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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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MY son is in a private rented property in Liverpool. On the

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MY son is in a private rented property in Liverpool. On the second day of his occupation his motor bike was stolen. He got it back later as he helped the police to find it. Near to his property in Litherland, are gangs of youths who target and steal bikes. They also patrol the streets looking for something to rob. They are dangerous. Armed police helped to tackle them to retrieve the bike. He wants to move asap as he is afraid he will be harmed. He has a 6 month tenancy. He has reported the problems he's having to the letting Agent who couldn't care less and won't answer any of his calls. He wants to give them notice as he is afraid to live there any longer. He left a message on their answer phone but no-one has contacted him. Does he have a case to end this disastrous situation without giving the months notice? He has only been there two weeks. What does he do?

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

What type of contract does he have please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

6 monthly

Is it entitled assured shorthold tenancy agreement?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't know but it seems likely. Some one from the Letting Agency did mention a months notice though but he can't afford to pay them rent for breaking the agreement if they won't accept the months notice. Surely the dangerous situation he is experiencing would render the agreement void if it is an entitled assured shorthold. He has been threatened as well and the thugs know that he helped the police to find and arrest some of them.

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.

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.

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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