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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7610
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Our tenant asked to leave her tenancy early which we agreed.

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Our tenant asked to leave her tenancy early which we agreed. She gave notice to go on 6th June. Her rent was not paid on 5th may so is in arrears. She has moved out, there is damage to the property which will not be covered by the bond. She said she wanted to hand the keys over early and we said yes and she would not be charged rent after we got the keys. We asked for the keys by 4pm today. She has not done

When does the fixed term of the tenancy expire please?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
5/8/13 was the original term. She asked for a 12 month as opposed to a 6 month term. She asked in April if she could go early and gave a date of 5/6/13. She has already moved out

What date did you agree that she could moved out on?

Did you state that this was subject to the rent being up to date and to her handing in the keys?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The letting agent said she would be going on 5/6. On 8/5 the tenant emailed the agent and said the property was empty and ready to be handed over She stated she old rather hand the keys over as opposed to keeping them until June. She also stated the rent due on 5/5 would have to be taken out of the bond.

Thanks for your patience.

If the tenancy does not contain a break clause entitling the tenant to terminate the lease any earlier than the expiry of the fixed term then the only way she can get out of it is by finding a replacement tenant OR agreeing a surrender of tenancy with you.

The question is whether you have agreed to surrender the tenancy. I presume that because you have “said yes” that you did agree to her vacating only. Best practice would for to execute a written surrender at the property with the tenancy whilst the checkout is conducted and the keys have been handed over.

IN this case I would say that the earliest that she could vacate would be the date that you agreed with, rather than simply the date that she vacated, and that this would be completed by handing over the keys and paying the rent up to that date..

If this has not happened then I would say that it is not an effective surrender and you would be entitled to sue the tenancy for the remaining rent on the tenancy and for the damage that she has caused (because this would be a separate breach of contract).

If she pays the rent up to the date that you agreed to vacate AND handed in the keys before that date then I would consider it a a valid surrender and would say that you could not sue her for any more rent but COULD sue her for the damage caused in a separated breach of contract action.

If she neither pays the rent up to the date you agreed and does not hand in the keys then you could sue her for all the rent outstanding (up to that date and remaining on the tenancy agreement) and sue her for damages for the disrepair she has caused.

You would likely get a money judgement on the outstanding rent for a couple of months worth, since you are under an obligation to mitigate your loss by reletting the premises once the tenant has vacated.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Am I allowed to ask her for the rent or the keys by a certain date and take possession of the property then.Also I have a new tenant wanting to move in on 25/5

You can offer her a surrender of tenancy on those terms, yes. It's up to her whether she accepts it. You need to make her aware that she remains bound to pay the rent until a valid surrender has occurred.

You need to sort out the surrender/return of keys before your new tenant moves in. Your current tenant could reappear, pay the rent and attempt to take possession if a surrender is not executed which would leave you in a very difficult position if this happens (unlikely as it is).

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