Sorry if post is long winded, I’ll try to be brief with major details included.
My parents in law rented a house and paid 6 months up front rent (relocating from overseas so no UK work history) with a view to buying in Uk.
3 months in, father in law was offered a better job overseas and decided to take it. Also near the time there was some kind of sewage leak in a neighbouring cellar which created a terrible smell in their house.
My sister in law emailed the EA on their behalf (her English is not great but better than theirs) to say they were moving back overseas early and could the property be readvertised and rent refunded when a new tenant was found.
Landlord agreed but obv not till new tenant was found.
A few viewings were arranged but no interest. My SIL, trying to be helpful in getting some money back started complaining that the smell was putting people off and that they were entitled to a refund based on that alone.
Me and my husband felt her clumsy approach was just aggravating things so I told the EA to deal with me in future.
My last email contact with the EA was mid May when they emailed to say they noticed we still had possessions stored there. I replied to say we understood they were still liable for all bills while they hold keys and that we needed to leave it in a clean and empty condition when we leave but that my PIL still wanted to take time to move their belongings out while they were paying for the property anyway.
I received a txt from EA a few days later notifying me of a viewing later that day (not 24 hours) and I called back to say that was fine.
I have heard nothing about any viewings or anything else since and presumed they were not bothering to advertise while we still paid rent till mid July.
They did move their belongings out but we weren’t intending to do a final clean till we had notice from the EA of another tenant wanting to move and they also considered it would be a place to stay if they came to visit us again before the tenancy expired.
I then had a call yesterday morning to say they had a new tenant moving tomorrow and needed the keys by last night or latest 9am this morning. I said this was fine but that we did not have enough notice to do a final clean etc and I hoped that we would not be charged for this in the return of the deposit, but the EA said we had plenty of time over the last few months!
She said there had been a misunderstanding, they thought we had moved out and left it as intended weeks ago. It turns out when I visited that the landlord has been in and out many times redecorating and they have conducted a lot of viewings without notifying us.
I’ve now handed back the keys but worried there will be a dispute over the deposit with the cleaning and redecorating etc.
I’m wondering what their rights are? At no point did either of the tenants (my PIL) contact the EA to say they have moved out (we have now helped my FIL draft an email from his own email address with his point of view) and the last email they had from any family (me) was to say that we were still keeping belongings there and knew we were liable. The EA and Landlord has presumed everything else.