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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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- I am looking advise on a lease termination

Resolved Question:

- I am looking advise on a lease termination issue. We gave our landlord notice in November 2014 that we need to break our lease early. They accepted however refused to commit to a date and demanded they get to 'freshen up' the property . After delaying the listing a month, they are now in a flooded market and have not been able to rent the property yet. Also - they are looking long term tenant and not short term to cover the remainder of our lease. They also refused to allow us to market the property in any way to help us cover our losses. What can I do next and can I break the lease?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

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

Alex Watts :

please let me know whether this is private or commercial property?

Customer:

Private tenancy. Flat.

Alex Watts :

When was your agreement due to expire?

Customer:

end of May 2015

Alex Watts :

Did they give you an indication of how long it would be before they could release you?

Customer:

No - they keep stringing it along

Customer:

I tried to advertise the property in December but they demanded I take it down - now the market has a lot more choices and they are having issues getting a tenant

Customer:

the original letting agents did very little - we suggested an alternative, which they initially refused

Alex Watts :

Ok. In theory you are liable until the end of the agreement. However what they also need to do is mitigate their loss

Alex Watts :

That is minimise any loss they will suffer

Customer:

the alternative letting said they had options to get a tenant in in December, but were not permitted to do so

Alex Watts :

If they refuse to allow you to advertise, if they have not taken any positive steps to market it, or take a tenant then they have failed to mitigate

Customer:

they have also taken back our keys and inspected the property - they now come and go whenever despite my request that they let us know

Alex Watts :

Also if they refuse to take a tenant then they have failed to mitigate.

Customer:

they didn't refuse this tenant - but it did fall through

Alex Watts :

As such my view is that taking all the above in account I think you can refuse to pay and stop

Alex Watts :

Ah ok.

Customer:

I think in part becasue the area has more options now vs. when we asked to market the property

Customer:

they did have another offer, but it was so they did not accept it

Alex Watts :

Well I cant see how they can prevent you marketing it

Alex Watts :

Was it much less?

Alex Watts :

Because then they could accept and you would be liable difference.

Customer:

£200 per month - which we could have negotiated with them to mitigate

Alex Watts :

So again, they have failed to mitigate any loss

Alex Watts :

Indeed.

Alex Watts :

I think they have failed to mitigate and you can stop paying

Customer:

At this stage, I do not want to pay Feb rent as we have been out of the property month and the landlord is taking all the time int he world

Alex Watts :

At worst they would take you to Court. Given the value I am sure it would be a small claim as thats below £10,000

Customer:

it would

Alex Watts :

You can defend on the basis that they have failed to mitigate their loss

Alex Watts :

They need to do so

Alex Watts :

But of course there is always a litigation risk

Customer:

I understand they may need to do so, but I also read recently (2006 case - commercial property) that claimed the landlord may not have to mitigate

Alex Watts :

That can be distinguished because it is commercial

Customer:

however in that case, the tenant did not give notice - we did and the landlord accepted

Alex Watts :

Its not on all fours, which means not the same as the current situation

Customer:

yes

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything about this?

Customer:

I am just concerned about what mitigating losses would mean

Alex Watts :

Minimising

Customer:

Would the delay in listing the property and the demand to 'fix it up' be unreasonable?

Alex Watts :

Yes. Because in any event they would have had to wait until May to fix it up anyway

Customer:

that is good to know - I believe they accepted our termination in the lease, but are trying to get hte best of both worlds by not really looking tenant

Customer:

at least not aggressively

Alex Watts :

Yes I agree.

Alex Watts :

That is not acceptable

Customer:

Ok - thank you. This helps - is there anything I can do - formally - to notify them of their breach in responsibilities or failure to mitigate our losses?

Alex Watts :

Yes I would say that they have failed to mitigate their loss and set out all the points

Customer:

Thank you

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