Help needed – I paid 6 months rent in advance

by Readers Question

7:27 AM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Help needed – I paid 6 months rent in advance

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Help needed – I paid 6 months rent in advance

I’m feeling a bit desperate. I separated from my husband in December 2014. Due to the nature of our break up, I decided that I’d had enough and moved myself and my children to another county.

It’s was perfect until last week, my mother had a massive stroke and is seriously ill. My nightmare now is that I need to live back to where I originally am from as its unlikely my mother will be able to do anything for herself again, but I paid 6 months up front for the house that I am currently living in.

Is there a way I can get some money back? My tenancy is just over a month old now, I did not expect to have to be doing this.

Any help would be appreciated

Sarahstuck



Comments

Neil Patterson

7:40 AM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Have you spoken to the Landlord or agents yet?

They may have someone waiting to move in and could be happy to sort it out now rather than wait for a problem later.

Jon Dahms

11:39 AM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

If either the Landlord or Agent has anything about them they will be helpful given your situation. Suggest they re-advertise immediately and that they cease your tenancy as soon as someone else moves in. There may be an issue with the Landlord not wanting to pay another set of Letting Fees but I would head that one off at the pass by agreeing to pay an equivalent fee to surrender the lease.

Let us know how you get on. If you are in East Kent we may be able to help you out on a practical level.

Steve From Leicester

11:41 AM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Sarah,

Sorry to hear that you're in such a difficult situation. However, assuming that you've signed a six month agreement the strict legal position is that you're liable for the rent for that period, so there are no legal grounds under which you could get your money back.

I'm an agent, and if you were renting one of our properties the compromise we'd propose to tenant and landlord (who would both need to agree) is that we re-market the property and release you from your obligations once a new tenancy commences BUT we'd charge you the marketing fees that we'd normally charge to the landlord, so that releasing you from the tenancy doesn't leave him out of pocket. That's essentially what Jon (above) has just suggested.

As Neil suggests, best speak to your landlord / agent, explain your situation and see what they can do for you. I have known compassionate landlords who will, if the situation is genuine agree to release their tenant, but keep in mind that legally they're not obliged to do anything at all, and if they need the rent to pay the mortgage on the property their own hands might be tied.

Sorry its not what you wanted to hear.

Sarah Hodson

11:53 AM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Morning all, I'm so grateful for your replies and the valuable information.

I will meet with my agent as soon as possible. I feel better now knowing my legal position, I fully appreciate that from the landlords view who thought he had a tenant for a minimum of 6 months, it's not fair for him to lose any money. I'm sure the house will rent quickly, it's very lovely and I was looking forward to a new life in the area. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near East Kent otherwise I'd have snapped your offer up!

Thank you all. I'll post tomorrow and let you know how the meeting goes with the agent 🙂

Regards

Sarah xx

Mandy Thomson

12:27 PM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Sarah,

Sorry to hear about your mum, particularly on top of your break up and separation. I hope she gets better.

Everyone has given you sound legal advice, as your likely to be on a standard AST with a six or 12 month fixed period. However, most landlords and agents would do everything they could to find another tenant and release you in these circumstances.

I'd just like to expand on Steve from Leicester's last paragraph - as a rule, it will depend on the kind of landlord you're renting from. If it's a larger landlord, or letting agent that covers any void periods, they will be more able to release you than a small time landlord who only owns one or a handful of rental properties and has very little capacity to cover their mortgage payments without a rental income.

Having said that though, in most areas there are more tenants than properties to house them, so even if you do have to wait before another tenant is found, it will happen pretty quickly - very likely a month or less.

Sarah Hodson

13:00 PM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you Mandy. It's been an horrendous time but, losing a couple of stone in the process is such a bad thing 😉

I'm nervous about speaking to the agent tomorrow, I hate messing people around. He's a very small landlord, I think that my rental is his only other property so I'm guessing he has a mortgage which needs to be paid. The house is in a better condition now than it was when I took on the tenancy and it's also been well looked after and throughly cleaned! I know that there were some people interested in the house before I took it on so I'm really hoping that they are still interested.

Thank you again xx

Mandy Thomson

13:50 PM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Sarah,

You're welcome and best of luck. I wouldn't be concerned about speaking to the agent - this is something they should be used to dealing with, and it's not like you intended this to happen!

You say you've improved the property - was an inventory taken when you moved in? If so, that's defiinitely a bargaining chip, as they should look more favourably on you, if only as a good tenant.

Mandy

Sarah Hodson

14:10 PM, 28th January 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you Mandy x

It's a lot cleaner, the windows were filthy which I've done now. The kitchen was filthy so it will be left in a position where someone can just move straight it and not like it was when I moved in. I've also had BT phone point put in for the sky. Lots of gas and electric on the meters too! He took photographs just before I moved in but not and inventory as such. Xx

Jason McClean

12:25 PM, 3rd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Sarah

Check your tenancy, there may be a two month break clause in there anyway, so that would be worst case scenario. I'd expect the landlord to get the property re-marketed straight away and release you from the tenancy as soon as a replacement is sourced. You can help that by keeping it clean and presentable.

Hope you get through it all as best you can!

Best

Jason


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