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I’m looking for legal advice on the following situation. I have paid a reservation fee and have signed a tenancy agreement for a property that we are supposed to move in to on May 1st. I have given notice to my current landlord and will be vacating on May 2nd.

I received a phone call today from the estate agent representing the new LL saying that due to unforeseen circumstances the LL needs to move back into his property (he was living abroad) and no longer wants to proceed with our agreement. Our copy of the AST doesn’t have the LL signature.

Can the LL do this? Do I have any rights?

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Payment of reservation fee and signing a written AST with LA/LL would clearly indicate a valid contract to supply/occupy exists between both Parties. AST not engaged due to lack of occupation

Consequently new LL could be liable for~2 weeks alt accom for OP. OP must mitigate loss.

However OP could renage on his valid? NTQ, but if current LL has new T post 2 May then OP could be equally liable for cost of temp accomn for disadvantaged prosp T, applicable to defaulting LL.

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Thank you mariner51.


The current Landlord has sold his property and we agreed to move out as we thought we found alternative accommodation. The new AST is for a period of 36 months with an 18 month break clause for each party. Is the AST still valid although we A. don't have the signature of the landlord and B. have not yet moved into the property?

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Contracts don't *have* to be signed to be made - but in my limited experience, agents will ensure that somewhere in the paperwork it will explicitly state that the contract is not valid *until* it has been signed.


You should check all the paperwork you have as it may state somewhere (including in a letter from the agent) "Subject to contract" implying that a contract is not made until it is signed. Or you could tell agent that you think you have a valid contract and they will quickly want to point out the relevant clause that covers their backsides.


If it does not say that anywhere, then it *may* be a valid contract.


*If* you have a valid contract then you should be entitled to reasonable costs (over and above the rent you would have paid) to find alternative accommodation.


Regardless of the above, the agent *may* in the circumstance be helpful in finding you alternative accommodation. Alternatively agent may unscrupulously try to rush you into something inappropriate. So may be worth seeking agent's help while also being careful.

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IMO the new AST is NOT valid. Steve M is correct in that some Contracts need not be signed to be valid ie verbal AST but AST also requires you take possession. You do have a claim for cost of basic temp alt accom, storage of furniture and extra removal costs for about 2-3 wks IMO

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