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.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask F E Smith Your Own Question
F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16923
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
18203470
Type Your Law Question Here...
F E Smith is online now

I am trying to get out of a lease due to feeling unsafe in

Customer Question

I am trying to get out of a lease due to feeling unsafe in the home.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Clapham south in London
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: We emailed Dexter's trying to get out of the lease with the business relocation break clause, since one of my flatmates lost her job, they said that won't work, it has to be a work transfer. They said if we want to break the lease, they need two months notice and there will be a fee of almost 3,500 pounds
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have taken action against flat two in the past and the police had to show up since they were physically threatening us
Submitted: 4 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

who is threatening you?

how long have you been there?

are the neighbours also privately renting?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Hello, We live in flat 1 and the neighbors in Flat 2 threatened us once with a hammer on Feb 14th 2020 and again on March 29th. The second time we called the police because they were pounding on our doors and windows to come fight them. It took weeks for the Police to bring them in for questioning, it was decided that they were not to speak to us again since they are unstable and we worry that anything can set them off. We told Dexters - the leasing company, that we don't feel safe and want to leave, they stated that we can only do so if it is consistent with the terms of the "business break clause - relocation".
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I thought we could use this clause if one of us lost their job - which one did. They stated the following:
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
34;I think there has been a misunderstanding of the Business Break Clause. You can only utilise this clause if you have been relocated with the same company, not if you have been made redundant. As per your contract business break clause as below."
"The Landlord agrees that should the Tenant be required, by the Employer that they are working for at the commencement of this tenancy, to permanently work from another office more than 30 miles from the site the Tenant worked from at the time he/she took up residence at the Premises then the Tenant shall have the right to bring the tenancy to an end at any time before the expiry of the term (but no earlier than 12 months (the fixed term) from the commencement date of this agreement, by the giving not less than two months written notice and upon the expiration of such notice at any time this agreement and everything herein contained shall
cease and be void, subject nevertheless to the right of the parties hereto in respect of any previous or pre-existing breach of any of the covenants herein contained. In order to exercise and validate this clause the Tenant will be required to provide to the Landlord or Landlord's Agent written confirmation from their Employer of such relocation at the point in which the break clause is to commence."
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Julien Thompson from Dexter's Stated:
Below is a breakdown of the cost to surrender the tenancy earlier than the original end date.Early surrender due:£2,541.00
Early surrender VAT due:£508.20
Apportioned check in cost:£66.00
Apportioned Landlord Admin fee: £220.00
Due total:
£3,335.20as tenants you will be liable for:
A proportion (being the number of months to be surrendered early as a percentage of the current fixed term) of the Landlord’s costs in sum of £144 (inc.) for an inventory clerk checking the new Tenant into the Property,
A proportion (being the number of months to be surrendered early as a percentage of the current fixed term) of the Landlord’s costs in sum of £480 (inc.) being the cost of administering the new Tenancy, preparing the Tenancy Agreement, collating references, checking the new Tenant’s Right to Rent and registering the deposit with an approved Government scheme.
As gesture of goodwill I can waive the cost for the apportioned Check In cost and the Apportioned Landlord Administration fee at a total of £286.00
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
We are trying to get out of this lease with either the business break clause since one of us has lost our job, or on the basis that we are living in unsafe conditions given the relationship we have with the flat above us.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I need to create a final response to Dexters that we want to move out by November 15th and that we will not be paying the amount listed.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
We have been living here since September 16 2019, our landlord bought this place maybe 5 years ago. Previous tenants also had issues with Flat 2. Flat 2 own and they have been living here for 20 years I believe.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 days ago.

If there is no break clause which applies in these circumstances, then if you leave you are responsible for the rent until the end of the term or until the landlord finds a new tenant. He is under a duty to mitigate his loss to try to find a new tenant.

You may have a potential cause of action against the landlord if the landlord is the landlord of the flat with these obnoxious occupiers. However if your landlord does not only of the slat, then he is obviously not responsible for it.

