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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49817
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Good morning, We have a lady who looks after a holiday home.

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Good morning,
We have a lady who looks after a holiday home. Each year we sign an annual contract running from 1st May to 30th April payable in two instalments in May and November. We have never had any details about notice periods etc. and are now selling the house with completion in December. Could you let me know please if signing an annual contract means that we should pay until the end of it (30th April 2016) even if we don't own the house.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you spoken to her and does she expect to be paid for the remainder of the contract?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She has presented an invoice but I'm not sure whether she really expects to receive the whole amount.

The starting point is that there would be an annual contract which you would be bound by. The same would apply to her if she suddenly decided halfway through that she did not want to look after the house. If you terminate the contract early, then you may be liable for certain damages which she has incurred as a result of this. However, it does not mean that she can expect to be paid for the remainder of the contract in full. Even though you did not discuss a notice period, you would still be able to terminate the contract by giving her a ‘reasonable’ notice period. There is no definition in law of what the length of such period would be and it very much depends on the contract itself, frequency of payments, duration, etc. In fact, only a court can decide what the length of the notice period should be in the circumstances. It could be a month, couple of months, half of the remaining term, etc. You should think of a notice period which would enable her to find a replacement customer so that she can minimise her losses by losing your work. I would say that you should give her a month’s notice, advise her that this is reasonable in the circumstances and hope that she does not take it further. If she decides to challenge you, the only way she can try and force you to pay is to take you to court and win. Whether she goes that far is another matter but even if she does, it will go in the small claims court so if you lose you would not have to pay much more than what the court orders – she will have to pay her own legal fees for example. I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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