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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We have an Assured short hold Tenancy with a fixed term of

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We have an Assured short hold Tenancy with a fixed term of 34 months (from 30/03/12). We are only entitled to give 2 months notice at 32 months (29/03/15 end date) as there is no get out clause in our contract. On 16/02/14 we gave notice that we would move out by 30/04/14 to purchase our own house (as was always the plan, we just found somewhere sooner than expected). On 25/02/14 our landlord replied saying he would not accept our termination of the contract. He is unwilling for us to sublet despite us having someone in mind, he is unwilling to find a new tenant of his own or for us to help find one, he says we must pay the almost £21,000 rent left on the contract (although he has conceded that we may pay half the normal amount over twice the time) he is also saying that if we don't go that way, he will put the house up for sale and we are liable to pay rent until it is sold, along with more than £13,000 of his early re-mortgage payment fee. Do we have any rights? We need advice on the best cause of action please as we have 4 young children and cannot afford to pay money out if we don't have to.

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

how can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

do we have any rights to terminate?

what is the best course of action?

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.

If the landlord will not negotiate 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.

He could put the property up for sale but he will still have to show that he's tried to find a replacement tenant.

Its absolute nonsense to say that you are liable for his early redemption fees.

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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