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Harris
Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2849
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I am a landlord and have signed a shorthold tenancy agreement

Resolved Question:

I am a landlord and have signed a shorthold tenancy agreement with a new tenant. The tenancy isnt due to start for another 3 weeks. Can I cancel this agreement before the tenancy start date?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you for your question. If the agreement was entered into freely by you and the tenant, then legally you will not be able to end the agreement unless there is agreement with the tenant or there is an early break clause. Ending the tenancy will be a breach of contract and the tenant can make a claim against you. What are the reasons for cancelling?
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The house has been for sale and someone that viewed the house before we decided to rent it has made an offer of the asking price for the house. We originally wanted to sell it but decided to rent it after it had been for sale for 18 months.
The tenancy agreement is a shorthold tenancy due to start on the 8th April for the property unfurnished.
The offer is a good offer that we have accepted.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What is the amount that the tenant can claim against me?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks - has the tenant paid a deposit and/or initial rent?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The tenant has paid a deposit . We will be returning the deposit tomorrow to them.
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks - was the deposit protected? Also, what are the tenants circumstances. As you will appreciate, cancelling the tenancy may put the tenant in a difficult position as they will need to find alternative accommodation and may have already ended their previous accommodation arrangements. Their damages claim will be in relation to what loss they have suffered due to the cancellation of the contract.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have handed their notice into their current landlords. I dont know if the existing landlord has found new tenants or if they can stay. We have informed them as soon as we can.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The deposit hasnt been protected yet. We protect the deposit when the tenancy starts
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Thanks - the information stated above still stands, namely that their damages claim will be in relation to what loss they have suffered due to the cancellation of the contract.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If we are giving them 3.5 weeks notice what loss will they incur? and what advice do you have to minimise the potential damages claim to a reasonable amount?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
It is difficult to advise what loss they would incur. 3.5 weeks is not necessarily a long period of time to find alternative accommodation. They could potentially claim for costs of any temporary accommodation in the event that they cannot find suitable accommodation and I cannot think of how you can minimise this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How long can they reasonably stay in temporary accommodation for? There must be time that is considered reasonable . They are also currently renting , so they would be incurring a rental cost anyway?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Their full circumstances can be considered if they do make a claim against you, and if they are in temporary accommodation they will need to demonstrate what steps they have taken to seek more secure accommodation, such as an alternative AST.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If their current landlord hasnt let their property and they can stay at their current house would they then be incurring any losses?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Potentially not.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have said that they will be sending us a claim for their costs involved. Should we offer to negotiate an agreed amount when they send the claim for costs or delay and ask for explanation of each cost element to prove that it is reasonable?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
I would suggest you wait and see what these costs are and if they are reasonable given the circumstances
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So do you advise that we should continue to ask them to justify the costs are reasonable and wait for them to instigate legal proceedings before offering to negotiate?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Not necessarily await instigation of legal proceedings as you can negotiate whether they are reasonable or not without them issuing an application to court.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So our potential liability is reasonable costs incurred as a result of us cancelling the agreement. However, they have to prove that the costs are reasonable if the case went to court in order for them to be agreed to?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
Yes - they will need to demonstrate what reasonable losses have been incurred due to the breach of contract.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are emotional/stress considered as part of reasonable losses or is it just confined to the practical costs of finding alternative accommodation?
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
For argument purposes you should be limiting this to quantifiable damages and losses to remedy the breach of contract
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay thanks for your help
Expert:  Harris replied 1 year ago.
No worries, if you have any further questions in the future you can ask for me directly by starting your question For Harris