UK Property Law
Get UK Property Law Questions Answered by Experts
2 months when she first moved in
the position is that the starting point is that subject as follows your niece cannot unilaterally end the tenancy before or during the fixed tenancy period. However it is possible to escape early from the tenancy by asking the landlord to remarket the property or for her herself to find a replacement tenant. The landlord has a common law duty to mitigate his costs and loses and as such must do his best to remarket the property. She would be liable for his reasonable marketing costs together with any reasonable agency fees - the fees proposed do not on the face of it appear unreasonable. However her liability would end on the earlier of the end of her existing new fixed term or a new tenant being sourced to replace her. The landlord cannot refuse to do anything at all or he will find that he is limited in the amount of continuing rent he can attempt to recover.
Notwithstanding any of the above, there are some other bases on which she can possibly extract herself from the agreement as follows though I do not suggest that any may be relevant if the property is in good condition however if there are any issues with the property she may be able to use the following to her advantage: the landlord has duties under statutory legislation. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides that the Landlord has a duty of care to provide adequate and safe conditions in his properties and the Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which shifted assessment towards health and safety impact. Each council is responsible for developing its own policy but most have a substantive list of requirements that address mould, damp and so on. There is a useful guide to the same here:
Regarding the electrical safety certificate the agent has requested payment for there is no basis for her to pay this unless it has been specifically agreed by her in the agreement - a standard term is not enough. There is no statutory requirement to obtain an electrical safety certificate and therefore if the agents wish to obtain one this is a matter between them and the landlord. The landlord has a duty to mitigate his costs at common law and subject as above I can see no reason your niece should pay the same.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
I don't see that they are saying that. The fees are only payable if she wishes to leave the tenancy earlier than the fixed term and my reading of the email does not suggest that they are asking for fees other than in the circumstances. certainly none would be payable unless she were to leave prior to the end of the term. the rationale behind paying fees is that your needs leaving early amounts to a breach of contract in contract law and the law is intended to place the landlord in the position he would have been but for her breach of contract. if she leaves early, the landlord has to you pay the agent a further fee to find a new tenant and so on and he is reasonably entitled to claim such costs. if she is still there at the end of the tenancy, although the agents will probably tell you otherwise, she fact needs to give no notice at all to move out and can simply leave without any notice whatsoever however in practice, it is better to advise the agents a month or more before the end of the tenancy that she is not staying.
having said all of the above, I would still be inclined to have the agents send her a signed copy of the tenancy agreement she signed originally and the renewal notice she signed. The reason for this is that I note the agent refers to the fact that she is now too late to give notice which leads me to suspect there may be some sort of break clause they are referring to. They have kindly advise that you cannot see any evidence of a break clause, because of this comment from the agents of nothing else, if it were me, I would wish to satisfy myself as to the exact terms of the document I signed rather than take it on faith from the agents in whom I generally have very little faithDoes the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?
Do you have the exact wording amended by the provision from the renewal notice you can give me or is the above the exact wording?