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View Full Version : Tenant wishing to break a lease - new to the UK



anonymous coward
23-05-2005, 16:26 PM
Hi - I'm new to England so I'm not sure how tenancy agreements work here, so apologies for what is a question you've all probably heard asked a hundred times before.

My question is this: if I sign up for a fixed term lease of 6 months but need to leave the property after 3 months, what are my obligations? Is covering the reasonable costs of the landlord in finding a new tenant sufficient? Is there a way to safeguard this? Can they take my bond?

I am concerned that I will be required to pay out the term of the lease regardless of whether the landlord manages to find someone else.

I'm not trying to scam the landlord, but there is the possiblility that I will have to go back home (Australia) at short notice. The law in Oz is that you are required to pay the landlord's reasonable costs in getting a new tenant, and the rent until that happens. This usually amounts to paying for a newspaper advertisement.

Incidentally, what does AST mean?

Tax Accountant
23-05-2005, 17:13 PM
AST stands for Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Such tenancies have to be capable of lasting at least 6 months and gives the landlord protection in repossessing his property by following proper procedures.

I believe that all new residential tenancies are now AST's.

Strictly, you are responsible for the full period of the agreement, ie 6 months.

You should speak to your landlord and agree what is acceptable to both parties in allowing you to break your tenancy. Either of you could find an acceptable replacement. In that case, your liability would be limited to the reasonable expenses incurred by your landlord plus of course the rent until the date when new tenant moves in. By allowing a new tenant to move in, he will effectively have terminated your tenancy by mutual consent.

Paul_f
23-05-2005, 20:24 PM
Karongo hasn't actually given you clear guidance, although some of it holds good. The correct procedure is as follows:


If you want to leave before the end of the fixed term, the landlord has to accept your early determination, and must make every endeavour to find another acceptable tenant, but...................
You will have to pay the rent until this happens or until the end of the fixed term, and pay the landlord's reasonable expenses to replace you; you should have been advised from the outset of this eventuality occurring and your financial liability.
The deposit should state if it is held against dilapidations, and/or rent, but not all AST's are written well enough to state this clearly, and any rent arrears might be deducted from the deposit. You also need to know whether the deposit was held as landlord's agent (even if held by the landlord himself) or stakeholder, which means you have a say in what happens to it. (Read my article which can be accessed from the home page under articles if you want to find it out!). If it doesn't say then it's open to interpretation.