common law duty to mitigate his costs and as such must do his best to remarket the property. You would be liable for reasonable marketing costs together with any reasonable agency fees. However your liability would end on the earlier of the end of your existing term or a new tenant being sourced to replace you. Alternatively you could agree the fixed compensation proposal if this is preferable to you and agreeable to the landlord. The landlord cannot refuse to do anything at all or he will find that he is limited in the amount of continuing rent he can attempt to recover.

Joshua :

You can also seek a new tenant yourself if you wish. The landlord as above, must offer remainder of the existing tenancy on the same terms and rent to any potential new tenant you or he finds. He can as an optional alternative negotiate a new tenancy with that person but cannot insist on this.

Joshua :

Consider making any requests or confirming any other discussions you have with the agent by email so there is a record of what is discussed or agreed in case of a dispute at a later date.

Joshua :

the landlord via his agent must upon your request begin marketing the property immediately and there is no excuse for delaying until the end of the tenancy. Accordingly, consider making a written request by email to the agent to begin remarketing the property immediately in the hope that a new tenant will be sourced before the end of your tenancy period.

Joshua :

on a separate but related note, do you know if your damage deposit has been protected in an authorised deposit protection scheme?

Customer:

The agent is very nice - I'm just getting the idea before i speak to him. Might this re-marketing cost more than the c£1500 rent if I just keep the flat on, as well as the other?

Customer:

Do I get a copy of this by email? Sorry, my brain is rather slow!!!

Joshua :

No - in practice the cost should be minimal if anything because they are going to shortly have to start a marketing exercise anyway in the assumption the landlord wishes to relet the property. They have to keep their costs to a reasonable minimum.

Joshua :

I'm not sure if you spotted my slightly unrelated question above - do you know if your damage deposit has been protected in an authorised deposit protection scheme?


Joshua :

(No problem re the email copy of the thread)

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

I don't want to risk harming my credit rating for future tenancies.

Joshua :

has a reference already been given by the current agent to the new?

Customer:

it is a protection scheme.

Joshua :

Thanks. the reason I asked is had it not been correctly protected, you could have made a claim for compensation but as it has been, this does not assist.

Joshua :

by asking the landlord by his agent to remarket the property early, I cannot see that this will affect your ability to enter into future tenancy agreements. This is a perfect a reasonable request on your part and in fact the landlord has a common law obligation to do as you ask. if they reference is a redeeming provided by your current lettings agent to the new agent, and you have signed a new tenancy agreement, there is nothing that can be done to jeopardise that at this stage

Customer:

It's been requested. The current agent has not yet replied, as he wanted to speak to me. Unfortunately I used my alternative email address and didn't see his reply until this afternoon.

Customer:

i do not want to claim compensation. HATE that culture!

Joshua :

reference is not been given, the lettings agent cannot lie and in fact is responsible for any loss suffered by you if he gives false information to the new agent.

Joshua :

I respect in practice, the solution is simply for you to current agent asking them to you re market the property - speaking to him first if you like - and hoping that a new tenant will be found for your existing property before the expiry of your current term. if the new tenant is found, you will not be liable for rent beyond the point the new tenant is installed. The resource nothing preventing you trying to find a new tenant yourself if you feel you can and want to.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX licking excellent service. I'm armed and ready now. £47 well spent. Not really apropos I think. is it actually correct that the landlord/agent can't evict a tenant with two months' notice at any time within the contract? The public perception (DM blog!!!!!!!!) is that they can!

Joshua :

the landlord can evict a tenant under the rules imposed by the Housing act. These provide that assuming there is no breach of tenancy on the part of the tenant, for example not paying rent, the landlord must provide a tenant with a minimum of two clear month's notice to evict them which notice cannot expire within any period of fixed tenancy provided by the tenancy agreement and can only expire the day before rent is payable under the tenancy agreement.

Customer:

Sorry again. The other issue is that I've not actually got the other flat yet. So if I have to drop out, would I then be able to continue in my current home?

Joshua :

accordingly, the landlord cannot evict a tenant during the fixed period of their tenancy and anything that says otherwise is extremely mistaken. To do so is a criminal act under the Protection Against Evicition Act.

Joshua :

it may be wise to delay request for any significant remarketing until such time as you have actually signed your new tenancy agreement. It also occurs to me that if you have not yet signed your new tenancy agreement, you could seek to negotiate a slight delay of the start date for your new tenancy in order to reduce any period you may be paying double rent for.

Customer:

Thank you. About to click Excellent Service. I now know where I stand. Andrew

Joshua :

if for some reason the new property falls through, then you can either continue to live on your property under your current tenancy agreement which will if nothing else is done, automatically convert into a periodic tenancy running from month to month at the end of your fixed term or alternatively of course a new tenancy agreement could be entered into as you have done before

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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