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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have a question regarding an early exit from a

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I have a question regarding an early exit from a 1-year, fixed-term lease.
I am a private tenant on my first contract for a semi-detached maisonette. The tenants in the bottom half of the maisonette are constantly noisy and anti-social, with late parties that run well into the next morning, e.g. tonight’s party lasted until 5:30am.
We have attempted to contact our landlord, the landlord of the neighbours property and the neighbour directly. The complaints stem the problems in the short term, but within weeks the noise returns. This has been happening since we first moved in, June 6th. We have been logging each disturbance and notifying our landlord after each event.
Before we moved into the property, my partner and I specifically asked about the neighbours, as we have had problems before. We were told that there was occasional TV noise, which is why he had moved our bedroom from being on top of the neighbour’s living room. When we discovered the true extent of the problem, our landlord claimed such behaviour was normal and “that’s just how renting in London is”.
Our contract contains a clause that allows us to find a replacement tenant, so long as we pay for a reference check and the new tenant has approval from the landlord. We would ideally want to come to an agreement with our landlord for a mutually preferable exit date, which would allow both parties to find suitable alternative tenants and properties.
Could you please let us know what our options are in this case. If you require any further information, please let me know.
Dan Nuttall
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I presume this is an AST?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jo,Yes, it's an AST.
When should it end?
June 2016?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We forgot to mention that we have already attempted to start proceedings with Environmental Health Services.Our final date should be 5th June 2016.
It is fair to say that it is very difficult to escape an AST. You have to show that the property is literally ‘uninhabitable’ which means something like flooding or gutting through fire damage. What you are describing would not get over the hurdle.
If the end date is June then you would be passed any break clause now.
You can obviously complain to EH about the downstairs tenant. If he is also the tenant of the landlord then you can complain to the landlord and he should take action but he can only do that if it is also his tenant.
If you are intent upon leaving early then you can escape liability by finding a replacement. Even if you cannot though, then the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement for you and he would not get forever to achieve that. Usually people are liable for one to two months or thereabouts.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Jo, this is as we feared.Our landlord has been very accommodating in the past. If we were to come to an agreement for an amended final date to the tenancy, would that be considered a binding update to the original contract?
You can leave at any time with consent.
If you both agree to terminate the agreement early then that is fine.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Our feeling is that there has been a breach of contract due to his lack of disclosure RE: the behaviour of the neighbours. We forgot to mention that our landlord was the previous inhabitant of the property, and he had lived with the neighbours for around a year when we replaced him. Do we have a case?
Not to escape I'm afraid.
Although it is a complaint that you could make to the landlord and he may agree for that reason.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That's useful, thanks.One last point - if we find a replacement tenant, and they pass reference / credit checks, under what grounds could the landlord refuse the new tenant?
That is always open to challenge.
If the contract is silent on the point then a court would infer that there should be no reasonable objection. The landlord's objection would be considered for reasonableness. Sometimes they do have reasonable objections - e.g tenant has a bad record etc - sometimes they are just being awkward.
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