How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ash Your Own Question
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

I am leaving rented property. Was a short term fixed contract

This answer was rated:

I am leaving rented property. Was a short term fixed contract that 'lapsed' into a monthly periodic (?) direct with the landlord, no further changes or contracts just continued to pay rental. On deciding to leave (Nov 14) I started to discuss with landlord timing and initially agreed one months notice +2 weeks (to take me to 19th Dec 14) as new property purchase timing a bit flaky.
This purchase all fell through in the chain and my notice was rescinded (with landlord agreement) and another months rent paid on 9th December 'as usual'. Landlord now knowing I am intent on leaving understandably re-markets to get a new tenant with minimal/no time property empty. Still amicable between us and plenty of 'latest info' updates from me to landlord to keep them informed and looking like I would be able to leave by end of January.
At this time I hadn't given a new notice period formally but I am aware that the landlord has a new tenant found, initially to start 1st February 2015 and later changed to 8th February 2015. The landlord then serves me with her required two months notice period on 8th December meaning I have to leave by 8th February 2015 latest. This is OK by me in principle. However, my purchase completion is then all confirmed and I can be out earlier so I therefore give my one months notice on 24th December 2014 to leave by 25th Jan 2015. I do not see that it is linked to the periodic payment period as I am within the landlords notice period.
Landlord now claims I am in arrears on my rent as I paid pro-rata from 9th Jan to 25th Jan 2015 inclusive (the pro-rata amount isn't in dispute as far as I know) and claims my contract liability extends to 8th Feb 2015. I had some emails from landlord with legal jargon attached from 'Countrywide lettings' (who my original short term contract was with via Dixons estate agents, now taken over by R A Bennett lettings) confirming my landlord is correct, and some legal precedent case, etc. I respond saying I disagree as within the landlords notice period and email trail with landlord shows she agreed to meet me on 25th Jan to do exit review, meter readings and I would fully vacate, etc.
Further to that I had a follow up email from 'Countrywide' stating they now agree I am not liable after 25th January after communications with the landlord. Since then landlord has informed me that R A Bennett will contact me to meet at property on 9th February to do an exit review and my liability exists, etc. I have written to R A Bennett, copied to landlord, stating I will be leaving on 25th Jan 2015 and requesting they meet me to do sign out.
They are not returning my calls or emails (I got impression they are not managing the property?) so I have stated I will continue to clean (professionally) the property, take date stamped photographs and return all keys to their offices before closing time on 24th Jan and request a receipt for the keys handed back.
This is both frustrating and stressful as had three years without an issue until I decided to leave. Landlord on a brief visit in December (only 2nd visit in all my time there) started to really nit-pick on condition of house, etc. She quoted me £450 to emulsion a small bedroom in magnolia paint so I expect lots of claims on my deposit!!! (the house is, genuinely still very nice and clean and, as stated will be professionally cleaned and I had a professional gardener in to tidy that up, etc.). I believe the landlord will make a claim for 'rent arrears' with DPS on my exit from the property, etc.
If new tenant is moving in on 8th February (as originally stated by landlord), and despite my tenancy not technically ending until midnight on the 8th February by the landlords claim, if there are any claims on me for the property condition I don't know how I will have an option (I believe I am entitled to have) to remedy anything if I do agree with the claim if new tenants are already in. Do not see how landlord can make a claim on me before 8th February without rescinding (what she believes is) my end date?
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : For now please let me know what is it up you want to achieve?

I have sent a long and detailed explanation - I was expecting I got an answer back???


and it says you're not even does that work then?????

Alex Watts : I am on and offline as am on the train to court

OK - have you studied my detailed question/situation?

Alex Watts : what does your notice period say in your contract?
Alex Watts : Did the landlord ever agree to 25th?
Alex Watts : Are you there?

I don't have a contract, my short term fixed one lapsed so, as I state in my notes I presume I roll over to a periodic one. from end of 12 month fixed it was directly dealt with by landlord

Alex Watts : Yes I know are on a periodc tenancy.
Alex Watts : Did the landlord ever agree to you moving on 25th or was it only the agent?

I believe that email conversations with landlord where we agree to meet at property on 25th January and take meter readings, do fixtures and fittings, hand over keys etc would say they did.


I think my point is that once they gave me 2 months notice I can then give one month back at any time?


The email after that came from Countrywide and confirms landlord agreed to 25th as end of tenancy


no further correspondence with landlord since

Alex Watts : Ok then you do not owe any rent beyond that. Ordinarily as a periodic tenant you would be liable for the full billing period. But if the landlord or his agents accepted you were to leave by 25th which is technically early and through one billing period then you are not liable
Alex Watts : This is because they have accepted this on behalf of the landlord
Alex Watts : And they are agent, so act as landlord
Alex Watts : You are entitled to rely on that.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this tofay please?

I think landlord will dispute they agreed to 25th as did say they were 'accepting I left' but my liability exytended to end of payment period on 8th Feb


so if they argued that does the fact they gave me two months notice but I have decided to go earlier not apply anyway?

Alex Watts : But from what you have said the agent accepted it ended on 25th and you relied on that.

That is the email I have but both agent and landlord say only I have that email

Alex Watts : Sadly if they have given you 2 months, which is what is required by law, that does not entitle you to end early. You would still still need to see out the billing period
Alex Watts : That email is something you can rely upon

the person that sent it was the same named person that had been in contact with myself and landlord initially arguing I was liable. I was suprised when the email saying 25th Jan OK came in as it was out of teh blue and against conversation earlier in that day

Alex Watts : Either way if they pursued you it would be a small claim, legal costs can't be recovered so it would be a waste of time.
Alex Watts : it would cost the landlord more to pursue you in court than the likely rent
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

so it all boils down to the email I have from the agent? The rental amount in question is around £540 so not sure they won't pursue me anyway.......

Alex Watts : ok, but even if they get a solicitor involved at £200 an hour it won't take much before it's not economical

no solicitor for small claims court, dead easy and cheap.......

Alex Watts : Yes but he may get a solicitor to draft proceedings or attend court.

does it all hinge on the email I have from the agent

Alex Watts : That is when it becomes uneconomic
Alex Watts : Yes it hinges on the email.
Alex Watts : Technically you are liable for the period.

Should I just send the email to the agent and landlord to try and kill this issue stone dead now

Alex Watts : to Feb. That's because you have a months contract
Alex Watts : Unless there is an express agreement that says otherwise, in this case the email

Anything else I should consider? Given nobody is talking to me or returning calls and emails should I just sit and wait - I presume they know the two month rule is correct and don't believe I have the email off the agent

Alex Watts : Perhaps you should write not email including a copy of that email.
Alex Watts : Say there was a representation and you relied upon it.
Alex Watts : Does that help?

It does thanks

Alex Watts : can I clarify anything else for you?

don't think so

Alex Watts : Great. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today, the button should be at the bottom of the screen
Alex Watts : if you need more help please click reply.
Alex Watts : Good luck with this
Ash and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you