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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71138
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We are looking to relocate from London and have identified

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We are looking to relocate from London and have identified our new preferred location in St Albans. We have found and rented a property a property through a lovely lettings agent.
However, my wife is have a freak-out and no longer feels like she wants to move/she has some pretty serious issues around 'home', I knew it was going to be tough but looks like it could be a relationship ender, with two kids, this is not an option for me. We're also worried about affording the move, school places etc etc.
So, we need to pull out of our rental. So far we've paid a holding deposit of £500 plus a couple of hundred pounds for background checks.
I've signed and returned via email the contract and are due to transfer the deposit before the 19th of Sept when we collect keys and handover the original contract (not yet signed by landlord)
Can we pull out at this stage? What can we expect to need to pay? It would seem fair to me that we would have to at least pay rental value for a month or so... But can't in any way afford to pay rent until the six month break clause of the year contract
Can anyone help please
Many thanks
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
When are you due to move in?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

19th of September, signed and returned contract a week ago

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.
Come what may, you are locked in. You have signed a contract.
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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