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Although unhelpful, the agent was correct in that unless he signed the tenancy agreement under duress or the property is unfit for human habitation then he will be bound by the full term of the tenancy agreement.
The landlord is under a duty not to unreasonably refuse a replacement tenant. Your focus now should be on finding that replacement tenant. Speak to the agent again, apologise for the previous phone call (you do not have to mean it after all) and ask if he will help to find a replacement tenant or would object to you bringing one to him.
If the does not then you can use http://www.gumtree.co.uk/ to attempt to find one, landlords frequently use it so that they do not have to use agents. You could take a replacement directly to the landlord or agent.
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You can try and get in touch with the landlord. The Lettings agent will probably not be too keen to his contact details but you can download a copy of the registered title to the flat/property by using the Land Registry's online service:-
You will have to pay a £4.00 fee, use the "detailed search" option, if there are a few result listed and you can call the Land Registry and ask them to confirm which title number relates to the flat and pay for them to send you a copy of the register. It will list the owner in the Proprietorship Register and will have an address at which he can be reached.
You son can only give the notice permitted in his tenancy agreement. Check it to see if he has a break clause in it. Otherwise he will be bound by the term and the relevant notice period listed.
They can only reasonably refuse a replacement. If you can bring them a person with references who is able to prove he can meet the rent obligations under the tenancy then they would not be able to refuse that person as a replacement.
As to bills, your son is likely liable to pay half. He should attempt to pay his share until he finds a replacement or else attempt to come to an agreement with his co-tenant.
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