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Need to leave rented property - what can we do with difficult landlady?

(17 Posts)
JoandMax Mon 07-Sep-09 11:38:38

Hi,

We moved into our rented house in January on an 18 month contract. I have since been made redundant, whilst on ML, so financially things are extremely difficult for us to stay where we are. We lived in the area we do as it was 10 minutes from my work so very convenient for DS if he had been in nursery (my DH travels a lot so all drop offs/pick ups would have been me).

We spoke to our landlady and the letting agent to explain we wish to move out asap as we just cannot afford to rent anymore. We explained we were happy to continue paying until they found someone and pay all the associated costs for them to find someone new. We wrote to them explaining everything too.

Since then we have heard nothing (a few weeks ago) and they have not advertised our house with the letting agent. My DH rang them to ask what was going on only to be told the landlady doesn't want to find new tenants and as we're contracted in til next July we will have to continue paying and if we attempt to move out and stop paying she will pursue us legally.......

I know we are breaking our terms but is there anything we can do?? We cannot afford to stay, if we did it would only be a matter of months before we had to stop paying rent and I don't want to get into that situation.

Any advice would be much appreciated

ib Mon 07-Sep-09 11:40:43

Does your contract allow you to sublet the property yourselves?

LaurieFairyCake Mon 07-Sep-09 11:41:41

are you in Britain? I thought everything was shorthold tenancy and afer 6 months it was then month to month.

Surely 18 months isn't enforceable ???

I would contact the CAB for advice.

JoandMax Mon 07-Sep-09 11:49:04

No, we can't sublet unfortunately.

We are in Britain, it was a shorthold tenancy but it states term of 18 months. I am hoping there is some way out of it, the landlady can give us 2 months notice at any time so surely we can too??

My DH is calling CAB today, fingers crossed they can help us.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 07-Sep-09 11:51:08

You can get out after 6 months then. They can't hold you to 18 months.

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 11:52:46

apply for housing benefit.

Ewe Mon 07-Sep-09 11:52:53

You can give two months notice at any time as far as I am aware, I was also told that legally only one months notice is enforceable.

Will try and find some links!

Tortington Mon 07-Sep-09 11:53:26

you need to ring shelter now england.shelter.org.uk they have advisors who can help you with the legality

but i am a biut hmm at landlady

you could stop paying your rent altogether, save it upw ith the intention to pay - until she is forced to contemplate eviction proceedings and contact solicitors and everything.

thats certainly the way i would go - if she was being a twat with me - i would save up my rent and get her to think twice about forcing me to stay.

paisleyleaf Mon 07-Sep-09 11:56:31

I think the same as Ewe. You can still give notice to leave within that first tenancy agreement.

AxisofEvil Mon 07-Sep-09 11:58:03

Well, it’s a bit of a difficult one. You did sign an 18 month contract and unless you've got a contractual right to terminate then you probably contractually can't (although may be something in housing law I'm not aware of). That said, if you move out (leaving the house in a good condition) and stop paying rent whilst you would be in breach of contract she wouldn't be able to sit on her hands and just claim for all rent owed until July as she has an obligation to try to mitigate her loss which in this case would be a question of looking for more tenants. Your liability should therefore be the difference between what she would have got until July from you and what she ends up getting from you/other tenants taking into account any additional costs such as additional agency fees.

Ewe Mon 07-Sep-09 12:08:33

What does your contract say? I am a serial renter and have never had a contract that doesn't have a six month break clause and two months notice required any time after that.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Mon 07-Sep-09 12:15:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JoandMax Mon 07-Sep-09 12:18:12

Thanks everyone, lots of good suggestions!

I did look at housing benefit but my DH earns a good salary so we're not entitled. It's not that we can't afford anywhere just not this house IYSWIM? We will move out of London and that is affordable, staying here was only doable on 2 salaries. I have looked for other jobs but there aren't many at all and the few around are all central which I don't want to do if it can be avoided i.e. would much rather move out.

That's an interesting point AxisofEvil - I wasn't aware she would would have to do that, places go really quickly here so there would be no problem finding them...... I think if we can't reach a solution amicably we will do that. There is nothing in our contract about us terminating, only landlady.

StayFrosty Mon 07-Sep-09 12:24:29

Even if it does go as far as court to recover unpaid rent, your LL has a legal duty to mitigste her loss by readvertising the property. If she has just sat on her arse, the court will not necessarily treat her claim favourably.

StayFrosty Mon 07-Sep-09 12:25:01

^mitigate

somewhathorrified Mon 07-Sep-09 12:29:12

I don't know how the law stands these days, but it used to be that if you failed to pay the rent you were then liable to not only pay the rent you owe, but a large percent over the top too (used to be 10%) based on loss of interest. Make sure to check it all out thoroughly.

Reallytired Mon 07-Sep-09 12:38:33

If the landlady has the right to break the contract with two months notice, then you will have the same rights. It is unreasonable for a landlady to have more rights than a tenant when it comes to termination of the contract.

I would have thought an 18 month contract would be totally and utterly unenforable.

Write to her and give her notice of two months. (Ie. the notice she has to give.)Allow your deposit to cover the last months rent. You need to send the letter by recorded delivery.

I would be very surprised if she decides to take you to court. It would be very expensive for her and provided that you turn up to court and defend yourselves its unlikely a judge would hold up an 18 month contract.

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