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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
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My tenant signed a 12 month fixed term tenancy but the next

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My tenant signed a 12 month fixed term tenancy but the next day changed her mind. I had advised by e mail previously that the notice period was one month in writing. I was of course referring to the end of the fixed period when the tenancy became a periodic tenancy. She is trying to hold me to the e mail. Is the e mail admissible in court or is it the contract which she has signed clearly stating 12 month fixed period.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi

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

An email can be admissible in Court as a variation of contract but if you made clear it was referring to a period outside of the AST then it matters not.

The practical reality with ASTs though is that one month tends to be the sum of the claim because of the duty to mitigate. Even where tenants leave very early into an AST landlords still have to seek another tenant and they don't get forever to achieve that.

Can I help furhter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I didn't make it clear in the email. Can she just therefore give notice 1 day into the tenancy?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
it depends whether the Court finds that the email gives her the right to give notice. Even if it does she still cannot just give notice at any point in the contract. It needs to run from the rent date to rent date.

If it doesn't incur a right to give notice then she cannot give notice but you are under a duty to mitigate your loss by seeking a replacement tenant.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 65320
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and 5 other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


My tenant started her tenancy on 14 June 2013 and sends an e mail asking to leave on 15 June 2013; would I be correct in thinking she is responsible for the rent until 15 August 2013 (accepting that I have a duty to mitigate my loss by finding another tenant) assuming that the court take the view that even though she signed a 12 month fixed term my e mail advising one months notice (without clarifying that it was after the fixed period) acts as a variation to contract allowing her to leave?


 


Can she give notice by e mail or does it need to be in writing with both signatures (joint tenancy)?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, if the contract dates are 14 th to 14 th then her notice in the 15 th will not begin until 14 th August and expire in September.

Obviously subject to your duty to mitigate being properly performed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Cant she give one months notice on 14 July to leave 14 August 2013 and does it need to be in writing with both signatures as it is a joint tenancy or is e mail acceptable?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
We'll she cannot lawfully give notice at all.

But if she does give notice by email then that is sufficient to trigger your duty to mitigate.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


But if the 12 month fixed term has been invalidated by my mistake in e mailing she can give one months notice and I have not clarified it by saying outside the fixed period then does my e mail not act as a variation to contract?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
There is a legal argument over that. If there is ambiguity in the contract then it will usually be decided against the drafting party.

However, it matters not really here because the duty to mitigate is such that you would probably only get one month to achieve a replacement.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I am still confused about the dates;


 


Tenancy started 14 June 2013


Tenant wishes to leave 15 June 2013


Earliest tenant can give notice is 14 July 2013 to leave on 14 August 20013 not 14 Sept 2013


 


All above accepting my duty to mitigate to find another tenant of course

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, you are right. That is my maths. In short, if she gives notice mid term it runs from the next term beginning date to its end which would be July
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 65320
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and 5 other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

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