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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 18744
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I am currently living with my Landlady since March 2020. We

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Hello,
JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: I am currently living with my Landlady since March 2020. We had a verbal agreement about a 6 months contract until the 24th of September, I have just email and never signed anything. Because of the quarantine, she was doing her with her parents, we barely lived together and a couple of weeks ago she asked me if I wanted to extend the contract until March 2021. Which I have agreed, again by email. Since she moved in again however we are having a lot of issues until yesterday where suddenly the washing machine stops working, of course with my clothes inside, and the door cannot be unlocked. Since yesterday she is accusing me to have broken her washing machine and ask for paying the repair, she also let me call the customer service. The engineer still hasnt come and I have agreed to pay half of that which honestly I still do not believe I should give any money, but I gave the money in order to return to our initial tenancy contract, so the 6 months one, which is going to end on the 24th of september. She agreed and again I have everything by email, she asked for three months notice and I gave the notice today.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: My question is, can I leave earlier? Now I am worried that she is going to let me pay for everything that will be broken in the house, or that she will refuse to give me the deposit back
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: No, it is the first time I contact a legal.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: nope.

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service.

so you never signed anything written?

and she is now back living in property?

have you used washing machine before this incident?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, no I have never signed anything I have just got correspondance by email and whatsapp. I have used the washing machine before and never had any problems, actually she used the washing machine the day before me and she said that it was working fine. I do not know if this is true because actually the day she was using apparently the washing machine turned off without any apparent reason, but otherwise it was fine and she could not opened it. The next day I have used but I cannot open the door anymore, it is stuck.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sorry I meant she could open the door of the washing machine without any problems apparently

I have had exactly the same with the washing machine. The washing machine is broken but as far as I am aware it’s impossible for the user to do this. It just happens. Time for a new one.

You are a lodger and therefore in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, you are only obliged to give one months notice. By the same token however the landlord/landlady is only obliged to give you one months notice.

Although it doesn’t necessarily apply in respect of a lodging agreement, any disposal (which includes a mortgage a sale or lease) of property has to be “evidenced in writing and signed by the parties”

my argument in your favour therefore is the email wasn’t signed and therefore it doesn’t comply with the requirements of the Law of Property Act 1925. As such, the verbal agreement to extend to 2021 is not binding and you only have to give one months notice.

If the landlady feels different, she’s going to have to issue Small Claims Court proceedings against you.

Incidentally, it is only one month notice, not three regardless of the Corona Virus Act.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Thank you.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, and thanks a lot of your help. So, just for clarifying, even if we have a verbal agreement and emails in which is specified that my tenancy will end on the 24th of September and I have already given the 3 months of Notice which is also specified in the emails. If I find a new place and I want to move out in July I can give one month notice and move out? I feel like in a very bad situation cause my landlady also said something like "I hope you do not break anything else in the next three months" which makes me think that I have to be very extra careful to use any appliances and also that she is going to keep the deposit finding things to repair. I do not think that this situation can go on for three more months.

If it were not in an agreement that you had a longer term, you only have to give one months notice.

It therefore depends on the nature of the emails as to whether that would amount to an agreement or not.

I think it would be useful if I explained how contract/agreement is formed. The words contract and agreement are interchangeable.

For there to be a contract there needs to be:

1 an offer and

2 an acceptance and

3 consideration.

An offer can be accepted at any time until it is withdrawn.
An acceptance has to be unqualified and without conditions or extra stipulations otherwise it takes place as a counter offer which is then subject to acceptance by the original offering party.
Acceptance doesn’t have to be verbal, it can be by conduct.
Consideration doesn’t need to be financial, it just needs to be something of value passing from one person to another although the value can be nominal such as a peppercorn. If any agreement is by deed, then there is no need for any consideration although the majority of deeds do specify consideration.

F E Smith and 7 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
and thank you for your help. There is an agreement via email about vacating the property on the 24th of September with three months notice. I have already given my three months notice last Friday 05/06/2020. This is all written by email. Is it still valid the one month notice even if in the email is specified about the 3 months notice and that my tenancy agreement will finish in September?
If the one month notice is valid, what do you suggest to do in order to be legally protected and do things right?Kind Regards
Marcella

If the agreement ends in September anyway it would normally determine on that date regardless of notice although you would normally be expected to give one month prior regardless of what it says in the tenancy agreement, purely so the landlord knows that you are going to go.

I would leave the notice as it is, vacated in September, and then deal with whatever the landlord throws at you because let’s face it, you can argue to your blue in the face at present, if the landlord isn’t going to take any notice, it’s a waste of time even discussing it.