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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We recently signed a new assured tenancy agreement thinking

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We recently signed a new assured tenancy agreement thinking we would only have to give 4 weeks notice. We have just found out that the agreement is a new one for two years with a minimum of one years tenancy. We signed the contract on the 26th Jan 2014 and need to get out of this contract due to it not being what we thought we had agreed. We have been offered accommodation by our local council. Is there a calling off period for such contracts whereby we can opt out within 31 days of signing?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Did you agree a cooling off period?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thats a problem I'm afraid.

When are you due to move in?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We have been here for two years and just wanted an extension while waiting for an offer from the council. We also thought that the original contract that ran out on the 26th Jan would just be extended rather than starting all over again with a minimum of one years occupancy.


But when does your old tenancy start and new begin?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Old finished 25/01/2014 new began 26/01/2014

Thanks for the information and the time.

I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. I’m afraid you are in difficulty here.

There are no automatic rights of cancellation with this type of contract. You can agree a cooling off period but unfortunately you didn't here.

If you cancel now then you will be in breach of your AST and, in theory, liable for the remaining months due under the contract.

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.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

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

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