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re-let fees, and the early surrendering of a tenancy

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942 views 2 replies latest reply: 08 August 2016

Hello, our rental contract ends on the 1st of September, however we asked our letting agent if we could leave one month early, on the 3rd of August. This was agreed to by the landlord (they agreed to release us from the tenancy one month early), but they said that we would be liable to pay the re-let fees of £150+VAT. I challenged this as our contract states ‘the Tenant will be liable to pay administration fees of half of the monthly rent plus VAT (which will not normally be charged if such early termination takes place during the final month of the Term).’ As early termination would be taking place within the last month of the term, we advised them that we didn’t believe the fees were appliccable to us, and as such, we would not be paying them.

They then emailed back saying that the landlord has now decided not to release us from the tenancy a month early, which seems to be a clearly spiteful move on their part. Our contract states that permission to try re-let will not be unreasonably witheld, which we now feel it is being. The house had been put back on the market, and I have asked if it still is still on the market. We know that we are liable for the rent until the 1st of September, but if they take the house off the market, we obviously won’t be able to find a new tenant to take over from the 3rd of August as originally hoped, so we will of course end up paying the full months rent (£625) anyway.

Once our landlord has agreed in writing to release us from the tenancy one month early, and to try to re-let, can they then legally revoke this? It seems to have been done purely to ‘get back at us’ for daring to question them. Section 1.9 of our contract states ‘For the avoidance of doubt it is accepted that the tenant cannot terminate the tenancy within the first 24 months of the tenancy whether in occupation or otherwise. The tenant shall be liable for all rental and other outgoings and covenants within this agreement as if they were in occupation unless otherwise agreed in writing by the landlord or his agent, but permission to try to  re-let will not be unreasonably withheld.’

If they get back to us and say they have taken the house off the market, and are not actively trying to find a tenant to take over from the 3rd of August as previously advised, what can we do about this? Thank you for any and all advice, we are incredibly angry at them for doing this to us, it is extremley unprofessional, and unwarranted too. We have lived here for 3 and a half years and have had a multitude of issues with both the landlord, and agent with regards to essential repairs, so this just adds insult to injury. Thank you.


Hi Samantha

Have you spoken to the landlord directly? That’s a good idea as I’ve recently had an experience where the agent lied to me about what the landlord wanted – when I contacted the landlord they were perfectly happy to do what I was looking for. This might be a similar situation and circumventing the agent could save a lot of hassle (what agency was it??). The landlord’s contact details should be on the tenancy.

I’m not a lawyer but I think that if they’ve surrendered the tenancy in writing then they’d have to give you a good reason for the change of heart. It’s only the agent that loses out by you (rightly) refusing to pay those fees, which is why if you contact the landlord and ask them why they changed their mind you might find that they didn’t.

If you want advice on the legality of this then try the Citizens Advice or a Law Centre. However, it might be worth putting in writing to the agent that you’re going to contact the landlord and query the change of heart, that you think the agency might be putting the landlord in breach of contract by trying to unreasonably withold consent that was already given (on which you’re seeking professional advice) and that you’re also considering making a complaint to the agency themselves and to all the professional bodies of which they are a member for unprofessional behaviour. Potentially with compensation amounting to the loss that is that last month’s rent.

As I said, I’m no lawyer but if that sounds like it might work in your situation it might be worth a try. Agents are bullies – often if you stand up to them they just crumble.



I am in a similar situation as above, Except the Landlord wishes to re-occupy the property.

We were advised directly by the landlord that she wouldnt be renewing the tenancy (due to end 1st October) and advised us that she would be willing to release us from the tenancy early if we found somewhere else earlier then the end of the tenancy.

I spoke with the agents twice since this, firstly to make sure that the Landlady had informed them about the possibility of early release, and so that we could be put on the new properties list.
We then found that we just about capable of buying somewhere, and had an offer accepted on a property.

At this point i phoned the agency and asked about ending my tenancy early, all i was told was that the termination must coincide with a full calender month, so having exchanged on our property we wrote to the agents notifying them of our wish to surrender the lease on 1st Sept 2016, I also contacted the landlord to confirm that the notice had been issued, her reply was that she had no problem with it.

However the Landlord is now saying that they wont agree to us surrendering the tenancy unless she is not financially disadvantaged (she wants us to pay the commission that she would still have to pay the agents for the last month of her contract)

We have issued payment of the fees to the agents along with a letter explaining that we wish to retain the right to argue the fee after payment which will allow us time to seek legal advice, however they are now blackmailing us by saying that they will not accept the payment unless we agree to their terms of the surrender.

Neither the agents or landlord had given us any prior notice about these fees, and we are now worried about the prospect of being help responsible for both properties for a month, which is ridiculous given that we have put nearly every penny we have in to obtaining the mortgage.

We have threatened to contact the ombudsman, their response…”we are just the middle man” and that we need to speak with the landlord about it, as they are unwilling to negotiate or mediate.

Is there anything that we can do??

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