Early termination of a fixed one year tenancy agreement

by Readers Question

11:03 AM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Early termination of a fixed one year tenancy agreement

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Early termination of a fixed one year tenancy agreement

Following the non payment of rent due on the 1st May, my tenants have requested an early termination of their fixed one year tenancy as a result of family change of circumstances.

Their guarantor to the Agreement (their father) has now paid the o/s rent following an exchange of emails/telecons, in which I have reminded them of their contractual obligations under their Tenancy Agreement and agreed with them that we will release them from their obligations as and when we find a suitable new tenant for the property.(ie we will only agree to termination of their tenancy when a new tenant has been found and has signed up).

Until this date the existing tenants remain responsible for paying the rent and all other costs that are identified in the Agreement, including any shortfall in the letting fees still due to our agents.

I pointed out to the tenants that, while I couldn’t insist on this, it would greatly assist in the speedy re-marketing of the property if they decided to vacate the property themselves. I pointed out that if they chose to do this they would still be responsible for the rent until the date that we agreed as their tenancy termination date, at which point the matter of their deposit would be dealt with as per the T&C’s in the Tenancy Agreement.

They have now vacated the property and have not (so far) rejected any of the points I have made concerning their ongoing obligations. Can you advise me whether by vacating the property voluntarily they have made it more difficult for me to enforce the continuing payment of rent?”

Thanks

Henry cancel



Comments

Colin Dartnell

12:25 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Henry I think I may have left them in place with a proviso that they leave at short notice if a tenant was found. Although they are liable for the rent anyway, psychologically while living there they are using the premises and can see that you are trying to find tenants then they feel more obliged to pay up without you possibly having to chase them. Normally they would also be liable for the Council Tax until the end of their tenancy even if they are not living there, but I don't know if that changes as you have asked them to leave. Perhaps someone could add a comment on that one.

Yvette Newbury

13:01 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Assuming you have a confirmed forwarding address for them and are still in touch with the guarantor, and his address and other contact details are up to date I would say you are in a good position. If they had remained in the property and then not agreed to pay you any more rent you would then have all the technicalities and expense of evicting them. This way, you have your property back and can re-rent it as soon as you can. Just make sure there are no delays in advertising the property etc so that you limit the expense of ongoing rent payable to you by the outgoing tenant/guarantor. In this situation you need to ensure you mitigate your loss by replacing the tenant as soon as you can. I imagine you are keen to do this too as the outgoing tenants seem to be genuine people who have done all that has been requested of them thus far.

Carol Thomas

16:38 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Henry
You will be responsible for the Council Tax and all of the bills relating to the property, as well as gas, electric and water. I had a similar thing happen in that the tenants moved to their new home two weeks before the end date of their agreement and the Council advised me that I was responsible for the Council Tax from the date they moved out. I hope you took meter readings on the date they left.
I do think you would have been in a stronger position if you had let them continue on in the property, but hindsight is a glorious thing! Good luck with it all and I hope you get a new tenant soon.

Martin Rdg

17:17 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

I am not sure you would be responsible for the council tax - I would not trust what the council say. I always state in the contract I use that tenants are responsible for all utilities and the council tax for the duration of the tenancy agreement.

Carol Thomas

17:23 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Martin Rdg" at "26/05/2014 - 17:17":

Ring your council and see! There was a long discussion on this a few weeks ago. Go to my profile and you should find it there.

Carol Thomas

17:24 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Martin Rdg" at "26/05/2014 - 17:17":

Ring your council and see! There was a long discussion on this a few weeks ago. Go to my profile and you should find it there. 'Council Tax and Periodic Tenancy'

Yvette Newbury

17:56 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

I disagree you would be responsible for council tax and all bills relating to the tenancy in this situation, as long as your tenancy agreement confirms the tenant is liable- this will be for you to argue with the utility providers and council tax team though as they may be keen for you to pay!

Romain Garcin

18:12 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Who's liable to the council for council tax is defined by law and the tenancy agreement is obviously not binding to the council.
The tenancy in Henry's case is a 12 month fixed term tenancy so he has the law on his side and the liability should stay with the tenant even if he is no longer a resident.

The tenancy agreement is useful to go after the tenant for a refund if the landlord has to pay for CT or utilities.

Regarding Henry's question, I think asking the tenant to leave is muddying the waters since that's conflicting with the tenancy continuing.
Hopefully it is clear to both parties that, as the tenancy is treated as continuing, the tenant can still access and use the property as he wishes and that Henry cannot treat it as 'having got it back'. If there is evidence of the contrary then arguably the tenancy has ended by operation of law.

Carol Thomas

19:10 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

It will be interesting to see who is right! Granted, some councils may be different, but in my experience, they want a bite of both cherries!

Romain Garcin

19:17 PM, 26th May 2014
About 4 years ago

The law applies in the same way to all councils.
Obviously they try to pressure the easiest target, usually the landlord. If quoting the law does not work, and to avoid long arguments, there is still the VOA to appeal to directly.

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