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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9339
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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As tenant, I signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Resolved Question:

Hello,
As tenant, I signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and send it to the landlord. The landlord said he will send sign it and send it back when the first month rent is transferred to him.
I found that the landlord is still advertising the flat on the market. I had a communication with him and he said that the flat is not reserved until I pay the first month rent.
Based on this I got in contact with the landlord informing him that I do not want to proceed with the agreement (with no reply).
Is the contract that I signed binding in this case?
Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
You can sign whatever you like but until such time as the landlord gives you his signed agreement, you are free to withdraw at any time.Make sure that you put it in writing. If you can get him to email or text you what he said about the flat not being reserved until you pay the first month rent that is even better proof.Based upon what you have told me, and provided you tell the landlord before he sends you his signed agreement, you are free to walk away from this.Can I clarify anything else for you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the reply.I sent the contract to the landlord by post yesterday, so practically it has not arrived yet. Should I just inform him that I want to walk away from the contract by email? Do I need a reply from him? Do I need the original contract to be sent back to me?the last two emails I got from him:email1:
"I will send you the signed contract when I receive the rent payment, as I wrote earlier.
Until then the flat is not reserved."email2:
"To clarify, I offered you the flat at L1385, and that offer stands, and to reserve it you need to sign it and pay the first months rent. I am not going to rent it to someone else for that price. If somebody would come around before you pay, and offer significantly more, then I would let you know first, and you would have put down the first month earlier.I am sorry that you feel uncomfortable. But, it is not comfortable for me either, as you would not conclude your offer by putting down money for another 10 days, and you negotiated away the deposit. Which means that you could withdraw now (as you purpotedly did), or during the first month, and there is no deposit."
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
The rule is that this is open for acceptance until such time as it has been withdrawn. Therefore, tell him, in writing and text and verbally (as many ways as you can) that you are withdrawing your offer to move into the property.Along with his payment that the property is not reserved until you have paid the rent, he would not be able to bind you to the tenancy.In 2 emails he has confirmed that and I cannot see how he could possibly say otherwise now. Those last two emails confirm even more the contents of my answer.Please do not forget to rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process so that experts get credit for their time.I can still clarify anything for you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the response I will certainly give you Excellent rating.Ok I will inform him again by email and text that I want to walk away from the tenancy agreement. I guess I do not need the unsigned contract to be sent back to me at all?Is it legal in the first place that the landlord asks for the first month rent in advance before he actually signs the contract? He might then walk away from the deal even if I paid him as long as he did not sign the contract?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also could let me know how can I write the email to walk away in a legally correct form?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.If he walks away from the deal having taken the rent from you with never having any intention of giving you a tenancy, that is theft.It is normal for landlords to want the first months rent upfront before they let anyone into the property.The letter walking away, does need to be any legal format, it just needs to be in plain English that you are withdrawing your offer to move into the property , firstly because you change your mind secondly because he is not accepted your offer and thirdly, because he has quite clearly said that before you can have a tenancy, he wants the rent upfront that you are not willing to pass any money over without having a tenancy.
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