Dispute of fixed-term tenancy and unfair surrender propositions

by Readers Question

11:06 AM, 7th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Dispute of fixed-term tenancy and unfair surrender propositions

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Dispute of fixed-term tenancy and unfair surrender propositions

I am a tenant under a fixed-tenancy contract which has been problematic since commencement. At current my occupancy is only at three weeks however, after numerous issues I proposed that the landlord agrees to surrender teancy. Ten days after this request, a proposition for surrender was placed by the estate agency. I have posted a copy of the main point of the proposition below.break

I have been asked to provide a response within only half a working day and so believe this is unfair as it does not give me chance to seek my own legal advice.
I initially proposed a two month notice period from myself, as tenant, and also granted permission for viewing to be conducted at any times and without need for permissions to allow new tenants to be found. I believed this reasonable and I also agreed to pay the tenancy transfer fee listed in the fixed-term contract.
The additional costs listed on the message are not in the fixed-term agreement and so I was wondering if these are legal?
I’m also unsure why I have to cover the landlords costs for mutually ending the agreement?

Any adivce on these points would be grealty appreciated,
Best regards,
Elliott

The surrender of tenancy propostion from landlord to tenant:

We can market the property as available for immediate occupation. Once a suitable tenant has been found and signed up, only then can we release you of your contract. You will be liable for the full rent until the commencement date of the replacement tenant’s tenancy at the property.
You will also have to cover the Landlord’s inventory, check-in, deposit protection costs for the new tenancy (which he is only incurring for the 2nd time in a year due to your leaving) at a total cost of £195.
You will also be charged a contract break penalty of £300 which covers amongst other things the time & expense involved in re-marketing the property and conducting viewings again, all the relevant admin of breaking a contract, etc. Please note the agency’s usual cost for this work (lettings fee for each new tenancy) would be over £1270 for this property.



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:11 AM, 7th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Elliot,

How has this been left so far?

Steve From Leicester

16:16 PM, 7th September 2015
About 3 years ago

First of all the strict legal position is that you've signed an agreement for a fixed term and you're liable for the rent for that entire period (unless the landlord has broken his side of the contract by, for example, repeatedly failing to deal with significant reported maintenance issues). So the landlord or his agent don't legally have to offer you any sort of deal, they can just charge you the full rent for the period.

However, if it went to court a judge would normally expect the landlord or his agent to take reasonable steps to mitigate his losses. The usual deal is that the current tenant agrees to pay rent up to the point a new tenant moves in AND covers the landlord's costs associated with the re-let.

So, until your final paragraph it looked perfectly reasonable. Where the agent might have gone awry is referring to a "penalty charge". Neither the landlord nor his agent can charge you a "penalty" they can only charge for actual costs incurred.

The wording is important. If £300 (plus £195) is what the agent would, in the normal scheme of things have charged the landlord for a re-let then they can charge you this amount. Equally, if it represents a "contribution to costs incurred" it can be charged. However, if its simply a "penalty" or a "fine" then it's got no legal basis.


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