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To refuse to let tenants move out on 24th December

(19 Posts)
ecuse Mon 24-Sep-12 09:56:00

I have a couple of students renting my single girl studio flat (I live in a one-bed flat rented flat with DP and DD about a mile away).

They're on a 12 month contract with an optional 6-month break clause, which is the standard around here. I have always used this type of contract. I explained it fully to them before they moved in.

The contract says either party can give notice at 5 months (Sep 23) to move out at 6 months (Oct 23) ONLY, otherwise it's a 12 month contract.

They contacted me last week to say they were considering exercising the break and ask whether they could leave on Nov 23, i.e. 7 months instead of 6. This is against the terms of their contract, but I couldn't see that it was any problem to me so I said yes of course, but could they let me know for definite by the original deadline for giving notice (yesterday).

They emailed back yesterday and said they want to move out on Dec 24 (Christmas eve!). I definitely do not want them to do this - massive pain for me to administer move out etc (I let privately, don't use an agent so would need to be there to do check-out inventory and take keys). Also I would need to do my own viewings in the three weeks or so running up to Christmas which will be a massive pain in the backside and the market is likely to be totally dead then, isn't it?

I can't really afford to have it stand empty if it can be helped. WIBU to tell them they can move out on Nov 23 or Jan 23 but not Dec 23? I don't want to be an arse, but the contract was in place for a reason, there's no way I would have signed a contract which allowed them to move out on Dec 24 or anywhere near it! Obviously I know that I'm legally within my rights to say no, but I want feedback as to whether I'm being unnecessarily arsey.

I wanted to sound you lot out as I don't think IABU but my reaction may be tinged by my being a bit irritated by them - they've been very needy and a bit hopeless, needed a lot of hand-holding for basic things. Nothing terrible but they just have made me sigh a bit. Also the reason they gave for moving out before the 12-months is up is that the (Japanese) female half of the couple is moving back home to Japan at Christmas and the guy won't be able to afford the rent on his own. This is mildly irritating as they told me she would be going home before they moved in, but assured me he would want to stay and take on the rent by himself (well, actually, his parents are subsidising him) when she left. I know they're within their rights to terminate the contract for any reason, and his circumstances may have changed, but I feel slightly irritated by it anyway. So there's that. I want to be sure I'm being fair to myself and them as far as possible.

Iggly Mon 24-Sep-12 09:58:29

YANBU. Or they can move out if they like on 24 Dec but they pay until Jan 23? They'd be obliged to come back for the check out etc (we actually did something similar - moved out earlier but paid up and came back for check out etc). If they don't you keep the deposit.

The guy is staying I assume? So he could come back.

piratecat Mon 24-Sep-12 10:00:41

think i would say oct 23, is the date you go. they are pushing it. i would stick to the contract.

MrDobalina Mon 24-Sep-12 10:00:43

really? why do they want to move all their stuff on christmas eve???? are they flying on Xmas day then??

Are you sure there hasnt been a misunderstanding/they have confused dates or domething?

FluffyJawsOfDoom Mon 24-Sep-12 10:00:58

YANBU

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 24-Sep-12 10:01:23

YANBU. Telling them they can move out on 23rd of November or 23rd of January would be perfectly reasonable.

ecuse Mon 24-Sep-12 10:01:31

Yep, the guy will still be here, just looking for somewhere cheaper to rent (in a house share, I assume). I may suggest that as an alternative, thanks.

MrSunshine Mon 24-Sep-12 10:02:53

Well, you can't stop them moving out whenever they like, its how much they pay you that matters in effect.
Tell them if they don't move out by nov 23rd they will owe you the rent for the remainder of the 12 month contract, irrespective of whether they leave or not.

Merrow Mon 24-Sep-12 10:03:13

Could you say they could move out then if they found replacement tenants themselves? That's generally how people I know have managed to get out of contracts. Otherwise I think you're fine to say not Christmas eve.

SlipperyNipple Mon 24-Sep-12 10:07:17

I think it is fine to say no to the 24th and tell them why. You have reasons.

My mum had to do similar with her lodgers. They had given her one date to move out and then with two weeks to go said they had made a mistake and tried to change the dates. They wanted a date when my mum was on holiday so was not on hand to check the room etc. So she said no. She got some flack but really people have to take responsibility for themselves. You run a business not a charity.

SlipperyNipple Mon 24-Sep-12 10:08:32

She may want to approve tennants herself.

dreamingbohemian Mon 24-Sep-12 10:09:10

I've rented all my life, and normally side with tenants smile but I think YANBU.

I think it's fair to say either November or January 23. That is still doing them a favour, by not holding them to the full 12 months.

I do think though it could be an option to let them leave in December if they pay up until 23 January. Okay maybe not leave on 24 December, but perhaps mid-month? If the flat is nearby, it's only a studio, how long could check out take? I've never had one take more than 15 minutes.

Then you would have a flat empty but paid for, that perhaps family or friends could borrow over the holiday period smile

ecuse Mon 24-Sep-12 10:21:18

Thanks, you lot. I am going to email them back before anyone turns up to tell me IABU!!

FelicitywasSarca Mon 24-Sep-12 10:27:53

Yanbu

They can leave whenever they like but if its December 24th they pay til Jan 24 th to give you time to get new tenants in. You are not a charity, and no one will want to move in over Christmas.

Emsmaman Mon 24-Sep-12 12:12:06

I'm a bit confused about the type of lease: I have always been on 12 months with a six month break clause which meant that notice could be given from 6 months, in which case what they are asking is reasonable. Never heard of only being able to break at ONLY 6 or 12 months - maybe they didn't understand and by agreeing a Nov move date may have made them understand it that way. Also being a landlord I have been screwed by people leaving at xmas leaving me with up to a month of vacancy, but it just goes with the territory, not everything goes your way as a landlord and you shouldn't plan or rely on 12 months' occupancy.

ecuse Mon 24-Sep-12 12:25:27

Emsmaman the contract is really clear - it is essentially a 12 month fixed term with one opportunity only to break at 6 months. This is always how mine have been written and I did explain that to them before we signed contracts. It's possible they misunderstood but I think their request was worded in a way that suggested they knew they were asking for a contract variation (/favour).

Of course if they were on a rolling tenancy and chose to gave notice for Christmas there would have been nothing I could do about it, but that definitely isn't the case here.

CherylWillBounceBack Mon 24-Sep-12 12:49:30

YADNBU - they signed up for a contract presumably understanding the terms laid out before them. Simple as that. If they wanted a more flexible arrangement, they should have negotiated it beforehand. If you can all find a compromise, great. If not, the onus and responsibility is there's. Like dreamingbohemian, I'm as pro-tenant as you can be, but the tenant has to adhere to what they sign up for too.

CherylWillBounceBack Mon 24-Sep-12 12:50:25

Should be 'their' not there. I am disgusted with myself.

LivingInAGoldBubble Mon 24-Sep-12 13:04:31

As a tenant myself I think YANBU, although we moved house once on 23rd Dec and there were lots of people apparently moving at the same time! We even hosted Christmas at ours! You are doing them a favour by changing the contract, surely they can meet you halfway and go a month early or later?

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