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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69266
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My son has brought a house and so gave his rental agent two

Customer Question

My son has brought a house and so gave his rental agent two months notice. They have said he is tied into a six month lease and therefore has to pay rent until August. The rental agreement was changed in January, they were sent a letter to sign which he and his girlfriend thought was just informing them of their Landlords change of address. the letter said 'This has been issued due to your landlord changing schemes with northwood'

That contact states a term 'certain of 6 months', this was different from the contract they had before which wasn't fixed term but they didn't realise by signing it they were agreeing to a fixed term, they already were well on the way to purchasing their new home in Jan so wouldn't have signed it if they'd know because they knew they would be moving out in April, is they anything you can suggest to help them get out of this contract?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Does the contract have a break clause at all please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No this new on doesn't but the old one did, this is what they had'nt realised changed when they signed it, it wasn't explained to them
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Where have you gone? how do I get to read more replys from you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I sent the information after her first question and heard nothing back how do you get more response, not at all happy with the help so far,
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
The reason you are experiencing delay is that you keep posting before I have responded and relisting which pushes the question to the back of my list.

Is this an AST please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry for the panic, never know when these type of things are scams. Also I don't know what you mean by AST ,

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.
Don't worry.

An assured shorthold tenancy agreement? I think thats what you are describing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think thats called a fixed tern contract in UK, and yes it is, but it was confused because they started the tenancy in Aug 2012 and renewed it every 6 months, but for 2013 they didn't sign any new contract agreements and were under the impression they only had to give the landlord two months notice to quit the contract, then in jan 2014 they signed a new contract which they thought was just changing the landlords address, and not fixing them into another six months because they knew they'd be moving out in April , they were prepared to pay the extra two months rent as well as their mortgage payments but now have found they are fixed in to this rental agreement until Aug, which is a huge finacial and undo able burden
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 2 years ago.

That is an AST.

I am sorry but its bad news although the liability may not be as bad as you think.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

Unfortunately ASTs are very hard to escape. You pretty much have to show that the property is gutted by fire damage or flooding and so you cannot live in it. Another acceptable reason would be that a person's life is in immediate danger like a gas leak.

I'm afraid that things like change of circumstances of the tenant or the fact that the premises is not salubrious is not sufficient.

You could try to negotiate with the landlord. Sometimes they will agree to allow tenants to leave as its in their interests too on occasions.

If that is not possible here then I'm afraid you will be acting unlawfully if you leave early. However the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement tenant and he will not get forever to achieve that. Realistically, if a landlord is really trying, most properties can be let to another tenant comfortably within a month. You will only be liable up until the time that the landlord is able to replace you which will be nothing like the remaining months due under the contract.

Of course, there is a risk that the landlord will not be able to find a replacement. If so, the Court will ask him to prove that he has looked for a replacement. If he is able to do so to the Court's satisfaction then you would be liable for that period but that is very unlikely.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information

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