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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We are two tenants who are currently renting a unit through

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Hello, we are two tenants who are currently renting a unit through our newly registered company for the purpose of work. The lease agreement is a "company let", and we are both from overseas, decided to move in together and work together. Our original idea is to rent this place for a year, with 6 month rental upfront, because we might need bigger space for work, we are both freelance artist, operate under a registered corporation. However, the agent initiated that, to avoid landlord increasing rent, he convinced us to sign a 3 year lease, with 6 months rental upfront, and we have to pay a sum of 6 month rental upfront every 6 months. if we need to get out of the lease earlier, we can simply give him a call 2 month ahead of time as our notice and he can easily replace us with other tenants.
When we received the lease agreement, I asked him to add the 2 months break clause via email and he called me back and said he cannot put this town onto the lease, but he will verbally agreed to our term.
There is also a clause on the lease stated that we cannot registered a business here, which I asked him to amend. He told us that this is the company's standard lease, "we knew that you are going to register a company here, but we wouldn't put this onto the lease."
Recently, due to the UK affair, I have decided to branch out to Germany as my immigration status has becoming unknown in the future. My partner and I decided to move out of this flat so we called up the agent and tell him our situation, and we are giving our 2 months notice. We have already paid our rental upfront for the next 2 months, so we will not need to pay him anymore rent until we move out.
At this point he denied all of his verbal consent, he said we signed the 3 year lease nonetheless so we are liable for that. We understood the legal binding of a lease agreement, so we are seeking options to break the contract, our company hasn't been making money yet and because we are both new to the country, we haven't even been able to set up a company account because we have no credit history here, hence we offered the rental up front option in the first place and everything was sent from our personal account.
I know the verbal contracts are legally binding, but not sure if it is relating to lease agreement. And we cannot proof that he gave the verbal consent except for the emailed that I requested him to put the clause onto the lease, as well as the company registration.
Please help.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Are you moving to Germany?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am, my partner is staying in UK because she has an ancestry visa.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

I’m sorry to have to tell you that any amendments to the lease will need to be in writing and they would normally be attached to the lease. If this ended up in in court, he would simply deny ever having told you that you could give two months notice any time.

The same thing applies to the consent to register a company the address, that consent would need to be in writing.

However, I would not one moment suggest that you register the limited company at what would be potentially a temporary address and it would be better to use, for example, your accountants address.

It appears that the landlord has a shop operator and knows all this and has done it to trick you.

It is a pity that you did not take advice on this because the correct way of dealing with this would have been a three-year contract at a fixed rent with a rolling 2 months break notice period after the end of the first six-month period the right to break every six months 2 months prior notice.

As it is, you have a tenancy agreement for three years and you are bound to pay the rent for three years or, if you move out, until the landlord gets another tenant. He is duty-bound to try to get another tenant. However there is nothing to stop you looking for another tenant and when you have found one, giving tenants details to the landlord and vice versa.

If you had a reply from him, to the email you sent asking for the clause to be put in the lease, that would be sufficient for the purposes that you are looking at to prove that he did agree the break clause..

If you are both moving to Germany, it would really be impractical for the landlord to pursue you in another country for money which he alleges you owe in respect of rent. If one of you is staying, that might not be particularly practical although the landlord will have do find out where your partner has gone to.

There may be something to assist you and that is the fact that you have not been able to get the landlords information. If the landlords address is the address of the property, then the tenancy agreement is not enforceable and you can walk away. The landlord must give an address where you can contact him. It must be a physical address, not a PO Box although it can be the agents address, just not the property address which is what many landlords do.

I’m assuming also that the landlord gave you and the Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate, Tenants Deposit Scheme details and a booklet entitled How to rent, the Checklist for renting in England, which is this document.

he only has to give you a copy of or a link to that booklet in respect of rentals entered into after 1 February 2016.

As you will read, on page 5, if the landlord doesn’t provide those documents, they cannot evict you. By the same token however if he hasn’t given you the documents, you can simply walk away.

If he has not protected the deposit in a tenants deposit scheme you can take the landlord to court and claim to 3 times the deposit back from him plus the return of the deposit.

I’m giving all this latter information because there may be something very has done which might make the tenancy unenforceable.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

It does not cost you anything, but helps me greatly.

We can still exchange emails if you wish.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you very much for your answer. This really helped.
I genuinely think that the landlord doesn't know what was going on, most of the real estate agents that I dealt with in UK had been a problem, and this is an agent from a big company. When we mentioned it over the phone, he pause for a second and said "I don't recall saying that." Again, there isn't anything to proof that except for my email in requesting him to put them on writing, which he replied with a verbal consent.I went through all the correspondent emails with what they sent us. In the last email, they sent us
- Landlord Signed Tenancy Agreement
- How to Rent Guide
- Portable Appliance Test
- Electrical Installation Condition ReportLease commencement was 31st, March, 2016. So we are missing the deposit scheme, which I believe is part of the lease agreement? Or does it have to be a separate document? We are also missing Gas Safety Certificate, and Energy Performance Certificate. Would that be sufficient?Also, because it's a company let, and there is no bank account with our company name, as opening a company bank account requires our credit history in UK, and we are both new here. would it be easier to break the lease if we simply close the company since I am moving away anyway? We can re-arrange how we operate in the future.Thank you again!
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I just went through the all the documents, I'm assuming the Electrical Installation Condition Report is the Performance Certificate, and we don't have Gas, so that means the agency did provide us with all the sufficient information. So I think we don't have any other option than maybe closing the company? Because I simply won't be around anymore.Thank you.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 3 months ago.

You are missing: Energy Performance certificate, Gas Safety Certificate, Tenants Deposit Scheme details.

Each is a separate document.

However, you have just mentioned something which may change of the above and that is that the let appears to be not to you two individuals but your limited company. If that’s the case, then NONE of the above applies. It only applies if it was rented to individuals which is what you said in your initial question, “we are 2 tenants etc”.

If it is the case that you are not tenants but your limited company has the tenancy then you are merely occupiers but, you have no personal liability, the liability is that of your limited company.

If you have not signed personal guarantees, you can tell the landlord that if he wants to enforce this, you will just move out and the limited company would have no alternative but to fold. If you do, he could give you notice to quit that you want anyway.

F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8445
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
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Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I mentioned in my first message that this is a "company let" when I explained the situation. Great information. Much appreciated, thank you!

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