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Lauritz
16-06-2005, 10:03 AM
Hello I have the following problem and need avice to if there is a law that would allow me to leave without giving 2 month notice:

I rent a flat with a short term tenancy (6 month) that ends mid July. I now was told I cannot leave at the end of this contract because i would have had to tell the landlord in may (2 month before).
Now in addition to that the landlord wished to raise the rent for the next agreement. But I don't want to stay! not even 2 more month...

Is there a way to get out at the end of the lease instead of 2 month after it? Does the fct that the landlord raises the rent give me that opportunity maybe? I mean, after all, I signed a contract for 6 month so why do I have to pay 8 (or 7 if i give notice now, 1 month before end) ?

Anyone able to tell me if there is a trick to get out faster? the thing is that i have a new flat I would like to move in but there is no way it will stay on the market untill august and i cannot reserve it for more then 3 weeks. and paying double rent is impossible for my budget.

any ideas? :rolleyes: your help will be much appreciated

attilathelandlord
16-06-2005, 10:10 AM
If you had a fixed term contract that ends in july (for 6 months only) then you can leave without notice, you have fulfilled your part of the contract.

If you had a fixed term contract for 12 months with a break clause after 6 months then you need to look at what your contract says about notice periods etc.

If they won't give you the deposit back, then sue them through the small claims court.

Lauritz
16-06-2005, 10:24 AM
thanks ! the contract defenitely is only for 6 month... and then i would have to renew it. Still the letting agency claims i cannot move out at the end of the contract as I didn't give the 2 month notice after 4 month ... so they are wrong?

P.Pilcher
16-06-2005, 13:24 PM
Unless the lease contains specific requirements with regards to notice, if you wish to leave at the end of the fixed term, as I understand it, you can move out on the last day without saying anything to anybody. You may have a little difficulty in getting your deposit back though despite the fact that you are entitled to it. May I suggest that if there are no such terms in your lease, you write to your landlord/agent advising them that you will be vacating the property on (or before) the appropriate date, request an inspection to determine whether there is any reason for deposit deductions to be made and advise that you expect your deposit to be refunded within (say) 7 days of vacating.

P.P.

Lauritz
16-06-2005, 13:35 PM
what if i use the deposit as the last rent? can't do that, can I ? that would make things much safer for me...

and yes, there IS a paragraph saying both the landlord as well as the tenant have to give 2 month notice to leave as long as it's after the first 6 month. but it's hard to make out if that means it only applies after the 6 month in case i resign or not. It does no where say that the contract is renewed automatically so i figure they can't force me to stay for 2 month after the contract.

-- edit -- here is the exact phrasing of that paragraph:

the landlord may end the tenancy by giving not less than 2 months
notice in writing expiring at any time after the full term of this
agreement. The tenant may end the tenancy by giving the landlord not less than two months notice in writing expiring at any time after the full term of this agreement.
so does that mean the tenant must give written notice after 4 month that he will leave at the end of the tenancy? and as I did not do that I have to stay 2 more month even if I don't resign another contract? the contract clearly states that it ends the 17. of July (after the 6 month).

Thanks for your help, it's important to me to understand this as I cannot afford to pay double rent for 2 month but I do want to change flat desperately in July...

zoe
16-06-2005, 16:45 PM
lauritz

The contract you have with the letting agent is rubbish.

You only need to provide one months notice regardless of what is in the contract unless there is a special clause. Also the wording is so crap it won't stand in court. Best thing you could do is to write and explain your intentions and say that if they withold your deposit to cover any cost they believe they have incurred due to this that you will take the to court. you will win in court as you are right but there are so many agents who simply do not know the law.

Zoe

Lauritz
16-06-2005, 18:10 PM
so you'd say I can go and give them the on month's notice tomorrow (as tomorrow is 1 month away from teh end of contract) and I should be fine leaving in a month at the date the rental agreement ends....

i'm asking again because it's very important to me and i have to decide tomorrow and if i give the letter there is now way back....

zoe
16-06-2005, 18:15 PM
You don't need to give any notice to end the fixed term. The one months notice only applies outside the term. The contract they have provided you with is poorly worded and talks about two months notice which probably won't hold up in court.

