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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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How can a student tenant who is signed into a fixed term tenancy

Resolved Question:

How can a student tenant who is signed into a fixed term tenancy (but not moved in yet) get out of the contract? Especially when circumstances make living in the shared accommodation unhealthy (in this case, my friend has Epilepsy triggered by stress, and the other occupants are malicious towards them).
Submitted: 4 years ago via Tenancy Agreement Service.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Hi,

 

The position is that if the tenancy agreement has been executed (signed by the tenant and the landlord and dated) then both parties will be bound by the terms of it. It will be legally enforceable against the tenant.

 

The tenant can only leave before the end of the term if there is a break clause entitling earlier termination OR if the property is unfit for human habitation OR the landlord consents to the student/landlord surrendering her tenancy OR she finds a reasonable replacement tenant.

 

The unfit for human habitation part relates to repair really - the property is in considerable disrepair then the tenant could ask for environmental services dept of the local authority to make an inspection. Were they to declare it unfit then the tenant could terminate on this basis since it would be a repudiatory breach of the landlord's obligation to provide a property in repair.

 

It is not the landlord's duty to ensure that all the tenants behave civilly towards each other and if they do not he cannot suffer loss as a result.

 

The tenant should focus on finding a replacement tenant to produce to the landlord. The landlord is under a duty not to refuse a reasonable tenant. The tenant could try advertising on www.gumtree.co.uk for such a tenant. Private landlord's use the service all the time.

 

If the tenant does not move in then the landlord could sue for recovery of rent and would most likely be awarded an amount of rent for the period up to when he could have re-let it to another tenant.

 

Sorry it could not be better news.

 

If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.

Kind regards.

 

Tom

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your response it has been most useful.

Can I just ask then: for a replacement tenant to be 'reasonable' would they have to be taking up the tenancy for the same length of time as the the tenant they are replacing or can they take part of the agreed term (and each pay the amount of rent specific to how long they were the tenant for)? For that matter is there any ruling on what makes a reasonable replacement tenant and what doesn't?

It certainly seems like the most viable option at this point so it's the point I could do with as much clarity on as possible.

Again, thank you for your help so far
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Hi,

 

It would be up to the replacement tenant and landlord to decide whether the replacement is to replace you on the remaining term of the tenancy or whether the tenancy is to be surrendered and a new tenancy agreement granted to her of a separate length.


Whichever they decide it is very important that you get in writing a statement referring to the tenancy agreement (property, persons, dates, rent, length etc) and stating that you are either to be replaced or the tenancy is to be surrendered and that you liability under it shall ceased. There should be two copies which you should both sign and you should each keep a copy. This would be executed at the same time as the replacement tenant takes occupation.

 

Reasonable would just mean that the same standard of checking that was applied to you is applied to the replacement tenant. If you were asked for references then the replacement must similarly produce these and other requirements of the landlord.The landlord cannot refuse under subjective criteria (eg. "I just don't like the look of him" etc).


Hope this clarifies, if so please click accept.


Kind regards,


Tom

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6513
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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