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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
For the avoidance of doubt this is a fixed 6 month AST you signed which ends on 13.02.15. Is that correct please?
Thanks. In that case you are correct in your belief. There is no requirement for a tenant under an AST to give notice to terminate providing the tenant fully vacates the property and returns all keys to the landlord/agent no later than the last day of the tenancy - in practice this must be before any agent closes that day.
thank you, ***** ***** is that the agents may try not to collect the keys from me, insisting on the notice as a colleague of mine warned.
Contractually what happens is that providing you vacate and return keys as above the contract terminates at the end of the last day of the tenancy. Where this will go wrong is if you remain in occupation for even a day longer than the last day of the tenancy. What happens then is a statutory periodic tenancy arises automatically under the Housing Act from month to month which you would then need to give one months notice to terminate. However providing you vacate as above, this does not happen.
The advice you have received from the agents is a common misunderstanding by agents (sometimes deliberate often due to lack of understanding of housing law).
Please what can I do if they insist and refuse to collect the keys?
It is important that you ensure that the keys are returned in time as above and that you have evidence of this - ideally a receipt signed by the agent or failing this a photographs of the keys being handed over which you then email yourself on that day to create a record of the date and time they were returned. Providing you have such evidence then if they were to attempt to collect further rent they would fail in court.
You should not rely on them collecting the keys. Legally it is your responsibility to return them - this can be arrangement but failing which you should consider handing them to them at their office or asking a friend or representative to do so for you.
I intend to drop it myself but what if they refuse to collect the keys?
Sorry I don't quite follow - if you are dropping in the keys what is that they would need to collect. Do you mean what if they refuse to accept the keys?
that's what I mean, if they refuse the accept the keys
Thanks. They cannot legally refuse to accept them. If they do refuse, consider getting out your smartphone and videoing the encounter ensuring you record on video that you are returning the keys to [property] and ask for a receipt. If they refuse to accept them say on video that they are not able to refuse to accept them and that you are recording the fact that you are delivering all the keys to their office and that they are refusing to give you a receipt. Consider then also taking a photo of the keys and emailing to yourself as above. This will be more than satisfactory evidence of termination of the tenancy if it is later disputed.
Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
thank you. after videoing the process, can I then leave the keys on their table and walk away?
Certainly. Just ensure you retain a clear video record through narration of who you are, where you are and what you are doing - give names, date, addresses etc so it is clear and show the keys on video. It mind sound obvious but if it did go to court itis important the court can tell from the video what the keys are when you handed them in and where you were. It is likely to be over the top but it is unequivocol evidence in the event of a dispute.
Is there anything else i can help you with?
thanks, ***** ***** that will be all
I hope all goes well.
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