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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70416
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Ive offered to rent a property by email, but have not signed

Customer Question

I've offered to rent a property by email, but have not signed a contract. I want to withdraw my offer. Do I have any liability?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

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

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

What type of contract is it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't know, I haven't seen a contract yet. I expect it will be a standard English shorthold tenancy agreement.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

When are you due to move in?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We've discussed 1st August, pending my passing a credit check (which I have paid for, and they have initiated).

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you.

I needed 10 min to type out an answer if that is okay? Unfortunately it's bad news though.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As long as it's correct, that's fine. Yes. Please take the ten minutes.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I am sorry and I wish there was something else I could say but you are in difficulty here I'm afraid.

Unfortunately, you did agree without equivocation. I do realise that you did not sign an agreement but that does not mean you are not bound. I am obviously presuming that they accepted your offer or that they made an offer and you accepted it in your emails. I haven't seen your correspondence but it would seem likely.

I had been hoping that you had given them a longer notice period because they are under a duty to mitigate their loss by seeking a replacement tenant and they would not have been able to claim from you as well.

However, if you only gave notice this week and you are due to move in on or around 1 August then realistically your landlord and his agents do not have time to find a replacement. Unfortunately, if that is the case then you remain liable until they do.

All this said, they may choose not to enforce against you. It is more trouble than it is worth often to do so. Further, you may be in an area where the rental market is excellent and that may mean that the property is let very quickly. That would release you from your obligations.

I am very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No that's everything, thank you. I am going to check the answer with the citizen's advice bureau in the morning and if they say the same thing I'll accept your answer.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

All the best.