Signed ast - tenants dont want to move in but wont aign surrender of deed

I have just started using open rent and had high hopes. However after many failed referencing all lied that they didn’t have ccj’s or changed their mind during referencing) despite my thorough questionnaire asking about ccj’s etc. I now find myself with a signed AST and tenants that now don’t want to move in.
I have made several different offers to allow them out of the agreement which have been declined or ignored.
I have now managed to find a tenant who want to sign an AST with me and take the tenancy on from
1 April however I still have the other couple on an AST with a start date of 10.3.20. However I cannot get them to sign a surrender of deed or cancel the agreement via open rent.
They don’t seem to understand that they have signed a legal agreement. I have taken legal advise and the solicitor even offered that they could call her so she could confirm their legal obligations and consequences.
Does anyone have any suggestions as I’m
In a loop, stressed and tearing my hair out. I can’t rent it to anyone else with a signed AST and they don’t want to move in. They have still not paid their remainder of the deposit or first months rent. I’m in no doubt either they won’t move in as their current rental has been taken off being advertised and having called the agents they have confirmed current tenant is no longer moving.
Does anyone have any suggestions at all

If you have given them keys change the locks so did you asign when they had not paid ALL the monies? Will the agent give you a letter saying they are not moving? Keep a good record of all events If they dont move in on 10.3 i would just sign up the next person Do you think they may sub let? get there first and change the locks

Hi Colin.
No keys given as the AST was starting 10th March (no balance deposit paid or first months rent) and of course they won’t be given any keys. It’s just that I’ve incurred now costs to re list via open rent, lost money on referencing and I’m apprehensive to phave someone else sign an AST ( I now have someone who wants it but can’t take it u til 1.4.20) more loss of rent and bills I will have to pay for longer. I doubt they will move in as the property they were moving from now been taken off the rental market and the agents have said the tenant is no longer moving out.
As it’s a legal agreement I‘m apprehensive that it could blow up in my face should they change their mind again and then I’ve signed someone else up.
She won’t press the cancel button via open rent, won’t sign the surrender a deed and has declined speaking to my solicitor free of charge so they can house her with the legal commitment she made. L

Hi, the contracts I’ve used become effective on payment if deposit. Hence either it is not active (no exchange of monies) or they are in breach for nonpayment.
Have you also signed?
For future, never sign until deposit paid. It’s always a 2 way street with mutual trust and respect.

If in doubt, send a letter stating requirement of deposit to be paid within x days or they will be deemed to be in breach of contract and you will relet.

Hope this helps

You said “remainder of the deposit” implying they have paid something? I sign only when the deposit and months rent is in my bank

Hi. This easy. I just had a similar issue. Put simply the lack of timely payment means the party concerned is in breach of the Openrent terms & conditions. Ask Openrent (via email) to cancel the contract due to a breach in their own terms & conditions, tell them you wish to retain the holding deposit paid by the applicant for the same reason. They will then make a judgement based on the evidence you & the applicant supply. It will be in your favour if theres a breach on the applicants side but not on yours. It’ll take a few days but well worth the wait. I even got to keep the holding deposit & now have a new tenant Iin place. Well worth the discussion with Openrent. Don’t just accept the first opinion from Openrent if it favours the applicant. Check the terms & conditions the applicant has signed up to & present your case in a way that shows the applicant has failed to comply with Openrent terms & conditions. Job done.


From my understanding with open rent the AST is sent to the tenant, they sign, then it is pinged back for Landlord to sign. It is only at that point they are asked to pay the remainder of their deposit and first months rent?
Or isn’t this correct?

Hi Chris
I meant holding deposit. We have now both signed manually a surrender deed but open rent will still not close off the tenancy and the tenant who is now being more reasonable is saying she is struggling to do this despite the step by step guide I sent. I have spent days trying to sort this out from when they changed their mind so reluctant to want to re visit them t do it. Open rent are at this point saying I can’t get the holding fee unless the tenant presses the cancel button and completes the action. I have even sent them screen shots of shared messages. I feel they are being unhelpful.

I meant holding deposit Chris which I would like as it will go some way in recompense to covering my losses. Re-listing, referencing and now loss of rent before new tenant moves in

Hi @Tracy9,

I know that you’re also in contact with our support team about your enquiry.

However, just for yourself and any other landlords - once the contracts are signed the holding deposit becomes part of the first month’s rent so can’t be claimed under the Tenant Fees Act (2019).

If OpenRent is notified that a tenancy isn’t going ahead after the contracts are signed we offer an option to end the tenancy and as part of this we return all funds that we hold back to the payer. We do this because we are not in a position to adjudicate who is entitled to what.

We do offer a surrender agreement template for landlords who are looking to end a contract once it has been signed. We advise that landlords come to an agreement about what is to happen to all funds paid (either rent or deposit) and that the payments are then settled privately. You can access our template here:

If you are unable to reach an agreement with the tenants then we recommend that you seek independent legal advice on how best to proceed in your specific circumstances.

I still don’t understand this. The tenant is in breach of their contract ?? having made a promise to pay rent for the AST they signed!!

Tracey Miller

I would go for an abandonment, this is statue law.

It seems that by first signing the AST the tenant can then breach the terms with impunity; by signing a surrender deed to end the tenancy in order to be refunded their holding deposit so all costs are bourne by the Landlord, this cant be right!

I am sure you know this song…“welcome to our world, wont you step inside”