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?

Make Text Bigger
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

Gary Nock

18:20 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Depends on what the AST says. It may have a break clause for either party.

But if it doesn't then legally the tenant has contracted to a 6 month term. He or she is obliged to pay you that regardless of the fact you have re-let. He can kiss his proverbial goodbye to his deposit as he owes it in contracted rent.

However lets say they won't pay and you decide to go to County Court. Then you have to play the game with the Judge.

"Mr Judge look at what a reasonable landlord I am. I have re-let the property, and only expect my re-let fees and the daily rate pro-rata for when the property is empty. I do not expect the outgoing tenant to pay the whole contracted amount"

The Judge :'Indeed what a good landlord you are. Costs awarded"

The motto of the story is that only claim that which is fair and reasonable. I have had tenants want to move for various reasons inside a fixed term. Once you use the method above and say " I could ask for the contracted rent for the unexpired term - but if we can get it let early obviously this saves you money"

And encourages the tenant to assist in getting an early re-let.

Remember - what you can claim for, what you do claim for, and what you get can be three different things for many different reasons.

Mark Hula

18:24 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Too be honest my gut feeling that simply losing his deposit ( 1 months rent ) would be fair .
Still makes a mockery of a ' 6 month ' contract
For the record when tenants do want to leave early and approach me with a months notice I don't charge them a penny !

Puzzler

22:41 PM, 29th November 2016
About 2 years ago

The six month rule is because the courts will not award possession if that time has not elapsed. I don't know why. Since you have possession it is not relevant. The deposit is against delapidations, you cannot keep it.

Trevor Cooper

10:55 AM, 30th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Surely this is all about being fair and reasonable (both parties) My understanding is you can claim for your loss. I had a situation where a tenant left early (OK he told me before leaving) He remained liable for the rent and utilities associated with the house until the day our new tenant moved in. He also had to pay the agents cost to find a new tenant. I marketed the property immediately to help his move happen as quickly as possible and I made sure the agents cost was no more than they would have charged me. Whilst it was a headache losing a tenant earlier than planned, we parted on good terms and I had not suffered financially. I find offering a really good service to tenants means my agent always gives me a good review with new tenants they are searching on behalf of. Whilst your chap decided to up and leave, I would apply the same helpful approach. Explain the process clearly, document it well and inform the DPS. You won't 'make money' out of the situation, but that should not be the aim.

Steven Burman

11:47 AM, 30th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Mark, there appears to be a question mark over when you actually took back possession of the property. You say that the tenant sent you an email 'after' he had left the property but did he actually hand back the keys? I may be wrong but if a landlord was to enter a property thinking a tenant had absconded they face a potential claim by the said tenant for illegal entry should the tenant return. One of the basis for this claim is often that the tenant had not handed back the keys and thus had not given back possession to the landlord.

I am sure others will correct me if I am wrong but it seems to me that this is the measure by which you should base the date on which you re-took possession?

Other than this I would concur with Romain that you are entitled to the entire months rent rather than the 5 pro-rata days, as well as any reasonable re-letting costs.

Mark Hula

12:24 PM, 30th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hey

lol. I've been on this merry go round before!
I got the tenant (when he would communicate to me) to send an email stating he had left and keys were in the property; I did this deliberately to avoid obtaining a possession order - done 3 already this year!.
By pure chance I was visiting a solicitor today for a stat dec ; I asked about my current situation. The general response would be it depended on the judge's opinion on what was a 'loss' and whether the tenant should be bound financially to the 6 months i.e. owes all the rent.
From all the responses it seems clear there's no 'correct' answer.......

John Simpson

13:48 PM, 30th November 2016
About 2 years ago

I suspect you can also claim for any associated costs with re-letting-so additional agency fees, your time etc. Otherwise I think you'll find most courts will apply the mitigation principle even though technically your're in your rights to claim for the remainder of the full six months.

Jan Martin

15:04 PM, 30th November 2016
About 2 years ago

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

Yes I agree with you Romain . The tenant is very lucky the room was let again so quickly .
You are running a business mark theres no reason why you shouldnt request months rent from your tenant which you will beable to take from the deposit .

Michael Barnes

15:15 PM, 30th November 2016
About 2 years ago

How was the tenancy agreement signed?

I believe that if it is signed as a Deed, then there is no obligation on landlord to mitigate losses.

Si G

6:26 AM, 12th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ainis Radzevicius" at "29/11/2016 - 14:21":

Remember to claim for your time at an hourly rate, phone calls, travel and advertising costs on top of the 5 days as had the tenant stayed youd not have had these unforseen expenses.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Leasehold reform - HCLG committee favour commonhold

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More