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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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Hello, I want to leave the house share I am in at the moment

Resolved Question:

Hello,
I want to leave the house share I am in at the moment as I am being abuse there. I gave notice, and I was willing to find a new tenants for the room I am in. But the landlord wants me to stay for the 2 months of my notice period. My question is, what do I risk if I move out, and stop paying the rent. They will certainly keep my deposit, wich is fair enough, but will they go as far as suing me for that?
Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago via Tenancy Agreement Service.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.
Hi,

When does the fixed term of the tenancy expire please?

Did you sign a joint tenancy agreement with other tenants, or did you sign one tenancy agreement for a room with only you as tenant and the landlord signing it?

Tom
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

It's untitled "Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement".


It's a joint tenancy agreement with other tenants, although I wasn't really aware of that when I signed in.


Under "term", it says:


"The term shall be from and including 19 March 2013 to and including 31 January 2014 and then monthly periodic. "


However, it also contains a break clause that states:


"The tenant may bring the tenancy to an end at any time by giving to the landlord at least two rental month's prior notice in writing. "


 


I gave my notice last week. I am going to move onto a new flat on Thursday. I can't afford to stay in a house share where I got so much abuse. I have a high responsibility job which may be compromise by all that extra stress. ( I am an airline pilot).


 


 


I was willing to do my best to find another tenants to take my room, and then reduce my notice period. But the landlord doesn't seem very cooperative.


 


I am very tempted to move to my new place, forget about my actual place's deposit, and not pay the rent during the two months of my notice period. I know that legally I will be wrong, but I would like to know, from your experience, if the landlord or letting agency would go through the hassle of suing me to get those two month rent, or if they will simply keep my deposit.


Bearing in mind that I am vacating the property on the 27th of September, and the notice period covers the month of October and November.


 


Really my question is more a risk level assessment.


 


Thank you.


 


Simon.

Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.
Hi Simon,

Thanks.

Who is definied as "Tenant" in the agreement, is it (1) you on your own or (2) you and your housemates together?

Tom
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

The tenant is defined as our 4 names on the tenancy agreement.


As a matter of fact, 3 of us have given our notice period last week. One is moving for a new job, another one decided to leave when I told her I was leaving as she also being bullied.


The reminding one, is of course the one causing the trouble, and she is the only one in direct contact with the landlord. I think they have a good relationship. I only dealt with the letting agency so far.

Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.
Drafting your answer now, Simon.
Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.
Hi

Thanks for your patience.

The difficulty is that you are all named together as tenants. From the way the termination/break clause is constructed it means that the landlord is only under an obligation to accept a notice from all of you together. This means that he is not under an obligation to accept a notice from any of your individually.

This means that if you left (without all of the tenants together serving the notice) the landlord would be within his legal rights to keep your deposit and sue you for the balance of the rent payable under the contract. He would sue you for the whole of the rent for the remaining period on the basis that your notice was invalid (because it is just from you).

He would also be able to sue the other tenants as well, because you are jointly and severally liable under the tenancy agreement. Therefore, if you and the other three serve notice and one doesn’t then he would be within his legal rights to seek possession and then sue you all for the balance of the rent.

By simply leaving now you are hoping that he would not enforce the entirety of his legal rights. This is very risky. Suing you is not difficult but it depends on the individual landlord.

If the landlord and the other tenants are not minded to accept a replacement tenant that you can produce (they would both have to agree) but you simply cannot stand to live there any more then I would tempted to pay the negotiate only paying one months rent for the notice period with the landlord and concurrently with when you pay him this get him to execute a surrender of tenancy with you. This is a statement in writing confirming that you and he agree that the tenancy between you is terminate by mutual agreement.

It’s difficult to predict whether a landlord would be inclined to sue. If they are using an agent OR you are aware of them using solicitors in the past then the chances of him suing are dramatically increased. If he is not using an agent and you have not heard of him using solicitors before then I would say that the chances of suing you drop considerably (to basically 50:50)



Please remember to RATE my answer OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE or above if you are satisfied that you have received the correct legal advice (even if it is not the answer you wanted to hear), otherwise I do not receive any credit for answering your question.

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Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for your answer Tom, before rating you to an excellent service I just would like to make sure I understand you correctly.


 


As I understand, none of our notice period is legally valid. I guess in that case he couldn't just sue me, if he were to go to court, he would have then to sue all of us.


What do you mean when you say if I am aware of him using an Agent? I know he's renting the property through a letting agency, called guardian residential. But I am not sure if that's what you meant. ( you have to excuse me, I am a foreigner, so it's all a bit hard to me)?


 


Also, we are not talking about a huge rent. Each one of us pay 340£ every month. So is the cost of suing me worth doing for that amount?


I have no knowledge at all about going to court in the UK, I have no idea about the price involved, the hassle, and the length of the procedure.


 


To clarify, your advice was to try to contact him directly, negotiate to reduce the notice period to one month, pay him and get him to execute a surrender of tenancy?


 


Thank you for your help.


 


 

Expert:  Thomas replied 10 months ago.
Hi,

If all of the tenants (ie. you and your housemates) served once notice upon the landlord then it would be a valid notice. All other notices are technically legally invlaid.

He can sue all of you or any combination of you because of joint and several liability. His choice entirely.

If he is using a letting agent who act on a full management basis (ie. you have to contact them for every issue) then he is more likely to sue, yes.

Even though the rent is not huge it is still easy to sue people once you have done it a couple of times. So, yse, to a landlord who is happy to do a bit of admisntrative legwork it is worth it.

The final sentence of your most recent post is correct in terms of what I was proposing.

Please do remember to rate my answer.

TOm
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 6287
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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