PDA

View Full Version : Can we end AST early, due to disrepair?



Amberface
13-03-2009, 16:40 PM
Hi there, I have an assured shorthold tenancy til the end of October. However me and my housemate would like to leave.

Basically, we have lived here for a year and a half, during which time, the landlady has not fixed the damp, (was promised) Cleaned the garden (was also promised) and also the rent was put up by a little, and no new tenancy agreement was written to take this into account, we were just 'told' and had to accept it. The flat is also FULLY MANAGED by our estate agents.

I have read a few clauses in our tenancy agreement, which clearly states the landlady is obliged BY LAW to keep the flat in working order. And there is also another clause which states: 'the tenant might be allowed to surrender or give up this tenancy before it could otherwise be lawfully ended'.

If we were to move out at the end of next month, it would be the end of a 6 month contract (which we thought we had til we read the renewal, and it was infact for 12 months)

We don't really know where to start, or what to say, we just want to get out of this place, it's almost uninhabitable.

Please give us some advice, we're at our wits end, it's driving us crazy! :(

fallenlord
13-03-2009, 16:51 PM
hello,

Its late on a friday so i just want to double check something with you....your rent was increased, but no new tenancy agreement issued to relect the increase, but at the same time your half way through a 12 month tenancy (which you thought was 6 months)...?

mind the gap
13-03-2009, 16:55 PM
I'm afraid the messy garden and a bit of damp are not in themsleves sufficient grounds to annul a tenancy. From what you have said, it would seem that you cannot legally end your tenancy early unless:


(i) there is a break clause written into your contract which allows you or the LL to terminate the tenancy after the first 6 months of an AST - is there one? What was the whole clause from which you quoted the bit about a surrender? Out of context, it means very little!

...or,

(ii) you can persuade your LL to agree a formal surrender - perhaps for a fee. The LL is not obliged to agree and if she does not, then you are legally bound to pay the full rent and bills until the end of October.

I'm afraid this is the price you pay for not going through contracts with a fine toothcomb before you sign them - sorry.

And I agree with the previous poster - it would seem you have renewed a tenancy, so she was within her rights to increase the rent.

Amberface
13-03-2009, 16:56 PM
Sorry... It all just came out in a blur!

We reached the end of our 6 month contract and got a letter through saying theyd put it up.

We went in to renew for another 6 months (which they did for 12 :mad:) and this was nearly 6 months ago and we still don't have a new tenancy agreement, in fact we have the one which was given to us in OCTOBER 07.

We're confused to say the least :P

Amberface
13-03-2009, 17:03 PM
From what you have said, it would seem that you cannot legally end your tenancy early unless:


(i) there is a break clause written into your contract which allows you or the LL to terminate the tenancy after the first 6 months of an AST - is there one? What was the whole clause from which you quoted the bit about a surrender? Out of context, it means very little!

...or,

(ii) you can persuade your LL to agree a formal surrender - perhaps for a fee. The LL is not obliged to agree and if he does not, then you are legally bound to pay the full rent and bills until the end of October.

I'm afraid this is the price you pay for not going through contracts with a fine toothcomb before you sign them - sorry.


Is this the break clause?

"Strictly with the landlords or his agents prior written consent and subject to certain conditions that may include the landlords resonable costs associated with the reletting of the premises, the tenant might be allowed to surrender or give up this tenancy before it could otherwise be lawfully ended"

mind the gap
13-03-2009, 17:03 PM
Sorry... It all just came out in a blur!

We reached the end of our 6 month contract and got a letter through saying theyd put it up.

We went in to renew for another 6 months (which they did for 12 :mad:) and this was nearly 6 months ago and we still don't have a new tenancy agreement, in fact we have the one which was given to us in OCTOBER 07.

We're confused to say the least :P

When you say 'we went in to renew', did you actually sign an agreement? If not, you could try writing to them and putting it to them that since you have neither signed nor agreed a new 12 month tenancy from last October in writing, then you can only assume you are on a periodic tenancy following the expiry of your last AST. Ask them to confirm the stautus of your tenancy by issuing you with a copy of the relevant tenancy agreement, signed by you.

If they cannot prove you have a current AST, then you are in a strong position to argue you are in fact on a periodic tenancy. If so, you can give one month's notice ending on the last day of a rent period, and leave.

mind the gap
13-03-2009, 17:05 PM
Is this the break clause?

"Strictly with the landlords or his agents prior written consent and subject to certain conditions that may include the landlords resonable costs associated with the reletting of the premises, the tenant might be allowed to surrender or give up this tenancy before it could otherwise be lawfully ended"

No, since it does not give you the right to terminate, merely the possibility, if the LL agreees - which she may not.

fallenlord
13-03-2009, 17:08 PM
Im afraid you are a bit stuck then, as mind the gap points out, as you must honour the term of the Tenancy.

However there is a 3rd option - your letting agent may be willing (with your landlords agreement) for a fee to readvertise the property. You would then be liable for rent until another tenant moves in, which hopefully may mean your obligations end a bit quicker....

Amberface
13-03-2009, 17:13 PM
Ok, thanks for the help, much appreciated :)

Oh yeah during this time, the estate agents we were with decided to hand our flat over to another company so I think maybe some things might have got lost or misunderstood.

I will ask for the up to date tenancy agreement. I do believe we're on an AST not a periodic one, because we had to pay the fee for a new contract and we did sign for it. I just don't remember them saying, oh by the way it's for 12 months not 6. I really do remember stating, 6 months please.

I will also see if the landlady will agree to us leaving at the end of 6 months. She's been pretty laidback (considering she hasn't lifted a finger since we've been here!)

The flat needs gutting to be honest, and she could do that when we move out so that when new tenants come look at this place they won't be shocked at the state of it!

Thanks again

mind the gap
13-03-2009, 17:18 PM
Ok, thanks for the help, much appreciated :)

Oh yeah during this time, the estate agents we were with decided to hand our flat over to another company so I think maybe some things might have got lost or misunderstood.

I will ask for the up to date tenancy agreement. I do believe we're on an AST not a periodic one, because we had to pay the fee for a new contract and we did sign for it. I just don't remember them saying, oh by the way it's for 12 months not 6. I really do remember stating, 6 months please.

I will also see if the landlady will agree to us leaving at the end of 6 months. She's been pretty laidback (considering she hasn't lifted a finger since we've been here!)

The flat needs gutting to be honest, and she could do that when we move out so that when new tenants come look at this place they won't be shocked at the state of it!

Thanks again

It doesn't really matter what you said or what they said, it's what you signed up to, that matters!

Good luck - please come back and let us know how you got on!

PS Just a thought - is your tenancy deposit protected in a scheme? It should have been, as soon as you signed a new agreement at any time after 6. April 07. This may be crucial!

Amberface
13-03-2009, 17:27 PM
It doesn't really matter what you said or what they said, it's what you signed up to, that matters!

Good luck - please come back and let us know how you got on!

PS Just a thought - is your tenancy deposit protected in a scheme? It should have been, as soon as you signed a new agreement at any time after 6. April 07. This may be crucial!

We did... it's in a scheme, with the other agent! does that mean we lost it?!!

mind the gap
13-03-2009, 17:30 PM
We did... it's in a scheme, with the other agent! does that mean we lost it?!!

I would certainly hope not! But you should have been supplied with a ref number and a set of information about the scheme being used - were you?

If not, ask the new agent for it.

Amberface
13-03-2009, 17:38 PM
Yeah, I have the letter in a safe place, but will ask to see if anythings been changed. It'l be on their heads if it's been lost anyways Hehehe