Tenant defaults 1 year AST and wants to go 1 July 2020 to home country

I have a property I let out in Sept 2019 on a 1 year tenancy. Both tenants are professionals, both work in sectors affected by the pandemic - ie retail and hospitality in Central London.
I received earlier in the week notice through WhatsApp messaging they are going to leave the country and will vacate 1 July 2020 which is in under a fortnight.
My questions are:

  1. I paid my agent upfront for 1 year ast fees, so I’m out of pocket.
  2. Tenants signed a 1 year AST, they have defaulted the legal contract.
  3. They pay monthly in arrears, so 1 June payment covers all of June, therefore when they vacate and had back the keys, I get nothing.
  4. At the start of the tenancy, I held their deposit under MyDeposits scheme which was around 5 weeks rent (from memory).
    My agent has asked me to get in writing, signed document, the fact that they have defaulted their 1 year AST and are still liable for the rent. This means I can sue them, CCJs on their name etc. This means i can keep their deposit, albeit I will be out of pocket.
    I’ve never been in this situation before, so please may I have your help on how to do this amicably, legally and professionally as I’m a fair person at the end of the day.
    S C

Hi. I’m not the most experienced on here so feel free to ignore me!
But will they want to sign a document that says they defaulted?
You may well be fair, but will they be?

If you have an agent why doesn’t s/he get the signed document?
If you want to be amicable that is surely one of few benefits of an agent. They are in the middle (even though working for you) but keeps things more neutral.
I’d ask them to do it. You’ve paid them for a year.

Hi there,

I have just been though the same. I have a couple who are trouble tenants. They signed a 12 month contract, but during the first two month, endless trouble. I was so annoy of them so I emailed them asking them to leave. But my mistake is I should write: I give permission for them to leave early until new tenants move in. Now he uses this as excuse to break the AST and leave early, not allowing viewing until checkout date and I will not be covered with the rest of the finished term. If you agree with your tenant leaving, remember to put conditions like: they need to cooperate viewings, and still pay the rent even they move out and pay the rent until new tenants move in.

If you don’t agree they leave, even they move out early, you have right to go to court for the remaining of the term rent.

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You are correct - I paid the agent for a year, but in these circumstances, as a landlord who wants to protect his best interests has to intervene. I did that and it’s worked miracles. Agents are great but sometimes dealing direct works wonders otherwise you get Chinese Whispers -‘if that makes sense.
Thanks again!

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Hi, too much agro, I let them go - the season is right. If it was December or January, yes but for them to go now does me a big favour. Good luck with your rental and thanks again for your response.