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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have just read your answer regarding landlords mitigating

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I have just read your answer regarding landlords mitigating their potential losses in a fiixed term tenancy agreement situation. I have a fixed term tenancy expiring 15 feb 2014. Because of family reasons I need to get a bigger place, so I have informed the landlady and the agents I will be vacating by the 15th September (i.e. the last rent payment will be the 15th August). This is a very competitive market in terms of rental. Can the landlady leave the property idle and then sue me? Shelter said yes - Thanks


Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

No, the landlady is under a duty to mitigate her loss by seeking another tenant. That usually does not take forever.

Mostly courts will accept that it will take a period of up to one month to secure a replacement. Thereafter, if the landlady has still not replaced you then she will have to prove that she has looked, is being diligent and has reasonable expectations from replacement tenants in order to claim from you.

So, in short, although it is possible that you could have to pay for several months, the practical reality is that its not likely that you would be made to pay for any more than one month.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


Thank you for your response. My feeling was that, in a sense she woudl be unable to let 'damages' accrue for months and months and not mitigate in any way. Also, in the contract it does state 'the landlord will take all reaonable steps to mitgate any loss he [sic] may suffer as a result of any unlawful termination of this tenancy agreement"


I took that to mean mitigate elsewhere - not just in seeking damages from me, but shelter said not that means it can stay empty for the full term - she is entitles to do that, and then she can sue you for the rent.


Which is correct!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


sorry I have replied but forgot to put this at the front - have you seen my further query? Shelter were clear about her not needing to mitigate as I'm in effect in the wrong by wanting early surrender

She can't just leave the house sitting empty and make no effort at all.

She can claim the remaining months due under the contract from you but only if she genuinely cannot let it upon reasonable diligence which, of course, won't happen.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


so finally, and yes thank you very much I am very happy because that makes sense - Shelter said, no that means the landlord will take steps to mitigate her loss against you actually. Not by seeking another tenant which she has absolutely no obligation to do.

Does this mean she can keep my 1.5month's deposit? even if she does get another tenant?

How often do landlords sure tenants in this sort of situation. she will have had 3 months notice.

Also wasnt there a case in 2005 that said that the landlord was not obliged to mitigate against losses in illegal surrender of tenancy, or was that just a commercial one.

Thank you

No, she is under an obligation to mitigate her losses. There is no case the contrary.

She will be able to keep any sum of the deposit that covers the period for which the house is empty while she is genuinely trying - if it takes her a month she will get to keep one month. If it takes her six weeks, she will get to keep six weeks. If it takes her two months she will be able to keep six weeks and sue for the rest.

Landlords do sometimes sue if the tenant is working or has assets. Not worth it if they are unemployed.
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