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SS Legal Advisor
SS Legal Advisor, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 791
Experience:  Senior Caseworker at DL Solicitors
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Thank you! I have an AST agreement with 4 joint tenants, 2

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Hello, Thank you! I have an AST agreement with 4 joint tenants, 2 are moving out, my current agent contract states that I have to pay £1500 for ending the contract with them if the tenants stay, but as 2 are moving out, and 2 new are moving in, and I want to set up a new AST, I feel it's enough for me not to have to pay. But the agent disagrees and tells me that I still have to pay the full £1500. Do you think this is fair, and if they take me to court over it, will they win?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: spoke with the agent, written emails
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Manchester
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Can't think, no

Hi there,

I would review the arrangement you have with the agents and double check the terms and conditions of the letting agreement you have in place with them. If there is no reference to a payment for ending the contract, I would stand firm on this matter and not pay them.

Should they continue, I would consider reporting the agent to the property ombudsmen for breach of their duty and due diligence -

I hope this helps and please do let me know if I can assist with anything else.

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** have looked closely at the terms and conditions, and it does state a penalty for leaving the contract of 1 month rent plus VAT which is £1500, but it says if the Tenant stays in the property. As they're joint tenants the definition of Tenant there suggests to me that if the combination of tenants change (i.e. 2 old, 2 new) then theres a change in Tenant, and therefore I shouldn't have to pay. However the agent thinks i'm still liable. I've been advised to seek help from a solicitor to see if any agree with me, so that I can come back to them with more authority behind me.

Hi there,

If you like, are able to upload an extract from the contract. The definition of tenant in this case is definitely a sticking point which you can dispute.

Have you been in touch with any solicitors?

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you, ***** *****'t been in touch with any solicitors yet apart from yourself, but if I send you the contract, and you think I have a valid legal point that you could back, I just need a letter written from a solicitor if there is a legal argument to back up my interpretation of the contract as it's not clear, and it's a questions of what 'Tenant' implies. How much would you charge for the letter, if you can do one that is clearly from a solicitor. I don't know how this website works, i'm new to it. I'll send you the contract's on page 11 (section 7.3)
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Just to clarify, I have 4 joint tenants on the AST contract in the property currently, but 2 are leaving, 2 are staying. I've since been offered by the agent to just pay half the exit fee as a compromise, they said: "in order to come to a sensible resolution we propose that as half of your tenants are leaving, that the dis-instruction fee is also halved to reflect this." I can see why they are saying this, but the contract doesn't cover this circumstance clearly at all, so I believe either the full exit fee, or nothing is payable.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
You can also see at the top of that same page the definition of Tenant

Hi there,

Thank you for your email.

The wording is definitely ambiguous. I would continue to stand firm on this point as the terms of the agreement should stipulate what will happen in the event of a single tenant leaving.

As this is a proposal, you are free to reject it.

Kind regards,

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