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Apopcalyptic
02-05-2007, 19:12 PM
Hi All,

My fiance and I have been renting our current property for about 18 months now, but recently decided to buy, mainly for financial reasons.At one point we were sharing with another tenant, who left recently, leaving us to make up the shortfall in rent. Up until November last we were on six month tenancy agreements, at which point we agreed with the landlord a 12 month agreement.

Stupidly, we signed our lives away without properly scouring the document, or passing it to a solicitor to check over. Basically, nowhere in the agreement is there a break clause.

When we decided to buy, back in February we notified the managing agent of our intention to move on, and knowing that we were locked into a twelve month agreement requested that she get permission from the landlords to break the tenancy agreement. This was agreed upon condition that we pay for the advertising of the property to find new tenants, which we had no problem with. We expected that viewings would begin shortly after agreeing this.

With our completion looming, we've to date had a mere 3 viewings (which started mid-April), and we don't believe that the managing agent is taking sufficient action to try and find a tenant. Given that we're paying for this, we last week sent a written notice to quit on the 31st of May. In this notice we also advised that we would not be held responsible for the letting agents progress (or lack thereof!), and as a result we would be not held liable for rent after this date.

The managing agent was less than pleased with this, threating legal action through the landlords insurers.

After this long winded post, my question is : In our circumstances, given that we have actually given three months notice, and that the agreement has no break clause at all, will we be liable for rent? Also, what rights do we have pertaining to the lack of a break clause? We feel that we have given *more* than enough notice for our landlord/managing agent to find new tenants, and tbh we're now feeling pretty aggrieved at the threat of legal action!

Many thanks,

Apop.

attilathelandlord
02-05-2007, 19:18 PM
In the same way that the landlord cannot get you to leave earlier because it suits him, you cannot leave earlier because it suits you.

If there is no break clause in the contract, then there is no break clause and you cannot leave earlier without financial penalty. Maybe you'll read the contract next time when you have to sign something.

You will be liable for rent until the end of the fixed period or until the property is relet, whichever is sooner, although the landlord must take reasonable steps to relet.

It's a bit quiet at the moment for lettings, especially around May bank holidays.

In answer to your question about 3 months notice, you cannot give notice to bring the fixed 1 year period to an end before the fixed period has expired.

Apopcalyptic
02-05-2007, 19:26 PM
You will be liable for rent until the end of the fixed period or until the property is relet, whichever is sooner, although the landlord must take reasonable steps to relet.


Thanks for the response Attila. What constitutes reasonable steps on the part of the landlord? We actually found out that the managing agent did not even advertise the property until the end of March. Given that she was informed at the middle of February, and we're only financially penalised if there is no new tenant, has she taken reasonable enough action (again stressing that we're paying for this)?

attilathelandlord
03-05-2007, 07:18 AM
And there's the rub! Reasonableness is so difficult to define.

In this case I would assume it's reasonable to start advertising straight away.

If you are paying for advertising costs etc then I would want to see documentary evidence of that advertising before I part with a penny. If they haven't advertised with due speed then I would be questioning exactly what is going on. Remind them of the above.

In the end, if you are buying a property you will have to move anyway. No doubt you will end up paying some penalty even if it is kissing your deposit goodbye.

If they come after you for the rest then they will have to prove they took reasonable steps to find another tenant, and then only the judge will decide what is reasonable or not.