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A tenant has a 3 month rental agreement (for a flat in London)

fully paid in advance with...
A tenant has a 3 month rental agreement (for a flat in London) fully paid in advance with a landlord via a rental agency. The tenant notifies the landlord via the agency that they wish to vacate the property after 1 month (they were victim of an assault on the property). The agency agrees to this (verbally and not in writing) and promptly finds a new tenant for the very next day. Is the old tenant eligible for a refund of the overpaid amount (The landlord keeps the pre paid rent and receives rent from the new tenant). If so, under what statute/law?
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
6/7/2013
Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Joshua :

Thanks for your question. Please kindly RATE my answer when you are satisfied

Joshua :

Is the new tenant to sign a new tenancy or to take over the existing tenancy please?

Customer:

It is my understanding that the new tenant signed a new tenancy agreement.

Joshua :

Thanks. It is not possible to simultaneously charge rent for the same property twice for the same period. From the date the new tenant moves in you will need to refund the old tenant pro rata for any rent he has paid from that point until the end of the period he has paid for.

Joshua :

However you are able to claim reasonable expenses and costs for advertising the property and the new tenancy agreement

Joshua :

The aim of the law is to put you in the same position you would have been in had it not been for the tenant seeking to move out early. By the same note however the law does not allow an individual to profit from a breach of contract (the tenant seeking to end its tenancy earlier than the minimum term amounts to a breach of contract).

Joshua :

The authority for the above is rooted in common law. There are long established principles of common law that an injured party must mitigate his losses and may not charge a penalty for a breach of contract. i.e. he cannot claim more in damages than is reasonable to put him back in the position he would have been in but for the breach of contract. The rules are enforced by the courts in respect of any claims for damages that come before them.

Customer:

The landlord via the agency have refunded only a partial amount and claim that this payment was from the goodness of their heart. The tenant had broken the contract and it was tough luck. They encouraged the seeking of legal advice (what I am doing) and do not want to discuss the matter further. The outstanding amount is £600 so I assume small claims court is the way to go.

Joshua :

Thanks...

Joshua :

May I clarify are you the tenant here as opposed to the landlord?

Customer:

I am a friend of the tenant

Joshua :

Thanks. They are very much mistaken. You will want to ask them for a comprehensive breakdown of any deductions they have made from a refund. As above they are entitled to claim reasonable administrative expenses for re advertising the tenancy (which from what you say will be minimal or non existent as they seemed to have a tenant waiting on their books so this probably involved little more than a phone call. They could seek to calim costs for preparing a new tenancy agreement and for the cost of checkout but against these costs should be reasonable and would not be expected to be beyond a high two figure or high three figure sum

Joshua :

If they will not give a breakdown or they will and their charges are unreasonable then your friend can advise the items he is not satisfied with and ask them for further information on how these charges have been arrived at. If the explanation is not reasonable your friend can issue proceedings against the landlord to claim the balance back.

Joshua :

In addition if your friend paid a deposit and had occupation of the whole flat the deposit should have been protected in a deposit protection fund within 14 days of receipt. If it was not your friend will have a claim for up to three times the amount of the deposit from the landlord under the Localism and the Housing Act. If they have not been provided with evidence of protection this should also be asked for so they can so confirm

Joshua :

The simplest way to issue proceedings if necessary is using the courts online issuing service. It is cheap and legal costs cannot be claimed so there is little risk to your friend in doing so.

Joshua :

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26,070
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Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice

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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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