How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Thomas Judge Your Own Question
Thomas Judge
Thomas Judge, solicitor Advocate
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 33038
Experience:  award winning lawyer with over 15 years experience
Type Your UK Property Law Question Here...
Thomas Judge is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have asked to surrender my Assured Shorthold Tenancy of 6

Customer Question

I have asked to surrender my Assured Shorthold Tenancy of 6 months. I have been in the place 13 months and was only offered ASTs. In my ignorance of tenancy law I could have requested a periodic tenancy after 6 months that would have suited my needs better.
I am less than a month into my AST and have requested permission to surrender the property. The surrender wording says the landlord must agree and I must incur reasonable costs of finding a new tenant. These include continuing to pay rent until a new tenant is found & (apparently) £800+VAT.
I have said I think I can introduce someone ready to move in with good credit history. They still want £800+VAT
I don't think this is reasonable.
What would be reasonable costs to be incurred?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.

have they justified this sum?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The MD is going to provide a cost breakdown today. I think they slap lots of smaller charges on you so that any one price can't be classed as extortionate.
See for what I'm about to get into. I won't see my deposit back :-(
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.

Basically there is quite a lot of flexibility for the landlord when it comes to 'reasonable' and the court may well consider that £800 is a reasonable figure - but they will have to justify the sum. That is why they will need to provide you with a full breakdown for the sum that they are claiming. Happy to discuss. Please remember to rate positive

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Mr Wake
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me last night, I hope I explained the situation clearly and that you now have a better understanding of the process and the costs going forward. As promised I am now writing to confirm the alternatives we discussed.
The existing tenancy can only be surrendered once your landlord has been approached and agreed to us finding a suitable tenant to replace you and a suitable new tenant has been found, all references have been undertaken, a new Tenancy Agreement signed with the rent and deposit having been paid in full by these new tenants. Approximately a week prior to the new tenants intended date of occupation, we will need to undertake a full checkout of the property against the current inventory, which will mean you having vacated and cleaned the property etc (as per our guidelines for checkout which will be sent to you at the time) Council Tax move out report and Utility readings will be taken and sent to suppliers when the new tenant moves in. You are responsible until this date.
As mentioned previously, all expenses relating to the new tenancy must be borne by yourself. The fee for finding a new tenant will be £795 plus VAT. (£954 inc VAT) This has been discounted by Danielle to include the Tenancy Agreement Fee (£178.72 inc VAT) Tenancy Deposit Scheme Fee (£51.06 inc VAT) Inventory Fee (£91.91 inc VAT) This represents a saving on our normal fees of £321.69. These would be the fees that a landlord would normally pay for us finding a tenant for his property and does not include the on-going management of the property.
If you wanted to find your own tenant, whether by your own advertising or use of another agent, we are happy for this to happen, but the tenant would be subjected to our normal vigorous vetting process to ensure suitability and affordability of the property. Costs for this would be as follows:- Tenant Referencing Fee, normally paid by ingoing tenant £300 Tenancy Agreement Fee (£178.72 inc VAT) Tenancy Deposit Scheme Fee (£51.06 inc VAT) Inventory Fee (£91.91 inc VAT) The potential cost to you would be £321.69 plus the £300 from the tenant
These are therefore the two alternatives open to you but please note, that until a new tenant takes up occupation you remain liable for the rent, security, council tax and utility bills for the property. Any absences of more than 30 days should be reported to us as they may invalidate the landlords insurance and incur additional charges for which you would be responsible.
In order for us to be able to commence this process we would have to first contact the landlord to gain his permission and would then formally write to you to confirm and ask you to to also confirm in writing your acceptance of the terms and at that point give a specific date when you would like the property re let to new tenants. At this point we would also require a payment of £300.00 in advance towards the fee. This is taken as so many tenants say they want to go, we do all the work and then they change their mind leaving us out of pocket. The balance of the fee for finding a new tenant would normally then be deducted from the deposit monies held, once you have been checked out of the property.
We are unable to commence the remarketing of the property until both written confirmation of the acceptance of the above terms is received, together with the payment of £300.00. Should re-marketing commence and you then decide to remain at the property, this payment would be non-refundable.
At checkout (normally a few days before the new tenancy starts) you would be responsible for leaving the property in the condition you found it and as per your tenancy agreement would be charged £105 check out fee. If a second checkout was required due to work having to be carried out (cleaning etc) then a second checkout fee could be charged of £77I hope this covers all aspects of our conversation regarding the Tenant Replacement, please get in touch if you need any further information to allow you to make an informed de
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.

If they have documentation which supports these figures the a court would in my opinion consider these to be reasonable sums. The difficulty you have is obviously you want to surrender the tenancy earlier and they can of course hold you to term. Happy to discuss. Please rate positive.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They have £1200 in the TDS. I believe that this organisation will go out of their way to find myriad hundred pound fees for every slight problem. I want every sum they claim for mediated by the TDS adjudicator. If I continue to pay rent after leaving the property and handing back the keys I will have the devils own job getting any back.
Where do I stand if I refuse to pay any more rent, move everything out of the property and visit their office with the keys to hand them back, leaving the property and inventory in good condition as per the supplied inventory when I moved in? They have £1200 to come up with frivolous ways to charge me but no more. And they won't want the rent in arrears. It is a very rentable property. It won't be vacant for long.
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.

If you stop paying then you would be in breach of contract and then they would be able to sue you for the money outstanding pursuant to the terms of the contract. Happy to discuss. Please remember to rate positive

Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.

I hope that this helps - please rate positive - thanks

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I hear what you are saying but the amount that is held in bond has to be negotiated through an arbitrator (the TPS in this case) who has to be convinced that each and every sum the letting agent demands is reasonable (before it ever goes to court). I will pay rent week by week once I have a proper contract for the new house to limit my liability.
In theory they could sue but in practice, if the keys are accepted when I surrender the property, they'd have to find me and go to the expense of doing so when they have a very marketable property and a duty to keep it occupied.
This particular agent has plenty of online history of inventing spurious cleaning charges that eat away at the returnable deposits - witness "I've never seen swindlers so shoddily disguised as estate agents in all the years I've been renting. The only thing missing from these guys is a pencil moustache and a cat to stroke while speaking to tenants.I want to make sure they have to fight for every last penny through an independent arbitrator with a proper claims process rather than me have to justify getting it back (yeah good luck with that one....).Get ready for the fight of your life if you want your deposit back. They will contest everything from scratches that require Hubble to actually spot to marks on your oven hob because you dared use it! Spot on a curtain? �50. Microscopic scratch on a radiator? �50. Dirt on the window? �50. Speck of dust on the floor? Boom! �50. I tried hunting for the pixels that showed the marks in the photos they sent as evidence but most of the time it turned out to be dirt on my actual computer screen that I was seeing!Please read the online reviews about these guys before you consider renting from them. I wish I had. We're not the only ones with a similar experience."
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.

Ok. I see your point. Happy to help with any additional questions - please rate positive - thanks