What am I entitled to if tenant leaves after 1 month?

by Readers Question

13:23 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

What am I entitled to if tenant leaves after 1 month?

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What am I entitled to if tenant leaves after 1 month?

I had a tenant that signed a 6 month contract; paid deposit and 1st months rent. Decided after approx 1 month to just leave!; did notify me via email they had gone.abandon ship

I get conflicting legal advice on what I can claim for.

He seems to think he can get his deposit back via the DPS!

One “legal expert” said I could only claim for when I was out of pocket i.e. from the moment he left until the moment I refilled the room with a new tenant. This doesn’t sound right!; otherwise what’s the point of a timescale on the contract?; also I could leave the room empty for 5 months just to claim for that period deliberately .

I *assume* I can claim for the remaining 5 months even if the room is filled now?

I’ve tried to be fair to him as her circumstances changed; but obviously he doesn’t care about me and my business.

Assuming I get the deposit back via the DPS plan to take out a CCJ for the 5 months rent and then transfer to a high court writ.

Any advice welcome!

thanks

Mark



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:31 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Mark,

You have a contract up to the end of the 6 months and can claim arrears, but only up until the point you re-let the property.

Mark Hula

13:57 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Neil,

Thanks for the information.
I filled the room about 5 days after he left (he didn't give any notice). So I can only claim for the 5 days?
Whats then point of a timescale on the contract then?

If I take a 12 month contract out with Vodaphone and then after 1 month swap to orange I still owe vodaphone for 11 months.

Why is that case different?

Cheers

Luke P

14:18 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Hula" at "29/11/2016 - 13:57":

You cannot just 'sit on your hands' so-to-speak as you suggest in your post. You have a duty to mitigate any losses and as you have refilled the room, then you can indeed only claim for that 'empty' period.

If you were genuinely advertising and nobody was interested for the remainder of the tenancy, then that's when the defined timescale would come into play.

Ainis Radzevicius

14:21 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Neil,

Having looked at the story I think the 5 days of pro rata rent compensation, this is what you can claim from the deposit. Have you had the inventory done for the new tenants? Perhaps the tenant did some damage to the property? It all depends on the AST you have signed with your tenant.

Regarding the Vodafone contract, you can leave it, providing you are giving the telephone back and do have a valid reason to terminate it. I have done it with Three some time ago as moved to another place where I couldn't get any reception.

Cheers

Romain Garcin

16:08 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

There is no obligation to mitigate your loss: There is a tenancy and until that tenancy ends the rent will continue to accrue.

The tenancy ended when Mark took possession back and relet it so that the tenant has no liability beyond that point.

How much the tenant is liable for depends on when the tenancy ended with respect to when rent is due.
E.g. if the tenancy ended 5 days after the rent due date (I assume rent was payable in advance) then strictly Mark can claim the whole month rent, not just 5 days pro-rata.

Luke P

16:10 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "29/11/2016 - 16:08":

Romain, in this instance you are wrong. A Court would not allow you to do nothing and charge for it (assuming you had knowledge the tenant had left and effectively given up the property).

It is an established principle of contract law that any party to a contract will be required to mitigate any losses they experience due to the other party’s failure to fulfil their contractual obligations. This position is conveyed in British Westinghouse Electric Coy v Underground Electric Railways Coy [1912] AC 673.

As a result of this contractual principle, it is apparent that it remains incumbent on the landlord to attempt to mitigate their loss and rent the property again at the earliest opportunity if a tenant ends their tenancy early and the landlord retakes possession. Contractual law holds that a landlord should not simply let a property remain empty and subsequently make a claim for future rent.

Romain Garcin

16:28 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "29/11/2016 - 16:10":

This isn't simply a contractual issue, this is a tenancy issue.

When a tenant offers to surrender a tenancy the landlord is free to accept or refuse.
Where the tenancy is a fixed term it means that the landlord is free to treat the tenancy as continuing until the expiry of the term.

Luke P

16:29 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "29/11/2016 - 16:28":

Okay, Romain. You're right.

@Mark...what Romain said.

James Barnes

16:53 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Setting aside the technicalities of contract and tenancy law, I'm inclined to ask if you really think what you're proposing is proportional, let alone the right thing to do?
Your tenant has undoubtedly inconvenienced you but you've managed to re-let the property in five days and only suffered a marginal loss of rental income.
Landlords are getting absolutely crucified in the media and you're posting this kind of question on an open forum, talking about CCJs and High Court writs over a loss which has cost you very little.
Seems to me you've gotten off incredibly lightly and would be best just taking this one on the chin.

Mark Hula

18:01 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Wasn't proposing anything

I tried to help this guy and he just ups and leaves and has requested his full deposit from the DPS

I had tenants attack me , lie , run off , abusive, 100 bottles of urine in a room , dealing drugs etc .
They all have to leave somehow and at some point based on that behaviour. Been to court 3 times this year and on my fourth stat dec this year .
Perhaps I'm becoming cynical as I get older but I always try to be firm and fair .
Why should I suffer all the social issues when a person just can't be honest and fair ?

In my experience landlords deal with a lot not just the leaky washing machine and a bit of painting .

Whilst the government has it in for us they have no ideas of the real workload .

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