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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70209
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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What is the worst that could happen legally if I broke the

Customer Question

What is the worst that could happen legally if I broke the terms of an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and sublet a flat I rent.
And can I get out of the tenancy in order to rent somewhere else?
Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I let an expensive 2-bedroom flat, but my circumstances changed and I could no longer afford it part way through the lease. So I decided to live in the sitting room and 'sublet' the main and second bedroom to two nice people.

They have just left, so the flat now just has me. I will need to do the same again, but the landlord has found out.

The lease expires in 12 months.

I'm wondering the best way to proceed.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Does your contract allow you to sublet?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
If your contract does not allow you to sublet then you cannot unless, of course, the landlord will give consent in writing which he might do. There is no particular reason he should not.
If he does not though then subletting would be unlawful.
If he finds out about it then the landlord has a claim against you for any rent you have received from the sublet tenant and the sublet also has a claim against you for any rent paid if he is evicted.
Subletting is a huge risk that is not really worth taking.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes please, could you then advise the quickest way to get out of the tenancy?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
The only two ways to leave an AST lawfully is to either wait for it to expire or get the landlord to agree to release you.
If you cannot afford to stay then leaving early would be a breach but the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement and usually he is expected to achieve that within one to two months. You are only liable until he finds a replacement tenant.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I believe that the 2015 budget outlines plans to make it illegal for private sector tenancy agreements to include clauses that prevent the sub-letting of the property. Out of curiosity, do you know when that might come into force by any chance?

Assuming I wanted to leave, what would be the best way to proceed?

Would I need to state financial hardship, or just put it as a request?

Would I give a date and say that I will pay for two months or up until the landlord finds a replacement?

udget outlined plans to make it illegal for private sector tenancy agreements to include clauses that prevent the sub-letting of the property

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
I don't think Parliament has declared a commencement date yet.
If you want to leave then that would be a breach but the only way to move forward is to tell your landlord in writing as soon as possible.
You don't need any ground as you cannot lawfully leave. You can include that information if you wish to.
I would just say that you need to leave within the period that you find acceptable - e.g one month.
Then he has a month's notice to seek a replacement.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

And if he didn't find a replacement within a month, I would be liable for rent theoretically until the end of the tenancy?

And if the landlord found a replacement at a lower rent, would I need to make up the difference until the end of the tenancy?

Thank you for your time.

Will you be around tomorrow evening?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
He would have to prove he had looked to find a replacement at the existing rent and could not find out which is hard to do.
If he could do that then you would be liable but that isn't going to happen.
I'm happy to continue with this but please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Remus2004 and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your previous advice.

So the safest option seems to be to leave as soon as I can and secure somewhere else I can afford.

Could you please write a brief quitting notice that I can email to the landlord (if email would suffice – it is how we have communicated before)? I would also like to inform the letting agent who deals with finding replacement tenants.

Please let me know a charge for this and I will add it as a tip.

As you wrote above:

Something to the effect that I need to leave within one month.

That the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement and usually he is expected to achieve that within one to two months.

He would have to prove he had looked to find a replacement at the existing rent and could not find out which is hard to do.
If he could do that then you would be liable but that isn't going to happen.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
All you have to do is say something like this.
I can no longer afford [or whatever your reason for leaving] to continue with this AST. I therefore give notice of my intention to leave by [X date].
I realise that I am not free to leave by that date lawfully but the landlord has a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement.
I will make the property available for prospective tenants at any time by appointment.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I asked a couple of days ago about the possibility of having someone else added to the lease. Landlord said considering it, for an increase in rent. Complicated by needing reference checks, amendment of documentation, and notification of freehold owner.

It's a 2-bed flat. I cannot afford to stay unless I split it three ways.

Is there any risk or downside in asking if the landlord would, of an additional increase in rent, consent to me sub-letting to two other people as an alternative to giving notice?

And saying that otherwise I would need to give notice that I will be leaving within a couple of weeks.

I seem unable to rate your answer again (I did so previously). Please let me know any extra costs for these additional answers.

Thanks.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Oh, I am happy to do this as a free follow up.
It is clearly related.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Apologies, but a few more queries before I finally commit:

1) When you wrote above "but the landlord has a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement" - should I add to that 'at the same rental rate'?

2) Is there any advantage in asking to be released from the tenancy instead, in the same email as giving notice of intention to leave?

3) Should I give 1 month, or 2 month's notice (as 2 months is what I would need to give to end a shorthold tenancy anyway),

4) and how would I do this whilst also making it clear that I could leave immediately (so as not to risk losing any prospective tenants)?

5) Is there any advantage of offering to make up the difference between current rent and prospective rent (to make it easier to find a replacement).

Please get back to me as soon as you can. As before, I offer additional fee for your time for this extra work.

Thanks.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
1 No, not really.
2 Yes, you can. It won't do any harm.
3 I would give one month. You are not able to give notice at all so you may as well make it a period that you can cope with.
4 The only way to do that is to say that you will leave immediately. You could say that you will leave on X date but can leave earlier if it would assist the landlord to find a new tenant.
5 I wouldn't make that offer. It just opens up a can of worms. He will replace you fairly easily within a month unless the house is literally falling apart.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I have followed through with giving notice.

If you would be prepared to help me further with replies I would like to buy another thread service at the maximum cost?

Thanks.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Yes, do carry on?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

When I originally asked the question I could chose a level of service (a high/medium/low matrix of two giving a set of costs).

Can you advise how I do this again so as to generate another fee for you?

Thanks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I want to buy another one of these from you (but at the maximum value):

Status:Awaiting Expert Reply
Category:Property LawandLaw
Value:£26
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
That is a customer services enquiry really.
You can reach them here***@******.***
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have asked another question on another thread, if you could pick it up.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
I will as soon as it comes through.

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