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I have a query relating to a situation my partner finds herself in. This is happening in Scotland if it makes a difference.

 

A little background first to let you know why we find ourselves in this position: My partner rents a house at the moment and the tenancy is managed by a letting agency. She has lived in the property for around 6 years, slightly more, and in January this year renewed her tenancy for a further 6 months. She did this knowing we were about to begin looking for our first home together, however we both felt it was a good idea to give ourselves some time without having to worry about a roof over her head.

 

At the time of renewing she inquired with the letting agency whether a shorter-term lease might be available but was told 6 months was the minimum they would offer. She agreed to that, however she was told that at any time she could pay them £180 to readvertise the house. If they found another suitable tenant the tenancy would transfer and she would no longer be liable for the remaining rental period. We thought that seemed a bit steep but agreed.

 

Move forward a month and we have quite unexpectedly found a house we love, we've bought it and get the keys in a few weeks time. As a consequence my partner popped into the letting agency, paid the £180 and they readvertised the house. Within a day they found someone who wanted the house and paid a holding deposit. As far as we know they haven't signed any formal agreement yet, however the letting agency are no longer advertising the house.

 

I'm finally getting to my question you'll be delighted to hear. We checked with the letting agency about what would happen if this new tenant pulled out. We were more than a little shocked to hear that they plan to hold my partner liable for the rent up to the end of the 6 month period. That probably seems quite reasonable, except that she paid her £180, they readvertised for less than 24 hours and found a new tenant.

 

Can they really take her money, essentially not readvertise the house, yet continue to hold her liable?

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It is not unreasonable to withdraw a property from the market if a good prospective tenant has been found.

 

Hopefully the tenant will move in soon, and the liability will then end.

 

Obviously there is a risk that the agent will be a lot more slack in handling this tenancy as compared with renting a property for a landlord. Your best bet may be to request ongoing progress updates.

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Your g/f would be liable for max rent until the new T is accepted, signs new AST and occupies property, but not after end of month 6. (in E&W at least!)

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I think the question is whether it was reasonable to keep the £180 after failing to do what they said they would do and advertise the property.

Certainly, if no-one take over the tenancy it is still hers but to what degree are they obliged to advertise?

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I understand eb but did LA say how much advertising bought for £180 or for how long it would remain perm advertised?

Prob better not to have taken a holding deposit from prospective T.

OP g/f did not have to renew AST in Jan, just let it go SPT, giving her min 1 month NTQ.

I note new house purchase hopefully completes 'in a few weeks' (keys), but what if it is delayed, or current/ prospective T wants to move in before OP gets keys? £180 may have seemed a good idea at time, SPT option may have been better option? It can be very hard to seamlessly co-ordinate property moves whether renting or buying.

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Hi all,

 

This post is an extension of events that started under my thread here, although things have moved on to the extent where I felt a new post would be better, if that's not the case could an admin merge them for me please?

 

Background:

 

My partner is currently living in a rented house. At the beginning of the year her rental was due for renewal but at the time we knew we were looking to buy somewhere of our own. Thinking it would give us some breathing space to look, she agreed to extend her rental by 6 months.

 

Fast forward to March, we've found a place. My partner inquired with the letting agent about terminating her lease. She was told she could pay a re-advertising fee and if they could find a new tenant they would terminate my partner's agreement and create a new one with the new tenant. This fee (£180) was paid, however within 24 hours my partner had found a new tenant herself, put them in touch with the letting agent and a deposit was taken from the would-be new tenant.

 

New events:

 

Last week my partner received a telephone call advising that an electrical inspection was required. This was carried out and it was deemed that electrical work was required before a new tenant could be allowed access. I'm not sure what work is required, however the house has never had mains-fed smoke alarms and I believe they are a legal requirement, so it may be this among other things.

 

This is really where the trouble starts. My partner today called the letting agent to inquire when and where she should hand in the keys. It was agreed previously she would leave the property on the 8th April. The letting agent told my partner that she will remain liable for the rent, electricity and gas until all electrical work has been carried out and until the new tenant takes possession, despite moving out on the 8th and that (and this is truly unbelievable to me) the letting agent is under no obligation to do any of this quickly, in fact they have a signed contract from my partner (they don't, see below) stating the rent will be covered until June.

 

In my previous thread I questioned whether she could be held liable for rent after a new tenant has been found, yet the delay is entirely down to the letting agent. The advice I took from the previous thread was that it was in fact true that she could be.

 

Another complication has arisen though. Knowing we didn't know how long we'd want to be in the rented house, my partner did not sign or return a contract for the rental period January-June this year. That wasn't actually deliberate, she just forgot to do it and was never reminded by the agent. The agent was advised of this fact today but alleges that doesn't matter, the previous contract remains valid and simply renews. If that is the case, what would the point be in sending her a new contract at the beginning of this year? All her contract specifically mention rental date periods, e.g. 8th January 2016 to 8th June 2016. If pressed to provide a contract covering the period January-June this year the letting agent could not provide one. On that basis, could that be our way out?

 

I'm sorry for the huge post, we are both very worried about it and appreciate your help.

 

I must also mention this is taking place in Scotland.

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I'd have thought youd be liable for rent, as you already know. But i would contact the electricity and gas supplier, inform them you have moved on a certain date, and arent liable for anything else. The letting agency can take a running jump for electricity and gas charges then.


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Thanks renegadeimp, good idea re the gas and electricity, I'll make sure this happens.

 

Are you convinced about her liability for rent, even in the absence of a valid contract?

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Your g/f accepted a verbal 6 month AST [6 Jan - 6 June(?)]. Even if she did not sign written version I am sure LA can provide unsigned copy to establish T&Cs (dates etc). She can vacate T by 23:59:59 on last day of fixed term, without Notice (should be 5th July) IMO. She remains liable for rent & property until that time. Given LL does not want to/cannot re-let until elec work completed, he may accept earlier surrender without conditions. G/f should require signed/dated Deed Of Surrender be provided on final day.

 

 

G/f should provide actual meter readings to energy Co's on final day.

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Bit late here but you need to read this

 

https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-agreements-a-guide-for-landlords-scotland/short-assured-and-assured-tenancies

 

After familiarising yourself with it contact Shelter (Scotland) for their view on what exactly the tenancy is counted as.

 

It's freephone so.... http://scotland.shelter.org.uk

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