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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 30007
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My partner and I are currently on the lease of shared

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My partner and I are currently on the lease of shared property (in London) with a break clause at 6 months dating to 4th December. On October 3rd, we alerted our housemates, the landlord, and the agency of our intention to move out on the above date. We agreed that we would do a change of tenancy, rather than end the lease, with the remaining housemates agreeing to find a replacement of their liking. Four weeks later, our housemates complained that they had offered the room to two potential replacements, but each had declined due to a problem with mould and damp damage to the main bathroom and a wall shared with the room on offer. The landlord had been alerted to this damage on April 23rd, and subsequently chased several times for this repair. With the added pressure of finding a replacement, the landlord agreed to do the work and confirmed on Sunday 7th October that work would start on Wednesday 10th October. With one bathroom being completely out of order, the only bathroom in working order would be mine and my partner's en-suite. With this in mind and the possibility of the wall shared with the bathroom under work being replaced, we offered to move out before the work started and agreed that we would be refunded our remaining rent for the month. The landlord stated that he would cover my and my partner’s share of the rent while the work was carried out, but this should be before 4th December, and as such our housemates should still work to that date to find a replacement. With the uncertainty that comes with building works and the potential for further work to be carried out to the en-suite bathroom, the work may continue until January. My partner and I want to absolve ourselves of all liability for the lease and rent and are unsure what our options are.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me where the property is located?
Customer: In the UK, London
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I think that I've provided as much context as I can

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

I am very sorry to read of the above and I imagine how frustrating it must be. I will certainly try to clarify the position for you.

May I confirm if you're joint tenants are willing to exercise the break clause with you if necessary would they be unwilling to do so please?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hello Joshua, thank you for your initial response.The join tenants had previously expressed that they did not want to exercise the break clause, as they would like to remain in the property.

thank you. The position in relation to joint tenants is different as between the fixed period of the tenancy and after the initial fixed period. During the fixed period of the tenancy, all the joint tenants need to give notice together to end the tenancy so therefore, to exercise the break clause validly, all of you would need to give notice jointly. If one of you does not, then the break clause is not validly exercised.

By contrast, after the end of the fixed period, anyone of you can give notice on behalf of everybody whether they like it or not and that notice would end the tenancy for all of you with or without their consent.

From what you describe, you are presently still within the initial fixed term of the tenancy but have the option of a break clause however, as we have discussed above, you are reliant in this respect upon your joint tenants jointly exercising the break clause with you and from what you describe, they may not be willing to do so though of course you could potentially revisit this point with them.

If they refuse however, then you would need to look at replacing yourselves as tenants as I understand you are presently trying to do. It is understandable that the current condition of the property in particular, the need for works is putting off prospective tenants in this regard. You could ask the landlord to reduce the rent which I understand the landlord is open to doing to account for the works that are needed and the reduction in the enjoyment you will have from the property in this respect. The issues you describe are clearly unpleasant but in themselves, they will not be sufficient to justify a repudiation of the tenancy on your part-that is to say for you to terminate the tenancy unilaterally. For this, you would need to show that the property is largely uninhabitable.

Accordingly, if you are not able to secure the agreement of your joint tenants to exercise the break clause, your options are relatively limited in this respect to attempting to secure a replacement tenant on the basis of the condition of the property as it is in the assurance that works are to be carried out which I agree may not be straightforward and demanding a reduction in rent from the landlord to account for the condition of the property and the associated loss of amenity. It may be that if your joint tenants are unwilling to cooperate in respect of the break notice, you may have limited options in terms of securing a replacement tenant until such time as the work is completed. You could of course offer to pass on some of the rent reduction or indeed all of it to any prospective tenant as an inducement to take over the tenancy before any works are completed which can be an effective approach in encouraging interest

I hope the above is of some assistance but if you have any further questions, please revert to me.

I trust the above was of assistance and that you do not have any follow up questions for now. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer and see you again in the future I hope.

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