If you write to them and tell them you are leaving at the end of the six montsh they will not be very happy as they probably do not realise that the contract they have given you is not very good. Most agency's use simular contracts and most tenants will do as they are told as they simply do not know their rights.

If you want to leave without giving two montsh notice you can but be prepared to go to court if they do not play ball.

Zoe

PaulF
19-06-2005, 21:17 PM
Lauritz. Zoe is telling you as it is. The agents are not up to speed on the legalities of letting so recommend that they should go on a few training courses.

Athough you shouldn't withhold the last months rent it might be wise to do so if they will not agree with the fact you want to move at the end of the fixed term, and they cannot penalise you in any way for wanting to do so. It doesn't matter one jot what the wording says about giving notice if you want to leave when the six months is up.

You could also show their tenancy agreement to your local Trading Standards Officer who should endorse your viewpoint, and might even write a stern letter to them too!

Lauritz
20-06-2005, 05:25 AM
Thank you all so much for your advice! It has reassured me a lot and I now have informed the letting agency that I would not renew the contract but vacate the premises at the end of our contract. I did tell them to use the deposit to pay the last rent, that might have been a bit bold, but the way I have seen this agency work I know they would keep "forgetting" about my deposit and "loosing" letters for month untill I might eventually get it. I have not heard from them yet but I will post here as soon as I do so you can see the outcome.

meanwhile let me tell a funny story about my agency: last week, I received a letter asking me to make an appointment to renew the tenancy agreement, and also asking me about the details of a fire that had occured in the building this month. (fortunately not in my flat)
This letter was dated 6th of May for some reason, I thought it was just a mistake...
When I replied to the letter, they told me I should have replied much earlier as they already wrote that in may !! Funny thing is, how could they write me in may about a fire that only happened mid-june?!? I believe they had forgotten to ask about the renewal and thought to fix this by dating the letter a month earlier and blaming me. To bad they made the mistake talking about the fire, tehehehe :)

Jennifer_M
20-06-2005, 10:09 AM
meanwhile let me tell a funny story about my agency: last week, I received a letter asking me to make an appointment to renew the tenancy agreement, and also asking me about the details of a fire that had occured in the building this month. (fortunately not in my flat)
This letter was dated 6th of May for some reason, I thought it was just a mistake...
When I replied to the letter, they told me I should have replied much earlier as they already wrote that in may !! Funny thing is, how could they write me in may about a fire that only happened mid-june?!? I believe they had forgotten to ask about the renewal and thought to fix this by dating the letter a month earlier and blaming me. To bad they made the mistake talking about the fire, tehehehe :)

:D Excellent !! :rolleyes:

Tax Accountant
20-06-2005, 17:28 PM
Perhaps you should consider writing to the agents and asking them what evidence they have that the letter was written and posted to you in May.

They may just shoot themselves in the foot again.

Then, after a decent interval, ask them if they could confirm the date of the fire so that you could look into the details which they have requested from you.

Ramnik

Lauritz
24-06-2005, 21:19 PM
here a little update and another question:

the agency accepted my leaving at the end of the lease after very little struggle, so you guys were (of course) right with your advice and I'm glad I followed it. :)

There is still one issue left though: I withheld the last month's rent because I am pretty sure I will never see my deposit again otherwise. The letting agency has so far "lost" every single letter i wrote them, never returned a phonecall and failed to inform the landlord on several occations, including the fact that i won't be staying (which the landlord didn't appreciate). The only way to get anything done with this agent was to drive to their office, hand them my requests in writing and have them sign that they received them.

Now I was thinking that I could get them to simply use the deposit to pay the last rent, but they insist that the deposit cannot be used as rental payment. Unfortunately, there is indeed such a clause in our contract:

It is agreed, that this sum shall notbe transferable by the Tenant in any way, and at any time against payment of the rent and that no interrest shall be payable on this deposit.

now this is not exacly well formulated in "layman's terms" but it is still clear that I cannot use the deposit for the last rent payment... or am i wrong?