They are not able to charge you all the costs they charge. They can charge you a reasonable admin fee. They cannot charge checking costs.

They are prohibited by the Tenant Fees Act: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tenant-fees-act

BUT

you already have my comments about them charging rent until the end of the term.

The tenancy comes up to its 12 month anniversary in a couple of days. Was it for 12 months, or did you renew it?

I hear what they say about the Business Break Clause, it would depend whether it actually said that it had to be with the same companies

in respect of the Business Break clause, from the wording you have given me, it does quite clearly refer to the transfer being by the same employer. And it would need to be more than 30 miles away.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Please note that my answer is based strictly on the information that you have given me. If you have not given me all the information, then my answer may be incomplete or wrong.

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

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

Thank you.

Best wishes.

FES

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
We signed a two year contract, they made it seem like we cold break the lease if someone lost their job. The second part of the break clause was this:"If the Tenant requests to surrender the tenancy prior to the end of the fixed term, and the Landlord agrees to the surrender, then the Tenant will be responsible for rent until the earlier of the expiry of the tenancy under this agreement and the date the Landlord or a new tenant takes possession of the Premises. The Tenant will also be responsible for any reasonable costs the Landlord incurs in effecting a surrender of the tenancy and finding a replacement tenant. The Landlord will advise of the actual costs at the time of the request, each case being considered on its own merits. As a general guideline, these costs may include (but not limited to):• The letting fee of up to 11% + VAT (13.2%) of the rent from the date of early surrender until the original end date of the Tenancy,• A proportion (being the number of months to be surrendered early as a percentage of the current fixed term) of the Landlord’s costs in sum of £144 (inc.) for an inventory clerk checking the new Tenant into the Property, • A proportion (being the number of months to be surrendered early as a percentage of the current fixed term) of the Landlord’s costs in sum of £480 (inc.) being the cost of administering the new Tenancy, preparing the Tenancy Agreement, collating references, checking the new Tenant’s Right to Rent and registering the deposit with an approved Government scheme• For the surrender and grant of a new tenancy on similar terms, the Landlord’s costs would be £300 (inc.) plus any associated inventory costs.  • If the Tenant intends to vacate at the end of the fixed Term or later he must give the Landlord at least two clear months prior notice in writing.  "
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Are they able to charge all those fees? They stated that early surrender and VAT is due to the fact that it was Dexter's fee to bring in tenants for the Landlord. If they got 3 renters in for 2 years would it really be a 6k fee the landlord would owe dexters? I also asked if we would find 3 new renters, and they could go through the background checks, if they could take over and Dexters stated that they need an original person to stay on the lease. It just seems like they are trying to get this money out of us.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
How would I check if Dexters is a member of a redress scheme? If they are not, can this get me out of the lease?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 days ago.

The second clause you have given me in your first reply at 1058 says exactly what I told you earlier, you are liable for rent until the end of the term or until a new tenant takes up occupation.

The fees they have to charge have to be reasonable. They are going to incur a letting fee the end of the contract anyway so there is an argument that says it is not chargeable because all that happened is they are paying it sooner rather than later.

They don’t need an original person to stay on the lease.

If they have new tenants, they can remove everyone and replace them all.

By all means check to see whether they are a member of the Property Ombudsman scheme and if they are you can refer it to the Ombudsman.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
It seems that they are a member of the Proprty Ombudsman scheme. The most important part to me is that we should be allowed to find new suitable tenants, and just be required to pay for their background checks, and fees for the new contract. They legally can't make one of us live here if the landlord is okay with the new tenants we bring in. Especially since no money will be lost to either party.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 days ago.

I agree with you, everything you say.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Other than the Tenant Fees Act, is there anything else I can reference to prove my point?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 days ago.

The tenant fees act applies in respect of the charges. Otherwise as a earlier, what it says in the tenancy agreement about breaking early, doesn’t help you.