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We want to leave our rental contract early

(26 Posts)
justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 14:22:35

Due to a change in circumstances we need to leave our rented flat two months before the end of the AST. I realise that you are not meant to do this but there is no way round this due to relocation.

As soon as I knew this I worked out the latest possible day we could leave here due to finances and informed the landlord. This was giving 6 weeks notice. LL has ignored all of my attempts at contact for two whole weeks until today. This has included email, text and phonecalls.

Now they have refused to let us leave until end of our contract (mid Sept).

We have already had to apply for property in new location.

We are paid up here until mid July which is when we are wanting to leave. We have improved the property significantly during our time here and have agreed to leave everything as is to apologise for inconveneince. We are talking hundreds of pounds worth of fixtures, new carpets, light fittings, custom made curtains and blinds not to mention redecoration all the way through, although obviously you could not take that away. The amount of this stuff adds up to much more than we would owe by leaving two months early.

Our deposit is one month plus 100 and is in DPS.

What is the worst case scenario here? All my friends and family say just leave as they will not bother to go legal for one months rent payment.

However I am worried about the future repercussions, they do not want to talk to me about this so I do not know if they plan to pursue us for the one month rent.

If they do, we have no savings and literally no money to pay it anyway as will be paying rent at another place (which is even more due to rent rises).

Not sure if relevant but the tenants who were living above us they let leave after only 8 weeks with only one weeks notice, so I am not sure why they are unwilling to negotiate with us.

Also, there have been numerous problems with the property since we have been here and little has been sorted. This username is new to me but I posted about it under my old name which was two words beginning with TD.

Any advice appreciated.

amigagal Mon 16-Jun-14 14:29:56

We did this with three months to go. We ended up having to pay until the end of the lease or until they could get someone to replace us. Luckily they managed to rent it out after 6 weeks. They screwed us for the deposit though as they were p'd off.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 14:46:04

Pretty much know we will lose deposit and have to leave fittings but that is a risk we will need to take I reckon. So did you have to pay the 6 weeks rent? How did they bill you?

WhyBeHappyWhenYouCouldBeNormal Mon 16-Jun-14 14:49:54

Be aware you will get a rubbish reference and possibly marks on your credit rating if you just leave and they take you to court.

If it's only 2 months, why not just pay the last 2 months of rent but leave when you want, then you still get your deposit back, you get to take any fittings you want etc.

Seeing as your deposit is pretty big anyway I can't see that you will financially better off by leaving - only you'll leave with a landlord probably taking you to small claims (which is very cheap and easy to do by the way, so I wouldn't rely on them not doing it).

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 14:50:28

To give more detail our rent is 495 so the dep is 595. The carpets were more than 395 alone...we were planning on staying years you see. So I am not sure why they are so unwilling. How much would it cost them to take us to court? Or would we have to pay that? I seems like it would not be worth it over £395?

worldcuprefusenik Mon 16-Jun-14 14:50:29

Be careful: your improvements might not seem like improvements to the LL. He might well charge you for making good as well.

Can you find a tenant to take your place? Your LL will be worried about lost rent.

You should pay what you owe without taking into account what you might get away with because the LL won't bother to sue ie you should pay rent until the agreed end of tenancy unless your LL agrees otherwise and/or finds new tenants.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 14:53:32

We cannot afford to pay the remaining two months rent as we would already have started paying at the new place which is 150 more per month anyway.

We have no inventory AT ALL. So there is no proof of the condition when we moved in other than the 'before' photos I have on my phone before I refurbished.

There is no way the things we have done would not be considered improvements. It was a hovel.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jun-14 14:54:05

a contract is a contract, I'm afraid. You would not be happy if the landlord was able to break it for a similar 'change in circumstances'.

I am also very baffled as to why you have laid out so much money on the place, when all these things are the responsibility of the landlord. You then say that you are short of money! Why don't you take the portable items with you, replacing light fittings and curtains with what was there when you arrived?

there is no excuse for being ignored, but you are legally bound to pay until the end of the contract. Of course you don't have to live there until that date but you remain responsible for all the bills.

the normal negotiation in this situation is to offer to be helpful with viewings and pay additional costs to get a new tenant in to take over from you. But if the landlord doesn't want to do this, that's it. The other tenants are not relevant.

if you don't pay the rent, the landlord can raise a case with the DPS and extract it from your deposit.

it's not a matter of being 'screwed' or 'pissed off' it is a matter of contracts which are legally binding. If the landlord had not protected your deposit, had not provided a gas safe certificate or the place was not habitable, you might then have a case.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 14:54:24

It is a possibility that I could find new tenants I suppose.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jun-14 14:54:39

why did you rent a 'hovel'??

