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Agent agreed I can extend my tenancy but renages in favour of new tenant

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625 views 1 replies latest reply: 14 April 2016

I am a student tenant in a tenancy running from June 2015-June 2016. We are 2 girls. We have been excellent tenants, paid on time – the letting agent likes us we have a good relationship.

I had been due to move to another property from June 2016 (sharing with a different girl friend). We had a signed contract for that but that property became unavailable as the landlord has decided to sell it. Ouch. 

Housing is hard to find in this city and searches take lots of time and can be fruitless. I decided to stay in my current house and told my letting agent who said this would be fine. They told us that although they had issued a contract for another pair of students to take the house after June 2016, I would get priority, as current and good tenants and they would tell the other party that the property was no longer available to them.  (not great for them , I agree, but exactly the same as had happened to us).

They have now changed their mind. The “new propective tenants” got the university accomodation officer to weigh in on their side and put pressure on the agent to honour their agreement with them.

We have wasted valuable time, having taken them at their word and cannot find a new place in time; I work as does my friend (we are on placement years) – next year is our final year.

Can the agent do this?

We have done nothing wrong and want to extend our tenancy til June 2017. ( or sign a new fixed 1 yr tenancy)

This seems very unfair.

We know the landlord could seek a possession order if we refused to leave and carried on paying rent but would the agent want to get embroiled in that?

We are thinking of literally refusing to leave. And of course to keep paying rent. Would we be in a strong position? Advice sought please as we are very upset and have done nothing wrong. Our University seems happy to favour making us homeless over some other students who probably have more time to house hunt than we do. Its extremely stressful. And I dont see that the University should have any power over this situation.

thanks for any advice.

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Hi Liz,

The agents, in both situations, have had a shocker!

On the new place that you lost- once a contract is signed by all parties, that is a binding agreement. They were not legally entitled to ‘pull out’ unless you gave consent to void the contract. You could have insisted the agent/landlord supplied alternate accommodation and covered any and all aplicable costs.

As with the new property, an agent cannot guarantee new tenants a property. Although signing a contract is very common up and down the country before a property has been vacated- it is ultimately the agent/landlord at fault and not you if accommodation cannot be supplied.

I am suprised to hear the campus housing officer got involved with such a long lead time!

Anyway- the agent/Landlord must serve you a valid Section21 notice to terminate a tenancy agreement which must be issued at least 2 momnths before the enforcemenet date. Even then, if you have nowhere else to go, you are not obliged to vacate the property and can remain until you are able to move OR are evicted from the property (which takes quite a while).

Obviously, you dont want to ruin your good relationship that you have but you also have rights. In reality, with 6+ weeks left, the new party should simply pull out and seek another property however, if they too have a signed contract, this responsibilty actually falls on the landlord/agent (as explained to you in the first paragraph about your ‘new’ tenancy that was aborted).

Hope that helps a bit

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