Due to Covid I pay for an empty flat 😕

Hello everyone,
I am a student; I renewed my contract for six months in the mid of March. On the 23rd of March, when the lockdown was announced, I went back to stay with my family, since there was no point to be in close proximity to my work, I work remotely since then. At the moment I see no returning to the property, at least until the contract expires. Nonetheless, I am left now in a situation where I pay for an empty dwelling of a 6-month tenancy where I actually only lived for ten days! I told the landlord about my situation but is not very eager to find a replacement for me at the moment. I have paid my rents until now, but it does seem too much to continue paying, is there something I can do? What would be the appropriate resolution according to your opinion?

Many thanks,

Do you want to go back to the flat eventually or do you want to give up the tenancy ?

I would like to give up the tenancy. Later on, I will search the market again.

How much notice do you have to give per your tenancy agreement ? Is there a break clause ?

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That’s the thing, I wanted in the past after my annual contract to continue to a periodic tenancy agreement but instead I was given the choice to move out or have at least a 6 month contract with no break clause. I had to chose the second one…

Hmm, yes. You are stuck with it then. Could you offer to pay to advertise for new tenants plus the costs to reference them ? It would be cheaper than paying 4 months more rent.


everyone is caught up in some way in the present climate


Yes, will try that, thank you.

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Yeah… true difficult times.

Good luck with it, Charles. What happened to you was really rotten luck. Your landlord is not actually doing anything wrong but you have really lost out to awful timing. Have you spoken to the landlord to see if the remainder of your rent could be at a reduced rate taking unto account the unprecedented circumstances ?


Thank you, we’ve spoken only about getting a tenant replacement earlier, but he seemed bit reluctant. I can understand to some extent: doing extra work, being worried about the virus, getting his handyman back to work… Nonetheless, as you say, it seems a sort of discount would be ideal and let him decide when and how to acquire new tenants, since he also does not want me to do this task.

Although Steve11 is probably right that the the landlord is not doing anything wrong ‘legally’, I’m inclined to think, given the circumstances you describe, that there is a moral obligation to be more collaborative with tenants in this situation. I say this as a landlord. You can’t just bleed a tenant just because they signed a contract. The situation is neither party’s doing. Compromise. Better still, release the tenant from the contract. Just my view.


If you no longer wish to live there, explain to the landlord what you said on here. As a landlord I would accept notice/ arrange a surrender letter if it wasn’t working for you but at least your landlord could start advertising the property. There are a lot of people needing a place to live right now. Good luck - Hope it goes well!

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Thanks a lot for your support.

Is there a clause in your contract of you being absent on the premise for more than xx weeks? Would it terminate your contract automatically?

Actually if the landlord has an insurance (which I think he has), he is most probably violating it cos I’m sure there is a clause about an empty for a long time premise there. It might be a ground for bargaining.

I’m not saying the landlord is wrong here, it’s just seems to me somewhat cruel. But I’m sure the faith will give him a situation, when he would be on the other end of the deal so he could fully appreciate the experience.

You reap what you sow.

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do not delay.move out return the keys -get a receipt or proof if you can- and write to the landlord telling him the place is empty first class post and back up maybe by text or e mail. read your meters etc and tell the council re ctax.
the landlord by law must take all reasonable steps to re rent the property and any losses are therefore limited to what is reasonable.
he probably will not pursue you for more than the deposit, i wouldnt its too much hassle thru the courts.
just do it now without delay and dont pay any more. if it gets litigious speak to shelter or similar. [shelter love taking up cudgels for tenants even when tenants are in the wrong]
re renting is much easier now that things are returning to (a new) normal

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A few ideas,

  1. Ask for a rent reduction whilst it’s empty say 20 percent.
  2. Ask if you can sublet for a short period and try find people wanting a short let. You are responsible for them so you can charge them what you want to cover electricity etc.
  3. Sign off gas electric council tax and give notice which would be one or two months. You are required to pay for the six months anyway but the landlord is expected in law to attempt to mitigate losses by advertising etc.
    However if he/she doesn’t find someone you’re stuck.
    I am a landlord and I would probably go for the reduction considering the current circumstances.
    But if you just moved out etc. If I had to go to court I would claim the maximum including my costs.
    Remember it’s a business someone else’s livelihood depends on the deal you agreed.
    Some landlords depend on the income and some don’t.
    We all want to do our bit to support the NHS and you will only find a solution that suits both by talking.
    A compromise could be you pay 50percent in advance and move out.
    The Landlord gets security of payment, a chance to rerent, a chance to do repairs.
    You get lower rent and no bills ongoing.
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so shelter will help you and fight even when the tenant is in the wrong? That tells us a lot about peoples attitude to what is fair and just , and your attitude also. No wonder society is in such a mess with a view like that.


I have found shelter quite aggressive to be honest, tenants especially at the cheaper end can tell porkies so they come in all guns blazing. I see Chris above would use the courts, personally I have never had much joy and it’s a black hole for time. If tenants realised just how little power landlords have today its laughable


Landlord is NOT under a duty to mitigate losses. A signed Contract is binding on both parties, not allowing one to withdraw, ( for whatever reason ) - I don’t see a lot of prospects of the Landlord finding replacement tenants, but if Charles 6 wants to try, I think he’d understand the landlords intrepidation.

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