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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22624
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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Hello, I rented a flat in London on March 7 for a one-year

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I rented a flat in London on March 7 for a one-year lease. My fianc�, cosigner on the lease, died accidently April 12. As he was the primary earner, I had to leaveand notified the agency of the emergency situation. The rent was paid through May 7. They said Early Termination would cost �2000 pounds, to repay the landlord, which I (reluctantly) agreed to pay. They put a clause in this agreement saying that I would nonetheless remain responsible for the rent until another tenant was found. Two months have gone by and they now want to keep the deposit to pay for �unpaid rent." How is it possible to have both terminated a lease and also remain responsible for rent? I stand to lose over �4000. Thank you for any help, advice you can provide.

Lisa Davidson

Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High
Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008.
During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions
from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other
users, I might not always respond in
minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me
while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

What type of agreement do you have?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I'm not sure what you mean, it was an assured shorthold tenancy



Yes, thank you.
That was what I wanted to know.

What an
unsympathetic lot they are

How much is the
monthly rent?

When did you leave?

Is the property
occupied now or not by another tenant?

Are they trying to
get another tenant?

How much deposit
did you pay?

I am online and off-line
each day. So please bear with me if I do not get back to you within

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX friendly sympathy goes a long way.


The rent was £1538.33 per month

Deposit: £2130

They say they have not found another tenant, hence my responsibility to keep paying, although I have not paid after May 7, having paid £2000 for Early Termination. It feels like an Orwellian situation, having paid to terminate but still being held responsible for the rent. They want to keep the deposit in lieu of this "rent due".

Thank you. I
obviously cannot deal with the emotional bits or their complete and utter lack
of sympathy. I can give you the legalities.

Legally, you have
to pay the rent until the end of the term, or until they get another tenant.
They are under a duty to attempt to get another tenant, and in this respect, if
you continue to pay the rent, there are attempts are probably going to be
half-hearted. I would therefore be reluctant to pay anything else unless they
issue proceedings or you get a letter from a solicitor.

If they accepted £2000
per month for early termination, they would only do that if they had another
tenant who was likely to going which means that they would have made a bit of a
windfall of £500 over and above the normal monthly rent.

At this stage in
time, I would see a solicitor and get a solicitor to write to the landlord
telling them that, there was an agreement whereby they took £2000 (which was
paid) in order to terminate the tenancy and therefore you are no longer
indebted to them.

If there was a
clause in the agreement, saying that you are responsible for the rent until
another tenant is found or until the end of the term, it begs the question as
to what the £2000 was for.

The solicitor can
also ask them what attempts they have made to get another tenant in because, as
I said, they are under a duty to mitigate their loss and to try to get another

At this stage, they
are due rent in respect of May and June and July (you say that you paid until
the beginning of May).

That would be
£4500, taking away the £2000 you paid already, and ignoring what it was for
allegedly, and taking away the deposit, they are virtually paid up to date.

As I said earlier,
you have actually not got a defence to the payment of the rent, but what you
can do is allege you vacated the property at the end of April and they have not
even been trying to get a tenant and therefore they are responsible for their
own losses and if this proceeds to court, you were raised that in defence.

I wish there was a
definitive answer to this but I am afraid that there is not.

What you are going
to have to do is bluff this one out a little.

I wish I could be
the bearer of better news, but least you have some ideas. I appreciate that it
is not the answer you wanted but there is no point in me misleading you. I have
a duty to advise you truthfully and honestly, even if that answer is

that answer the question? Can I help further? Can I answer any specific points?

Please don't forget to
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should now see a series of buttons which enable you to rate my answer service

If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0
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It doesn't give me, "a pat on the head", "good boy" (like ebay), it is my

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Stuart J and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

I had
thought about this in the early hours of this morning.


agreements come to an end the death of the tenant. It usually only applies to
leaseholders would I have seen it in assured short hold tenancies.


reason is that sell the landlord is not having to chase the executor of the
deceased's estate for rent from an empty property.


It may
or may not be in your tenancy agreement, but do check in fine detail. If it
says that the tenancy comes to an end on the death of the tenant. I think it
unlikely that you could argue that it's come to an end if you are both named,
but it is an argument. You could use with the landlord now, even if, if this
matter ended in court, the argument may fail.

It would
be an argument more forcefully put by a solicitor and in that respect, do
consider getting a solicitor to look at the agreement and perhaps write a
letter to the landlord

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much for your extra effort. As I have returned to France, where I am now living, it just may be too much effort and money to continue to fight this, as the outcome doesn't sound too optimistic.


best regards and thanks


Glad to help even so.

On the other side of the coin, it isn't practical for the landlord to sue you in France!

I wouldn't pay anything else until court proceedings land on my doormat in all probability