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Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 33038
Experience:  award winning lawyer with over 15 years experience
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I was made redundant a month ago. We informed our landlords

Customer Question

Hi, I was made redundant a month ago. We informed our landlords and they verbally agreed to surrender our tenancy (we would cover the £750 estate agent fee out of our deposit). A potential tenant was found. The landlords then gave us a letter formalising our verbal agreement, but we did not sign it as it said we should pay for the property to be empty for a week. They became angry and irrational. The potential tenant then unfortunately pulled out.
It seems our landlords have subsequently requested the estate agent not to seek to re-let the property. We however need to leave as there is no more work for me in this rural area, but they are not communicating with us.
Is there anything we can do? Can they pull out after signing that document? What would be the consequences if we sublet the property to us help cover the rent (although our tenancy agreement precludes it)?
Thanks and kind regards, *****
PS I am currently claiming jobseekers allowance
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Hi Ben,You are entitled to rely on the verbal agreement as entered into between you and the landlord where they stated that you would be released from the tenancy - you will of course have to ensure that you comply with your part of the agreement and pay the agents as agreed and on time. Please remember to rate positively
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But we have a written agreement stating:"Further to your notice that you wish to terminate your rental agreement ahead of term, we wish to confirm the following.You have stated that you will vacate the property, leaving it in good condition, by 30th July at the latest, earlier if you can, in order for us to prepare the property for occupation by the new tenant by 1st August 2015.Should this not be achieved we shall require you to pay further rental pro-rata to the current monthly rate until occupatin can be achieved.With regard to our costs in relation to your early termination, you are aware that we will incur the loss of one month's rental as the agent's fee in securing a replacement tenant. We assume that you are in agreement for this to be deducted from your deposit..We shall be grateful if you will sign the accompanying copy of this letter to register your agreement to the above"So, is this written agreement (particularly the part about releasing us from further rental payments) still valid even though the tenant apparently pulled out?Does it matter if we sign and return the above? We didn't do this so far.Our preferred option would be to move out on the 30th. But if the above agreement is no longer valid, what about the question of subletting it?Very many thanks,Ben
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
You should not be subletting because that would be in breach of the point which you made earlier - namely that you agreed with the landlord to move out
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Understood: it would be either we move out and stop paying rent, or we move out keep paying rent and sublet to cover that.But how do you interpret the above agreement: if we move out on the 30th as it states will we still be liable for paying rent (or does the fact that they no longer have a tenant invalidate that agreement)?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
But your case as I understand it is that you are acting on the basis of the reliance you are placing on the verbal agreement with the landlord. Thats your case
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry this is not really making things much clearer.
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
As I understand from what you have written - after the written agreement you entered into verbal agreement with the landlord that you could leave early on the basis that you paid agent fees. You are now holding the landlord to the terms of the verbal agreement.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No it was like this in chronological order:
1. Verbal agreement (landlords found a potential tenant, so we could pay them £750 and move out on the 30th, in return for not paying anymore rent.
2. The written agreement I typed out above, in speechmarks.I want to know, does the written agreement still hold even though there is no more tenant to move in. Thanks
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
has the written agreement been signed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The written agreement has been signed by them but not by us.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The tenant has pulled out, and it seems the landlords have requested the estate agents not to seek another tenant. What can we do?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
If you sign the written agreement then it would still hold even though there is no tenant anymore. The other option you have is to not sign the written agreement and go back and say we have this verbal agreement - we are relying on it - we have consent from the landlord to move out on the 30th and that's what we intend to do.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Really, it would still hold even without a tenant?Read again where it says "Should this [the new tenant moving in] not be achieved we shall require you to pay further rental pro-rata to the current monthly rate until occupatin can be achieved."That seems pretty clear to me that we would still be liable to pay rent, regardless of a new tenant being achieved or not. What do you think?
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Which is why I keep coming back to the fact that your best argument is to rely on the verbal contract entered into between you and the landlord.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Alright, supposing we rely on that verbal agreement how do we enforce it? There were no witnesses to what was said / implied.
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
I would suggest that you formally send an email to the landlord/agent confirming the terms of that discussion.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I did that actually, but it doesn't contain anything materially different to their written agreement to me given above. The bit that's missing is what we could do if the tenant fell through.That's the situation we are in now, and that's what I'd like advice on. Unfortunately I cannot truthfully say there was a verbal agreement that regardless of whether there was anyone to move in, we would no longer be liable to pay rent.And the problem is for us now that they appear to have stopped looking, as they are angry with us.Hence my initial questions about sub-letting - if we are going to loose our deposit anyway, what's the worst that could happen?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But yes, our favoured option would be to move out on the 30th as per the agreement, loose our deposit but not have to pay pro-rata rent. Are you able to tell me that we have a case for doing that, based on the above?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear *****, I am not satisfied with my answer because I do not feel my original question has been addressed. I would please like to request a refund as I have no more time today to spend on this. Tomorrow I will go and see a lawyer face to face. Thanks, Ben
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
ok