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Ending Tenancy Early?

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263 views 1 replies latest reply: 01 March 2016
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Tenant

Hi all,

My wife and i have been living in a rented flat in Aberdeen since June 2013, renewing our lease annually with out current lease due to end on 4th June. However due to the downturn in the oil industry, my wife was made redundant over a year ago and has been unable to find another job and i have recently been informed that my employers are moving to a 4 day week and i will have to take a 20% pay cut for at least the next 3 months. WE have struggled to get by for the last year but due to my circumstances now changing it is going to be impossible for us to pay our rent, bills and living costs.

Our latest rent payment is due to come out at the end of this week and we have the money put aside for this so there are no issues there, however we would then be looking to speak to our landlady and attempt to give a months notice and end our lease 2 months early. We would then move in with my wifes parents until our circumstances change for the better.

How would we stand with this? Obviously due to the position we are in we would really like to get our deposit back, however having looked online it seems she would be within her rights to keep the deposit due to us ending the agreement early.

we have always had a really good relationship with our landlady and would have been looking to stay for another year had things not changed for us so dramatically.

Would it help our cause that when we moved in our landlady admitted to us that she just found a copy of an agreement online and amended it to suit? It was never done through a solicitor and although there were spaces for witness signatures these were left blank. She has also not performed any safety tests etc in the whole time we have lived in the flat.

Thanks for any advice

Matt

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Administrator

Hi Matt

You are normally required to give two months notice and there are only specific times in the tenancy when you can do this – so that the notice ends on the last day of a break clause period or the last day of the tenancy. In any other situation you’re going to remain liable for the rent until you do give the proper notice, regardless of where the landlord got the tenancy from. For a tenancy to exist you don’t even need the physical agreement, just conditions such as the payment of rent.

However, if you’ve always got on well with your landlord then they might be willing to help you out. You could ask for a tenancy surrender which is essentially where the landlord agrees to surrender the tenancy early – i.e. finish it before it officially comes to an end. You’d need to get this in writing and there’s no obligation on the landlord to provide it. If you do get this then there’s no reason you should lose any of your deposit unless there’s damage to pay for. You could offer to help the landlord find new tenants to take over to sweeten the deal a little so that the landlord isn’t left with a tenant-less property and no income.

You could also simply move out and hope the landlord doesn’t come after you for the last few months of rent. However, you would almost certainly lose your deposit and you might also be taken to a small claims court by the landlord.

I’m not a lawyer so it might be a good idea to speak to someone at Shelter or Citizens Advice to see if they have any suggestions.

Alex

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