My question is now: is there any other way I can assure that I get my deposit back in reasonable time? (they say: please note that return of the deposit can take up to 6 weeks. and I don't believe even that, the way I know them) Could I for example withhold the rent until the deposit has been payed back to me?

zoe
24-06-2005, 21:31 PM
if you don't pay them the last months rent, there is not much they can do.

If you decide to pay and they then withold rent - small claims court I am affraid !!

zoe
24-06-2005, 21:33 PM
Could I for example withhold the rent until the deposit has been payed back to me?

This make no sense, money is money !! And they won't pay the deposit to you whilst you owe them rent. Have you been drinking !!!

Zoe

Lauritz
24-06-2005, 22:32 PM
This make no sense, money is money !!

well, yes, but legally, that is not always the case i thought...

but yea, I can see what you mean .. but I can assure you my confusion has nothing to do with drinking, I was born this way :rolleyes:


if you don't pay them the last months rent, there is not much they can do

so in your opinion, what should I tell them then? they are asking me to pay the last rent at once and then wait up to 6 week untill they pay me my deposit (the exact same amount) back. I need to give them an answer... and I'm not sure if "have you been drinking" will do :D

Lauritz
24-06-2005, 22:36 PM
And they won't pay the deposit to you whilst you owe them rent.

hmm, I have been thinking: If I do nothing I will owe them 350£ rent while they will owe me 350£ deposit... I do't think they will go to court for that, will they?
Or do they have other ways without a court? I don't really know how it works in this country? they can't add tons of late fees on it then have it seized of my salary or something, can they? i'm scared now :eek:

MrWoof
25-06-2005, 07:39 AM
If you withold rent, they can evict you, this takes about 3 months but you are leaving anyway after one month. Your deposit can be used by them to cover this rent. Some contracts state that they can charge interest for late payments but I don't know if this would stand up in court, the amounts are so small that no-one will chase them anyway.


Or do they have other ways without a court? I don't really know how it works in this country? they can't add tons of late fees on it then have it seized of my salary or something, can they? No, they can't. :)

PaulF
27-06-2005, 14:27 PM
The simple answer to this is that the agent has demonstrated they are extremely inefficient and to withhold the last month's rent is sensible as far as I can see.

Six weeks to return a deposit I would say is an unfair contract term. Why nobody can spot such an obviously poor term beats me! The rest of the AST probably states a lot more that I would want to challenge too (or ignore)!

When the Housing Act 2004 comes into play possibly this October, landlords and agents are going to have to return all deposits within 14 days, and if there's a dispute, the disputed amount will have to be sent to the TDSRA within the same time parameters. You don't know what's going to hit you all; believe me you will have to adjust your procedures HUGELY

Lauritz
27-06-2005, 15:00 PM
Thank you for your answers!! It's very much appreciated.

I'm becoming more and more assured that I did the right thing by withholding the rent. This way I can decide myself which extra charges I pay and which I risk being claimed in court against me.
I have no problem paying repairs for possible damages in the property (like cigaret burn on the laminate floor), but I won't pay silly fees like "40£ for express return of deposit" or "50£ per letter they send me"... They are just trying to get the most of the deposit into their own pockets.

Another thing I will now be able to protect from being taken of the deposit is a CD-Storage shelf that was burned in the cellar fire i mentioned earlier. After the fire, I talked to the landlord asking her if I should add the CD rack to my claim for my burned things. She said she would make her own claim with her insurance. Now suddenly she told me that 1) her insurance does not pay it because she has no receipt for it, and THEN she tells me that 2) I should not have placed into the cellar so I will have to pay it from the deposit...
Now that I withheld the last rent the deposit will be covering the rent and for everythign else SHE will have to go to court instead of me having to try to get money back she took from me...

I am still scared of what will happen but I try to remain strong because they tried to cheat me on several occations so I don't feel they deserve more of my money then what was agreed on as rent of the property, because "services" where not existant that I would have to pay extra for...

cheers,

Lauritz

p.s. what did you mean by "Why does everybody "thrash about" for an answer?" Paul? Do you mean the questions us help-seeking people ask should be more structured?