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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70421
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I paid a deposit and took possession of a flat two weeks ago.

Customer Question

I paid a deposit and took possession of a flat two weeks ago. I did not sign the lease or agree to a duration with the landlord. I am a Senior Lecturer. I noticed that student accommodation is straight across the street. I cannot stay in the flat and want to avoid a conflict of interest with students across the street. That was a material aspect which would have effected my move into the flat.
The landlord now claims that I owe six months rent and have to stay the duration (even though I never agreed to stay six months and did not sign a lease agreement).
My questions are (a) can I give one month's notice, (b) recoup my deposit), or (c) would I owe the full amount for the next six months?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Whether you signed an agreement or not is not necessarily the issue if the landlord can show that one was prepared and agreed verbally. I imagine that is what he is saying. He can then rely on the fact that you moved in as evidence of that.

If you are saying that there was just no negotiation upon the point then the law probably will presume in his favour I'm afraid. If you are saying that you specifically negotiated something else then it could go either way.

If the law finds that an AST does apply then the Court probably would say that it was for a duration of six months.

So,

a] Not lawfully if the court finds in his favour on the points above.

b] No, there is no prospect of that whatever agreement you are upon. You are liable for the first months rent.

c] If the court says this is an AST then you are, in theory, liable for the remaining six months. However the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking another tenant and usually it only takes one to two months to achieve that with reasonable efforts. You are liable only up until the time a replacement is found.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


What about the fact that it was not disclosed to me that there is student accommodation across the street. That was a material aspect which would have effected my decision to move into the flat. Is that enought to break any potential verbal agreement?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There is no duty to disclose anything about the location of the property.

Even if he had deliberately withheld that information that is a non issue I'm afraid.