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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My question relates to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement

Resolved Question:

My question relates to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (England).

We received a call from the letting agent 2 weeks ago informing us that the landlord intends to sell the house (Circa 4 months remaining on the tenancy agreement). The agent informed us that he had not yet decided when he was going to sell the property but asked if we would interested in buying (which we are not). He also stated we may be able to discuss leaving early.

This obviously worried us as we were intending on staying in the property long term and were expecting on signing a new tenancy agreement in July. We considered our options an the fact our oldest child starts a school that was picked based on our current location, in September, the only option open to us was to try and find another property and unsettle the kids as little as possible.

We have contacted the letting agent via email and phone over the past two weeks with options for us to finish the contract early and find another house. We asked for the landlords agreement to a four-week notice period but this was rejected.

We were initially informed that the landlord is abroad trying to sell another property and wouldn’t be able to respond to us for a couple of weeks. After another discussion with the letting agent we were then informed that the landlord had rejected our offer.

The landlord came back with an offer to the possibility of an early surrender by mutual agreement based only on whether he sold this property prior to the end of the tenancy agreement. This is obviously loaded in one persons favour and does not help us with our primary concerns, which is our children and the need to find suitable alternative accommodation.

We are now trying to request an notice period whereby the landlord agrees to us surrendering the AST 1 month earlier than the contract date but have been informed that this will not yet be put to the landlord until next Saturday when a senior letting agent returns from leave.

We have of course viewed other properties and have found one that is available in May where the landlord would agree to up to a 35 Months AST and keeps within the school catchment area. As the letting market dictates we need to confirm whether we can take this property within the next few days.

We understand that the landlord has not yet issued a section 21 notice to quit or asked us to leave so has not broken the tenancy agreement. We also understand that renewal of tenancy contracts is not guaranteed, but took this property on a verbal assurance that the landlord was looking for long term tenants. We as tenants are not in breech of our contract (no rent defaults or complaints) and have even redecorated several dated rooms including renewing light fixtures with the landlords consent.
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 :

Is the property being marketed yet? What does your current agreement say about allowing for viewings etc?

Customer:

The property has not been marketed as far as i am aware as no sign has been erected and it is not on the agents website. We have only verbally been informed and discussed in emails but with no confirmed timeframe.

Alex Watts :

Ok.

Customer:

The AST does state that with 24 hours notice and at reasonable hours to allow the landlord and his leting agents to show prospective buyers / tenants in to the propert

Alex Watts :

That being the case I am not entirely sure what your question is please?

Customer:

Do i have any other recourse or options regarding ending the tenancy agreement earlier than the defiend date in the AST . Also, if we were to continue paying up to the end of the tenancy but somehow managed to get the money together to move in to the other property are we still iable for council tax etc even though we would not be here. Or alternativley,as much as it pains me as the landlord has put us in this situation, could we pay up front for the remaining period and end the AST early without riskign our deposit.

Alex Watts :

Unless you know he is going to sell it no

Customer:

Apologies for the poor spelling, really should have used spell check

Alex Watts :

Just because someone says they will is not enough

Alex Watts :

If he does want to sell it again you have to allow people in in accordance with the tenancy agreement.

Alex Watts :

Sadly if he does sell it and you have a remaining term, you could sue the Landlord for breach of contract

Alex Watts :

He is contracted for x months and that is what he is required to do

Alex Watts :

But because selling has been banded about is enough to end the contract

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

what if we were to pay unfront for the remaining period of the contract, but moved out of the property early would we be liable for the house costs (council tax, electric etc) and risk losing our desposit. Also if they were to market the property for sale now would that be a breech of contract?

Alex Watts :

No. You are only liable for lost rent.

Alex Watts :

If they marketed it, would it be a breach - no not unless the contract prevents them marketing.

Alex Watts :

It would be the date of completion if there was a term remaining would it be a breach

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer:

Perfectly,

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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