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Failure to sign a tenancy - can you sue?

(7 Posts)
firstchoice Sat 16-Aug-14 19:32:21

Earlier this year I agreed verbally and via a number of emails to take a 6m tenancy on a holiday property. I explained that my marriage was on the rocks so it might be myself and my husband (and our children). Or by then, it might be just me and kids and I would need to claim housing benefit. The landlady asked for references. H being a guarantor was discussed and agreed. references were offered and taken up and H's work details were given.

Fast forward to now. I would be reliant on HB as it turns out. I don't know if it will come through as I jointly own a house with my husband. It seems that you must move in and then claim HB. The claim will take a couple of weeks and I would have to sign the tenancy first. I dont think H will be able to stand guarantor now. I am nervous about this as I would have to move my children's school on the hope 'it would all be okay' and HB would help me pay the rent.

I explained this to the landlady today and she was understandably upset that I might not be able to go ahead with the rental. I said that, without HB I could not. She said that H was guarantor and that we must.

I feel awful. I certainly didn't / don't want to mess her around.
She is really nice.

My Qu is: if I have agreed verbally and via email and supplied the details above, but cannot go through with the rental, can she sue me for breach of contract or anything else?

I am in Scotland, but the tenancy is in England.

Please advise if poss as it is Sat eve and I cant get any advice till Monday and I am really really worried

specialsubject Sat 16-Aug-14 19:39:44

check with shelter - but I think that if you haven't accepted the keys and haven't moved in then there is no tenancy if you haven't signed anything.

you don't need a signed tenancy if you move in and start paying rent, but if you've done neither of those things then the tenancy doesn't exist.

if you can't pay for it then you can't take it on. Understandably this is annoying all round, but it is how it is.

firstchoice Sat 16-Aug-14 19:45:10

thanks for your reply, Specialsubject.

I am not moved in, no keys etc. Was to be 2 weeks hence.
I don't even yet have a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Landlady said she'd send it recorded delivery for Monday.

Is it okay to sign for it?

I still hope the HB will be okay, of course, but am scared of any further commitment to something I may not be able to pay?

moldingsunbeams Sat 16-Aug-14 19:50:59

If you have not signed anything at all and do not have the keys or moved in you then legally she cannot do anything at all.
Just to add when I claimed HB after leaving ex it took three months to process.

firstchoice Sat 16-Aug-14 21:16:33

thanks, molding...

3 months... Yikes. I might not have enough saved up then sad

moldingsunbeams Sun 17-Aug-14 09:29:49

contact your council and ask them for a rough time taken for processing. They should be able to give you a rough idea.

If you have paid a deposit you will lose that but no keys/no tenancty agreement and not moved in means no legal tenancy and no legal obligation.

If you DO want the house then speak to her about what would happen if HB is delayed (our landlord was willing to wait)

Otherwise refuse to sign for tenancy agreement and send her an email saying you are unable to take tenancy due to a change of circumstances.

You only have to give notice/be tied into tenancy period if you have a tenancy through either a tenancy agreement or being a sitting tenant in a property you have moved in.

At the moment you are neither.

Greengrow Sun 17-Aug-14 10:33:57

English law generally accepts verbal contracts BUT and it is a big but for tenancies of properties I thought they had to be in writing to form a proper binding assured shorthold. Also I believe a guarantee has to be in writing signed by the guarantor and I understand your husband has not signed so again you may be okay.
If she will not accept you as tenant without a guarantor then she needs to know right away that you do not have one so she can rush to find another tenant.

Why do you have to leave the marital home? Couldn't you keep it and your husband moves out an din with his parents for example? Have you got a divorce solicitor? They are likely to say do not give up possession of the youse.

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