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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Due to a psycho house mate - I had to move out of a property.

Customer Question

Due to a psycho house mate - I had to move out of a property. I am currently not living there, but still paying rent. The house mate has changed the locks so I do not now have access to the property. Do I still have to pay rent? Its a joint tenancy. and the contract is with the landlord.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.
Thank your for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Is it an Assured Shorthold Tenancy?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.

When did it end and was there a break clause?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The contract ends on 6th October 2013.

I moved out on April 20th and have been duly paying rent since. I have just gone through the contract and there doesn't seem to be a break clause.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.

Will the land lord release you?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I pay half the rent... the existing tenant pays the other half, I was told by the estate agent that I have to pay rent as I signed the contract with the landlord. The landlord has not offered. He has said I legally have to pay him? Is this correct, especially now I do not have any access to the property?

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.

I'm afraid it is correct in short but he cannot exclude you.

His attempt to exclude you is completely unlawful and you are free to re enter and sue him for the cost.

However, unfortunately the fact that there are disputes with another tenant does not mean that you can escape an AST sadly. They are very hard to escape. You pretty much have to show something like gutting through fire damage or flooding.

If you do give notice then the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement and he won't get forever to achieve that. He should be looking now and you don't seem to be describing him doing so.

I'm very sorry if this is bad news

Can I help further?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't understand, so if the landlord knows I have been out of the property since april. and him and the estate agent have told me I can't get out of the contract and I have to pay.. Why didn't they tell me I could give notice?


Do I have to give written notice? I didn't think I can break the contract? Can he sue me if he doesn't find someone to fill the room?


So is he breaking the contract by not giving me a key?



Expert:  Remus2004 replied 4 years ago.
Yes, notice does need to be in writing although obviously you are not lawfully entitled to give notice at all.

In principle, if they can't find a replacement for you with reasonable effort then you are liable until the end of the AST