I signed a 3 years fixed term tenancy in Oct 2022 and naively didn’t realise I didn’t have a release clause. I am a single mum of 2 and been in the property for over 3 years. I am a working professional, however claim universal credit and the housing element which my landlord is aware of. I have asked to be released early as I want to move in with my partner. I have said I am willing to stay until they find a new tenant to ensure they are not at a loss. I said around August time if possible. They said can I move July, which I said shouldn’t be a problem.
I have received an email today setting out a release clause asking I pay an extra months rent at the end of the tenancy to cover their costs and loss of rent as they want to refurb.
I feel this is unreasonable as most of my rent comes from housing benefits and my whole months earning is what they are asking be my final payment.
I understand they want to refurb but that is their choice. The house doesn’t need to be empty so they don’t need to be at a loss. They manage the property. It isn’t done through an agent so if they choose to use an agent and incur fees then would have had to when the lease ended anyway.
Can anyone advise me on where I stand in negotiating these fees?
I would agree it’s unreasonable to charge you if landlord wants to leave it empty for a refurb. The landlord can pass on reasonable costs they incur from you ending tenancy early, so if they did want to use agent then it would be reasonable to pass the charges for finding a tenant and tenancy set up charges to you for ending contract early.
Your problem is that they can just refuse to agree the early termination. A landlord can charge their costs, but no more. This could easily amount to more than a months rent if they were re-letting straight away. Its up to you, but the consequence of refusing these terms is likely to be that you have to pay rent until the end of hhe term.
A 3 year fixed term is unusual. I would be interested to know if it was you or your landlord who requested a 3 year term.
It was the landlord who gave it me after 2 years of 12 month contracts. I honestly didn’t see my situation changing at the time but regret signing it now!
I think LL is trying it on asking for 1 month’s rent on terminating your tenancy. Your offer to remain until new tenant is found is quite reasonable but you must be prepared to pay the LL’s reasonable costs for finding and signing up a new tenant. That could easily be a few weeks rent. Question: as these are costs forced on the LL, can items such as referencing, tenancy creation, inventory checkout for you and check-in for new tenant be claimed from you? The LL would not have these costs other than because of your situation but normally they fall outside claimable fees under the Tenant Fees Act.
The standard letting agent fee for a Tenant Find is 1 months rent. On that basis the landlord is being reasonable by charging the tenant the same amount.
Ask landlord what refurbishment he plans as if practicable, would you allow work to be scheduled before you leave, to minimise empty period? 1 months rent is still reasonable as that is minimum it will cost landlord… although in my case I would agree a half a months rent and if using openrent, costs are less than using high street agent.
You can suggest the landlord uses Open Rent but you cannot dictate. The landlord can use whoever they wish.
If a tenant asks for early release from an AST I do charge as it’s at my discretion.
I would charge for the legal cost of deed of surrender a months rent and the deposit
I do that because in a 6 or 12 month AST leaving early is a headache and a lot of work
Assuming that you’re in England, what you’re doing is probably illegal. The Tenant Fees Act means that if you agree to let a tenant terminate early, you can only charge the actual costs you incur and no more. Deeds of surrender are free to download and the other things you mention would need to be quantified.
The LL is much more generous than he has to. It will likely cost him more to put a new tenant in than you are paying.
Just put the fact that he is intending to refurbish out of your mind. It’s neither here nor there.
You can either agree to a set, reasonable, payment and the LL can’t ask you for anything more. If he wants to refurb that’s his prerogative and has nothing to do with you.
Or you can agree to surrender the lease when and pay rent until he finds a new tenant (if ever), including the costs for finding the tenant. If he uses an estate agent, it’s more than one month’s rent I assure you!
Take this with you: don’t sign long contracts like that. It’s not good for you.