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Surrendering a tenancy

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681 views 1 replies latest reply: 19 April 2016

Hi there

In January, we gave notice to our letting agency that we would like to surrender our 6 month tenancy one month early, to move out of the property on 14 March 2016 rather than 14 April 2016. We were told this would be possible if we paid an exit fee of £330 to do with re-letting costs etc. (although I’m not sure what this is about as the flat would have to be re advertised and start accepting viewings some two weeks later anyway) We are both full time students and had to end the tenancy a month early due to a change in financial circumstances for me as well as a work opportunity abroad for my flatmate beginning mid-March. By mid-February we were told the landlord was ‘still deciding’ whether or not to agree to us surrendering the tenancy. In the meantime I went about securing a new pair of tenants to ensure they would be able to move in as soon as we had moved out. They eventually moved on as we could not give them give them any clarity on the landlord’s position– he eventually decided yes, we could surrender it as long as we paid the exit fee and rent until new tenants moved in. I myself then conducted a number of viewings and found a further pair of tenants for the two bed flat and justified the agents immediately (by this time it was nearing the end of February and the move out date of 14 March fast approaching). However the agency never followed up with the prospective tenants’ interest and they were left hanging on, as were we. Eventually the agency but the flat back on the market a WEEK before 14 March, our proposed move out date, despite notice having been given in January. It is now 15 March and none of the tenants they have shown wanted to take the flat, but the tenants I found still do, and the landlord is ‘still deciding’ whether he wants to take on two tenants who did not previously know each other. We now have to keep paying rent, plus the exit fee, when we have already moved out of the property and while the landlord is deliberately stalling the process while he ‘decides’. The tenants i found as working professionals, decent and have references and were ready to move in on 14 or 15 March, and yet there has been no process started by the agency to do admin work with them because the landlord hasn’t said yet whether he thinks they’re suitable. The agency also has some more viewings of their own lined up- but all the while we are still paying when other tenants could have occupied the space already. What are our rights here? Surely the agency and landlord should have done everything possible to get new tenants in timeously, seeing as we started this discussion in January– and especially seeing as there are prospective tenants ready and waiting to be considered? My flat mate has already left the country and I have started up a tenancy in a new flat, so I am paying for two properties while the landlord stalls. Help! 

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Hi Victoria,

This has been handled poorly, ineed, however I am not sure there is much you can do. It is the ‘chicken and egg’ scenario that often crops up in lettings. To give up a property you need one to move in to- but how can you commit to one when you are not officially confirmed (no new tenancy signed)? Unfortunately, whilst it does sound like the agent & Landlord have somewhat let you down (if they didnt want to release you early they should have just said) you shouldn’t have entered a new contract without written confirmation when you would be released or a new tenancy signed.

Sorry its not better news, hope it worked out ok in the end?

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