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Wise and wonderful mumsnetters - advice needed on renting

8 replies

strugstu · 01/03/2008 12:01

We rent a 6 bed house costing £1095 amonth which we agreed to rent for two years we had to put a deposit of £1300 down. We are a year into the contract and the house was great when all the kids (18,20,21,22) were here but they have all moved out now and whilst between the two of us we can just manage the rent- it is a struggle. We have asked the landlords if we can bring the agreement to an end- and in principle they have agreed but say they dont want the property empty, so have said we need to stay until they have new tennants. They have put the property up for sale and in the hands of a rental company but in 6 weeks there has been one person to view the house. Then today we received an email telling us they are putting the rent up by 5%- so need to find another 55 quid a month. We're in a quandry now - can we just give them notice that were going? will we lose our deposit? will we end up in court for breach of contract? anyone got any ideas - i have checked our contract it states our agreement is for 2 years -but no word on penalties etc if we want to come out. Would really be grateful for any advice x

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scaryteacher · 01/03/2008 16:04

I'm unsure, but I think that most properties in England are let on a six month assured tenancy agreement, and that you can give a months notice to quit. This is what my managing agent for my house tells me anyway. I had a period of about 6 weeks when my house was untenanted, and most landlords would expect there to be some periods when the property is unoccupied. I'd go to CAB and see what they say, but I don't think they can expect you to stay until they have a new tenant or sell it. The property being empty is their problem not yours, just like it's mine when my house is unoccupied.

Go and see the letting agency as well, they should know the law. If the boot were on the other foot, and they had buyers and you still had a contract to occupy, they'd give you notice PDQ. I think they want you to babysit the house and pay for the privilege until they sort themselves out. I hope that you don't allow them to do unaccompanied viewings as it's for sale; or when you are out.

missingtheaction · 01/03/2008 16:32

Check your contract - two year lock in is definitely unusual, especially with an unexpected rent increase, most are 6 months assured shorthold tenancy agreements. Often these have extensions but these extensions are there to protect the tenant from rent increases. So the contract will say

  • rental period of 12 months @ £x per month
  • break clause after 6 months, from which point two-months notice can be given either side


I think this means they can't put the rent up for 12 months, but either of you can give notice after 6 months.

If the contract is unclear or you don't have a contract do what scaryteacher says - get down to the CAB on Monday.

I think that nealy all tenancies are shorthold tenancies - ie that the landlord must let you stay for 6 months from the date of first renting, but after that can give you one or two months' notice. On rent increases, this should be in the contract too - when increases can be applied and how often. If you don't have a written contract I also think it is assumed the tenancy is shorthold ie basically 6 months.

anyway, sounds like either you signed a dodgy contract or the landlords don't know the law. Read the small print and get to a solicitor or the CAB
Miggsie · 01/03/2008 16:42

go to CAB as I think this comes under "unfair contract" they can't tie you in for 2 years and increase the rent midway. That constitutes a new agreement in my book
And you should be able to give a month's notice within the rental period, I don't think they can refuse this or force you to stay on.
Do see what CAB say.
Also, go and see another renting agent and ask about contract terms generally.
If the contract is deemed "unfair" it is null and void anyway.

strugstu · 01/03/2008 20:10

Thanks for advice - perhaps didnt make it clear that we origionaly wanted a 2 year contract -in our naievity(?spelling) we didn't want to be out on our ear after a year,now we really need to be out. i've checked in our contract about increase in rent and it is there. Unfortunately our landlord sacked his letting agent after we signed the contract so we deal with him direct(although the phone calls to Dubai arn't cheap)they also refused to abide by the new rules regarding deposits as we signed the contract just before the new legislation. I did speak to the the origional letting agent they said that if they were still managing the tenancy we would be liable for the rent and charges incurred until a new tennant was installed- so that didn't really give me much hope. [Sad]

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strugstu · 02/03/2008 16:52

bunp

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WideWebWitch · 02/03/2008 16:54

Surely there;s a break clause in your contract? There usually is an option to give 1 or 2 months onotice, I find it hard to believe you;d have to do anything other than give tihs notice and move tbh.

WideWebWitch · 02/03/2008 16:55

Also, blimey, that's cheap for 6 beds BUT you can always say no thanks, we don't want to pay the increase so we're movingm, surely? Are you in the UK?

strugstu · 02/03/2008 20:01

WWW-Yes- Stafford .
I think we will just go for it and give them notice - i'm assuming worse case scenario is we lose the deposit(which is marginally more than a months rent)but we will be better off longer term, although it worries me that they might take us to court for breach of contract or costs - i wonder if thats likely ?

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