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Agent misled us over contract terms

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367 views 2 replies latest reply: 14 September 2015
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Tenant

When we served our two months’ notice to our current letting agent (as we had done previously with the same agent for a different property), they sent us two letters, one confirming our check-out date, and another asking if we’d like to renew our tenancy when the contract ends. Being that this is obviously contridictory, we emailed to ask for confirmation that our tenancy would end on the check-out date and that we would not be liable for rent after that date. The agent replied to say the second letter was just sent automatically, and we would not be liable for rent after the check out.

A few weeks passed, we put the deposit down on a new property and booked the movers, when they informed us that we do not have a break clause and we would in fact be liable for rent up to the end of the tenancy agreement (another month and a half). Now I know that we have a resposibility to know our own contract and should check ourselves for the terms of rent liability, but is it not reasonable to assume an assurance from the agent in response to a direct question about our liability would be a true reflection of our contract? Where do we stand legally? Is a contract 100% binding, even if the agent gives assurances that contradict the terms of the contract?

Had we not been assured that our rent liability would end when we check out, we’d not have spent money on a new place. The cost of two rents will put us into debt. Is there potential in this case to pursue the agent through the courts to reimburse us the money spent due to negligence on their part?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Tenant

The terms of any contract are binding between the parties to that contract.  Changes made to the contract must be by mutual consent of the parties. The agent does not have privity of contract so he cannot make changes to the contract either verbally or in the written form.  Your contract stands as written.

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Administrator

Hi Stephen

Yes, it is up to you to know the tenancy agreement but it’s also up to the landlord (and the agent who is acting on the landlord’s behalf) to also know the tenancy agreement. If you have all this in writing then you have a good case for suggesting that a surrender of the tenancy has taken place – i.e. where the landlord agrees to you leaving on a date earlier than the end of the tenancy. This is a mistake the agent has made so they are bound to try and object but I would have thought that sending you a check out date was pretty definitive. I’m not a lawyer so it might be worth checking this with Citizens Advice or a Law Centre.

If they threaten to deduct anything from your deposit remember you can raise a dispute with the deposit protection scheme that has your deposit and they -not the landlord or agent – will decide whether it’s fair to make you pay it.

Alex

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