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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70194
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I am having difficulties with a rental property. I am half way through a two year tenant l

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I am having difficulties with a rental property. I am half way through a two year tenant lease and want to terminate it. I believe the landlord must recognise that the defects which remain outstanding, although individually not overly important, collectively have caused serious dissatisfaction with the property. I am now unwilling to put up with these delays and just want out. How do I go about terminating the agreement.

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

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Is this an assured shorthold tenancy agreement?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Jo, it's an assured short hold tenancy agreement of a fixed two year term.
Regards, Steven

Is there a break clause?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No break clause, hence my dilemma. Property has needed constant repairs since we entered the agreement and still has a list of defects to complete. Landlord indicates intention to carry out works, but when his tradesmen eventually get round to repairing defects, they rarely get it right. To be fair to them, it's an old house, but that's no excuse. We now feel that we've tried and failed to live with the defects and want out.
I am sorry but its bad news although the liability may not be as bad as you think.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

Unfortunately ASTs are very hard to escape. You pretty much have to show that the property is gutted by fire damage or flooding and so you cannot live in it. Another acceptable reason would be that a person's life is in immediate danger like a gas leak.

I'm afraid that things like change of circumstances of the tenant or the fact that the premises is not salubrious is not sufficient.

You could try to negotiate with the landlord. Sometimes they will agree to allow tenants to leave as its in their interests too on occasions.

If that is not possible here then I'm afraid you will be acting unlawfully if you leave early. However the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement tenant and he will not get forever to achieve that. Realistically, if a landlord is really trying, most properties can be let to another tenant comfortably within a month. You will only be liable up until the time that the landlord is able to replace you which will be nothing like the remaining months due under the contract.

Of course, there is a risk that the landlord will not be able to find a replacement. If so, the Court will ask him to prove that he has looked for a replacement. If he is able to do so to the Court's satisfaction then you would be liable for that period but that is very unlikely.

This is not to say though that you don't have a claim against him in disrepair. The property might well be so filled with defects that you have a claim in disrepair. You can sue for money compensation. What you can't do though is terminate for this reason I'm afraid.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information

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