WhyBeHappyWhenYouCouldBeNormal Mon 16-Jun-14 14:55:27

Yes, if he took you to court, you would have to pay the court costs, as legally you would be in the wrong. I'm just not sure it's worth the risk. according to this link, the initial fees would be only £60 or £70. If I was your landlord it would definitely be worth me doing so that I can get £495 rent x2... he only needs to fill in an online form... then there's a warning saying that you may need to pay more fees later on if there is a hearing or if you need a judgement enforced.

Pay what you owe, keep your credit rating and references intact.

QuintessentiallyQS Mon 16-Jun-14 14:57:24

You have a contract, and a landlord who is holding you to it. I have been in your position, and I suggest you take the road of least resistance and headaches, pay till the end of the tenancy, and get your deposit back.

Be careful to check out early though, rather than at the end of your official tenancy, as any damage caused to the property by the letting agent showing people around (muddy boots, spilling crisps/coffee or other take away on the viewing and treading it into carpets) will be your problem if you have not officially left.

Also, if they DO find people early, bare in mind many people want to have moved before the new school year starts, they may let you off.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 14:59:14

The reason we spent so much is because

a) it needed it. When we viewed it had been empty for a year and was literally awful. The last tenant had taken everything and there was serious damp and pest problems that had caused damage.

b) we were planning on being here for a few years.

c) We used us doing the improvements as a negotiator of gettibg the flat as when I viewed it it was a block viewing with 3 other couples. Despite the condition we all wanted it. I think because it had great potential and large room sizes. Yes I was stupid as viewed it as if I was buying it so saw this 'potential' that was not my responsibility to sort out. But we needed to move quickly then due to our old landlord selling up.

We were in a much better financial position then than we are now.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 15:05:02

There is also no letting agent involved now as they sacked them as soon as we signed despite originally telling us it would be fully managed

worldcuprefusenik Mon 16-Jun-14 15:07:03

Ah, so your improvements were part of the original deal and now you want to count them again? I feel sorry for the position you are in, but you are not being reasonable. What changed your mind about staying and is so urgent about moving? Can you not delay the move? If it is your DH's job that is being relocated, will they not cover this kind of expense?

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 15:08:28

No it is not a job I have to care for my Dad as he is seriously ill.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 15:11:40

If I manage to negotiate this and they do 'check me out' early. What sort of official paperwork would we get is there a letter or a form I can use for this as we have no agent and no inventory so how would we prove we'd left?

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 15:15:52

Taking the deposit into consideration and them keeping that, would it be just £335 I'd need to find?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 16-Jun-14 15:29:43

I'm both a landlord and tenant and can see both sides.

Sorry to hear about your dad. That must be very stressful.

If I were your landlord, I'd be happy to let you out of the tenancy early if there was someone else ready to move in and I didn't incur any additional costs. Whilst the reason you have to move is not a nice one, you need to take out the emotion and look at this from a business angle. You have signed a contract and are hence responsible for rent until the end of the agreed tenancy period. If you're let out early, great, but if not it's not the landlord's responsibility to 'cover' you financially as you need to move. What would you have done if you'd been an owner occupier? It would have taken time to rent out your place anyway. Just food for thought.

I'd also advise against investing so much in the decor of a rented house. You'd be better paying more for somewhere with a better spec if you've cash to spare.

Borttagen Mon 16-Jun-14 15:35:22

Hi, we were in a similar position but renting through letting agents so they let us pay to readvertise and we were let out of contract early because of new tenants.
Could you find potential new tenants and contact landlord to provide them with a ready made solution?

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 15:45:01

Good idea I might put that to him as a solution then advertise it on gumtree at an even higher rent than we pay now.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jun-14 17:16:09

BTW just because there is no agent, it should still be properly managed. That means that the landlord needs to be contactable should you have problems. So ignoring you is not acceptable.

to check out without an initial inventory, I suggest you go round with the landlord, take lots of photos (he can if he likes, you must), write up a report comparing before and after and you and he both sign it. Not ideal but the best compromise. Also if you are taking anything apart from your obvious possessions, get his written agreement.

I also see both sides and am sorry for your position - but sadly it is not your landlord's problem, and as someone else notes you did the works as part of the deal to secure the place. I am staggered that somewhere in the condition that you describe would get so much interest!

Hopefully he will work with you to achieve what you both want.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 17:42:35

Result we have spoken again and he has gone for the arrangement of me finding new tenants with a small a gap as poss after we move out. Thanks special yep the properties in my city are not great, two big unis so mostly student accom and other landlords not too bothered as they know if they can't get professionals in they will easily get students anyway. The other issue is that this is the only property mine have here, they live in Scotland, which makes the fact there is no agent even more annoying as they can never come to look at problems. As I mentioned our flat had been empty for a whole 12 months and upstairs for 8 months when we moved in. They just neglected the whole house totally.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 16-Jun-14 17:44:55

Upstairs is still empty now and has been since November as nobody wants to let it in the condition it is in. I am sure I will have no problem finding people for this one though.

specialsubject Mon 16-Jun-14 19:13:30

very glad to hear you have a solution, and hope it all works out for you.

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