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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7676
Experience:  UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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Good Morning, My landlord recently advised me that she would

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Good Morning, My landlord recently advised me that she would not renew my tenancy agreement in April 2015 as they had decided to sell the property. I emailed her back asking if she would agree to releasing me from the tenancy agreement if I found a house earlier as they are hard to come by in my area and coordinating a new house at the time my lease ended in April would be difficult. She emailed me back on 21st November saying the following "Moving out Before April. Understand completely that you want to start looking earlier and yes if you do find something happy for you to move out earlier than the end of your lease to avoid paying for two properties"
I have now found a property to rent based on her permission and paid a £300 good will deposit. My current landlord is now saying that she won't release me from the tenancy agreement until the end of February in spite of not stipulating an end time when she agreed to let me move earlier. I am concerned that she will hold me to paying rent until the end of the agreement and we will also lose the £300 deposit on the new house as I will not be able to go ahead with the tenancy. I am a single parent and cannot afford to lose £300 or my deposit. There have been and remain a lot of problems with the house and I will be very pleased to leave it as it has been problematic from the start with sewage issues, blocked drains, ongoing damp problems. I communicate with the landlord via emails so have kept all correspondence with her. Can she make me stay until the end of February? or until the end of the agreement?
Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.
A person remains bound by the terms of the tenancy agreement in these circumstances until such time as the landlord has formally released them from their obligations. This is usually done by an writted deed of surrender or surrender agreement signed by both parties.
The question is whether the landlord’s statement to you by email constitutes an agreement to give you a surrender in due course, it cannot be a surrender agreement itself because it is simply a statement of what she might do in the future.
I have to say that I would not be confident of defending a claim for the rent on the basis of that statement alone. It could be argued that it was not intended to be legally binding (which is what you would be hoping) and that it was a statement of her thoughts at the time.
Practicalyl, I would consider listing all the things that have gone wrong at the current property and put them together in the form of a letter alleging breach of contract by the landlord and stating that you will issue a claim for monies on account that you consider that should have been entitled to a reduction in rent for a loss of utility due to the breaches. Also state that you consider their refusal to release now to be a breach of their statement to release you earlier, which you consider is a legally binding statement (my view is that it does not quite reach this standard though).
Go as hard as you can but then state that you would consider settling the claim in consideration for being released from the current tenancy by a surrender agreement and the full return of the deposit. State that if you are not then you will remain in the property and proceed with the claim as vigorously as you can, this may be a bluff depending on the nature/loss of the breaches but it may provoke a more reasonable stance from the landlord.
You’re going to have to posture as hard as you can to get them to release you
My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.
Kind regards,
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