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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 7026
Experience:  Solicitor
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I am a tenant in flat in a highly sought after square in

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I am a tenant in flat in a highly sought after square in central London (rent over 800/week); lease signed 20 Dec for 2 years with 1 year break with 2 months notice. Now that I am living there for one month I find the condition to be not commensurate with the rent level and have asked the landlord if we can dissolve the lease asap and that I was happy to leave a 6 mos deposit to cover. They are being rather sticky and insisting that I have signed a lease and that even if I want to replace the tenant it is with their consent. I have never in 25 years renting in London crossed this situation and have perfect credit and legal standing and while I don't wish a legal wrangle I also don't want to stay. I noted that the condition was tired and requested that they update the paint and carpet which she defended; after moving in I then noted the mold /black grout in bathroom floor and general poor condition of the bath which I consider unsanitary and have taken showers mainly outside the flat as a result; initially upon moving in the dishwasher did not work and the washer had such mold around the rubber that the mildew odor was evident as soon as I opened the door. These are not items that I would have noted upon seeing the flat - which was in such a state of disarray due to the tenant being rather a mess - it was difficult to see these details until I started living there. The landlords live overseas; they did not go thru an agency to let and it appears that the deposit is in their personal account. Questions - if they don't agree to a 'surrender' and yet I still want to leave - what is the legal process/cost they will pursue and my chances to defend? Thank you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
One more question - in your experience - is there a good approach/argument that I can wager that helps move them toward mutual surrender rather than contention? I did offer to leave my security deposit and have the remainder refunded when new tenant signs on - but now could just accept to leave it without refund.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Did you inspect before you rented?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hi Jamie - not in depth; the tenant who was there was a man who was rather messy - had a lot of possessions and the flat was in disarray so I was not able to do such a complete review. I did note the carpet and paint when I took possession - plus the bathroom and I immediately sent photos. She sent me an inventory report which lists the flat in 'good condition' but of course they are more of a checklist service not a 'what it is like to live there vs rent' service which is more of a market consideration - which I am sure a estate agent would give a view. What do you think? Thank you in advance
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hi Jamie - I am currently out and my phone is at home charging.. Can we do it via email for now and then see if follow up call would be useful. thanks

Does the agreement allow you to break and get a new tenant?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
She does seem to allow but with her consent - so puts the onus on me to locate someone. I am concerned here about my liabilities. Here is her response to my request to terminate early and surrender security deposit until she found someone:Email from landlord:
Now you are attempting to unilaterally terminate the tenancy agreement, my replies are as follows:1. The tenancy agreement is legally binding, I do NOT agree to dissolve the lease.
2. Since the tenancy agreement is still in force, I am NOT obliged to engage any agent or person to re-market the flat. Given the current situation, you may try to find your substitute to continue the lease with the same terms and conditions, which is subject to my consent.
3. Regarding your suggestion for moving back my items, I had paid others to dispose the items to accommodate your needs when you moved in, which was also time consuming and lots of hassle involved. Now it would be impossible to move the items back.Please be reminded that you are legally responsible for paying the rent, which is due on or before 20th of each month.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
fyi - the agreement was to rent the flat unfurnished; the caretaker moved the items into her unoccupied flat below.

what does the agreement say about break and re letting?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
there is no provision currently in the lease to allow for earlier than 1 year/2 mo notice break. There is a clause that says that flat to be occupied only by my family and close friends but nothing about re letting. The text I sent above was her reaction to my email asking to break it now.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
shall I send you the lease terms? its a simple 3 page doc not a typical agents lease.

Yes, you can attach here if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thanks - attached

Thanks. As you may well know you are liable for rent until the end of the period. The fact that the property is not what you expected is not down to the landlord.

You inspected and could have done again, prior to signing without a tenant. But you have a legally binding contract

You can move out and get another tenant. I am surprised that the landlord is acting like this. The landlord could re market the property and just re charged you those additional fees.

You would be liable for the empty period and any additional costs.

By refusing the landlord is failing to mitigate their loss. They should do all they can to help you. But also you should try and find a tenant. The landlord will have to consent but that consent can’t be unreasonably withheld.

So the landlord is being unreasonable. Write and say they need to mitigate their loss and remarket. If they refuse then once you move out you can refuse to pay the rent.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today, please?

If not, I would appreciate a 5-star rating for my answer. If you need anything further I am available for a follow up at no extra cost.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thank you; yes clarification points:
1. In my email back today - shall I then a.) reiterate offer to leave deposit b.) agree to help find another tenant - however I believe agents require knowledge/communication with landlord to check KYC c.) do I pay the rent tomorrow or until the tenant is found however I feel my deposit is a risk
2. if I leave without mutual surrender = then considered abandoned property? if they choose to come after me- what is the UK legal process and approximate cost to me?
2. If they find in their favor - and assume they don't try to market and yet have my 6 weeks deposit - I am then likely to be liable for rent over that time + their legal costs?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
re empty period and loss >>>1. would my deposit cover this? I guess the issue is if it was to remain empty past the 6 weeks. which is unlikely.
2. how do I handle the utilities/council tax in this situation?
3. If I re - let do I then have to get a deposit from them; do a lease agreement and check their references?
thank you Jamie

1. Yes

2. No, just breach of contract

3. Time, no. Rent yes.

Empty

1. Hopefully yes.

2. When you move out, you just pay up to date and that is it.

3. No, you don’t need to.

Does that assist?

Jamie-Law and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
perhaps better to now get on the phone so that I am clear is that OK? my number is ***** netherlands number is ***** OK?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
phone number +31 6111 89098

I am on train so will call little later. Which county are you in?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
london
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
or i can ring you?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
do you know approx what time we can speak? thank you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
here was my draft email to send back before your response - so have to think how to adjust to incorporate your feedback. Perhaps we can discuss when we can speak later? thank youDRAFT RESPONSE - BEFORE YOUR COMMENTS
Thank you for your email.t want to express right away that it is not my intention to end with any ill will towards you or additional hassle for either of us. My intent is to have a fair and amicable going of separate ways; sometimes things don’t work out despite best intentions and given that it is so early in lease I wanted to find a solution asap.I want to offer that you keep the full deposit of 4950 gbp in exchange for rendering the lease void. as we both know that this square rents extremely fast so its highly likely that someone could move in very quickly if it were known to be available and you will be no worse off and may end up better off. The deposit is the equivalent of an additional 95 gbp/week or 412 gbp/month of rent over the existing rate for one year plus its now in advance.I will certainly do my best to help achieve this outcome.I don’t think that either of us want to get into a legal hassle - it costs a lot of negative energy, money and time that I think both of us would like to avoid given that its a highly rentable property. I would rather just give you the deposit than spend it on legal advice and avoid the negativity of a debate.I am sorry about it but I cannot change how I feel - I can appreciate that it looks sudden to you but I flagged these points before I moved in and thought we could work together to remedy them; however the investment to rectify these issues is proving too high for me and I can completely understand that you might not want to make such and investment and can find someone who will be happy here.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hi Jamie - checking in if you are still on the case?

Sorry I was on the train. Ok - this is not a number for the UK?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hi jamie - no I only have a netherlands mobile number (work number) - might be too late now?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
you can also give me a time in the morning if that works - early is fine. thank you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
if we can agree a time then I can ring you no problem.

let me know when would be good to call.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Now is good - shall I ring you if you don't want to make international call? if not my number is +316 111 89098.

Ok