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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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This is more for curiosity and to test legal precedent than

Resolved Question:

This is more for curiosity and to test legal precedent than to act upon your advice. If interesting to you please respond for our mutual enlightenment. Background and then questions below:
Background: Three friends decide to avoid the pitfalls they each encountered during a year of sharing rented student accommodation with friends and strangers.The three verbally agree that based on their good friendship they will find a house, secure a tenancy agreement for the next academic year and split all costs equally including deposit rent and services. They then act on this agreement by looking at several properties together, selecting one and taking steps to secure its rental. They each sign an application tenancy form and pay a third of an initial payment, understood to be non-refundable if no tenancy agreement is signed by the parties. The friends then each make related plans and financial commitments on the understanding that their agreement will be implemented as intended. One month later and a few weeks before planned occupation one of the friends decides, possibly for medical reasons, that she will not continue with university and notifies the other two she will not proceed as planned. She believes she has no liability.
Questions: Is the verbal agreement to share the annual rent costs binding despite it not being in writing? Is the act of paying one third of the fee adequate to demonstrate that a binding agreement or contract was reached? Does signing an application form for tenancy void the verbal agreement due to the nature of the document? Would a court award damages of a third of the annual rent based on the verbal agreement if the two friends proceed with tenancy and stay in the house? Will the three remain friends? (I hope you find this interesting and thanks in advance if you respond)
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Is there nothing at all in writing, not even in email?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Two emails setting out the situation and a rebuttal saying no liability.
Is background unbclear?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Unclear*
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

A verbal agreement is binding yes, despite not being in writing. Agreements can be oral as well as written.

The act of paying part of the fee shows conduct and the fact there was an agreement.

The signing of the tenancy does not void the verbal agreement, it was signed on behalf of all of those in the agreement.

The Court would award damages in terms of the loss incurred, so the 1/3rd rent

Yes the two remaining can stay in the property.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks Ash but you are confirming legal basics. Read the two emails below between the 'opposing' fathers and let me know if you still stand by the advice above.Dear Said
I offered to communicate with you on behalf of Kelsey and as requested by Hannah.
In July Kelsey, Irish and Hannah agreed to share a house during the next academic year. Based on this agreement they proceeded to pay a non-refundable deposit of £450 to Marsango Estate and Letting Agents to secure a house in Winton. The commitment to pay the balance of the deposit and rental for a year is still in place. Hannah has told Kelsey she does not intend to honour the agreement and will not contribute any further funds towards the house. I believe this is as a result of her deciding to drop out of university.
A direct consequence of Hannah’s decision is that Kelsey and Irish are now unable to fund the balance of the deposit and rent on the property until they claim damages from Hannah. I believe it would be far better if all parties could avoid the legal process of recovering damages. I understand that Hannah offered to find another tenant to take over her obligation which appears to me to be a desire to avoid legal proceedings. I suspect such a solution would also prevent Hannah’s decision to drop out of university from also harming the good friendship her Kelsey and Irish have.
The girls intended to take occupation this coming weekend, 27 August 2016. However, prior to the agent providing access, the Agent requires the following:
• Guarantor agreements from each tenant, three in total.
• Deposit, equivalent to one and a half months’ rent, of £2,025 net of the £450 already paid or £1,575.
• The first months’ rent of £1,350.00.
I suggest that if you could provide the guarantor form and £975, one third of the £2,925 due, this would allow Kelsey and Irish to move in as intended. Hannah could then recover the £975 from the replacement tenant she finds as well as a replacement guarantor for you.
Kindly let me know if you would prefer to proceed as I suggest so you and I can assist the girls in resolving this matter.
Thanks and best regards
TrevorDear Trevor,My apologies for not having had the opportunity earlier today to respond to your email.My understanding is that Kelsey, Roya and Hannah had signed an application tenancy form with the agents with a non refundable initial payment of £450 in case no tenancy agreement is signed by the parties. I believe, therefore, it is misleading to suggest: "Hannah has told Kelsey she does not intend to honour the agreement and will not contribute any further funds towards the house...".Your note seems to also assert a number of other points which are entirely inaccurate. However, to maintain focus I will not refer to them. Unfortunately due to health reasons Hannah had informed Kelsey and Roya on 31 July that she will not be able to go ahead with sharing the house with them. She has consistently offered to help finding an alternative tenant so that both Kelsey and Roya could commit to a tenancy agreement at Luther Road and not lose their non refundable fees. However, I understand Kelsey and Roya had both said to Hannah that they are adamantly against sharing the house with another person. Kelsey and Roya have refused to look for another person and declined to consider interested individuals whom Hannah had found.In fact, Kelsey had written to Hannah on 18 August noting: "I know you in Canada but please let the estate agents know we not taking the three bed on Luther. Me and Irish are looking at flats today and may take something.[sic]" It is obviously unfortunate that Hannah's circumstances have changed. But that cannot be helped. She has tried, in good faith, to help under the circumstances and enable Kelsey and Roya to go ahead with the property and to avoid losing their admin fees instead of looking for another property for just the two of them. They had declined to make that happen. I hope they can still find another interested student, as I am sure there are many others looking for accommodation.I trust the girls can maintain their friendship and deal with this matter amicably.Yours sincerely,Said
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Yes, its the same.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks. Last two queries: To avoid doubt you remain clear on the legal principles and your advice? The annual cost net of deposit received at the end of the year will be £16,200 plus fixed portion only of services of say £1,800 so £18,000 in total. Would the two staying in the property have to incur full costs and wait until the end of the year before approaching the court to claim the £6,000 or could they get a ruling sooner?
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

1) Yes. Contracts are oral as well as written

2) No, they could claim past losses and future losses as they know what they are

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
it does. Many thanks.
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

If this answers your question could I invite you to rate my answer before you go today, otherwise the site doesn’t pay me for the time spent with you. Thanks in advance and good luck.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I will gladly rate you to ensure you receive payment. I appreciate your prompt and direct style.
PS If situation was yours would you proceed to court or too risky on balance for amounts involved?
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Court is always a risk - there is no guarantee. I think there is a claim here.

Does that clarify?

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Great response have a nice day. I assume when I push rating we log off. I will push excellent now. Bye.
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Have a good weekend.

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