Tenancy early termination fee. Please help !

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Tenancy early termination fee. Please help !

Postby dhuss » Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:21 am

I really hope I find someone to help me out. I stupidly signed a tenancy contract without reading it properly, but I never had the intentions to terminate the property early. I’m a single mum and lost my job, and now I am at a phase where I keep asking people for help to be able to cover my rent. I want to terminate the property early but the agency expects me to pay 13.20% of whatever is left on the tenancy agreement. I will break down the termination fees.
1) pay full rent until they find new tenants
2) if new tenants are found, and are paying less rent, I have to cover the gap between their rent and my rent until the end of my original tenancy agreement
3) cover any fees of new advertising
4) after new tenants moving in, I still have to pay 13.20% of the rent each month until my original tenancy ends.

I don’t understand all these huge charges. The first 3 I see where they are coming from but the 13.20%. I am literally broke and i am telling them so. My tenancy agreement doesn’t end until 30 months so this will total over £5000. Please if anyone could give me some help, i am in extreme anxiety. My landlord himself doesn’t understand why, isn’t there anyway I could get away from
This. :(

5.21. Consequences of early termination of the Tenancy outside the Terms of the Tenancy Agreement
In the event that the Tenant vacates the Property prior to the end of the Term, the Tenant will remain liable to pay Rent until the Term expires or the Property is re-let whichever is earlier. The Tenant will also be responsible for the payment of any pro-rata fees that have been or will be incurred by the Landlord for the unexpired portion of the Tenancy (this fee is calculated at 11%+VAT, or 13.20% incl. VAT of the Rent for the fixed Term of the Tenancy) AND if the new Tenancy is for lesser Rent, an amount equal to the difference between the original Rent and new lower rental figure up to the end of the original Term. The tenant will also be liable for the cost of re-advertising and referencing incurred by the landlord or the reasonable costs to the Agent (such as referencing and marketing costs).
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Re: Tenancy early termination fee. Please help !

Postby ljj123 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:10 pm

So sorry to hear you’re going through this.

The best thing to advise is to do plenty of online research so you know exactly what your rights are and whether there are any special provisions for your situation. For example, the Shelter website advises contacting the council to help with rent arrears as they may help you to pay them off or find a suitable place to stay in certain circumstances. Under coronavirus legislation most evictions are also on hold.

It’s worth nothing that a quick search on the Shelter website about ending tenancies early says: ‘Your tenancy will end automatically if the landlord lets the property to someone else. Once a new tenancy begins, you're no longer liable for rent.’ This would suggest you’re not legally liable - which may override anything else like percentage fees, even if it’s in the contract. You may need to take this to court though to force the agent to recognise it.

Once you’ve read up, I would then highly recommend asking someone with proper expertise to look through the contract so you know what next steps you need to take. Shelter and Citizens Advice are a good first (and free) port of call to chat over the phone/online - but the South West London Law Centre on Lavender Hill also offers legal services for people on low incomes if this applies to you (not sure if this is still happening in the pandemic but worth checking).

30 months is a very long time for a tenancy and for next time, I would always caution against long tenancies even when it feels like that’s what’s needed to secure a flat in the London rental market! It only ever helps the agents who get a bigger commission. You never know what your future circumstances will be and it’s a big financial tie.

Hope you manage to get it sorted!
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Re: Tenancy early termination fee. Please help !

Postby boonkoh » Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:34 am

The Shelter website has good help.

At the end of the day, tenancy agreements are commercial contracts. Breaking them, is not a criminal offence. The landlord will have to come after you in court to recover.

Obviously that costs money and time for the landlord. And futile if you actually don't have the money.

So once you make it known you are in financial distress, most landlords are amenable to negotiate and strike a deal. After all, they also don't want you to stop paying rent, keep staying in the property, and it takes them 6+ months to evict you, and at the end still not recover any moneys from you.

It is all down now to a commercial negotiation between you and landlord. So understand where you leverage, what the law says to protect you, and negotiate for a suitable compromise.
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Re: Tenancy early termination fee. Please help !

Postby SouthLondonDaddy » Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:25 pm

First of all: never trust a single word estate agents tell you!

When does your contract end? What is the notice period? Is there a break clause?

Break clause means that you cannot terminate the tenancy before a certain period. Eg you could have a 1-year contract with a 6-month break clause and a 2-month notice; this would  mean that normally your contract ends after one year, but you can end it before if you give 2 months of notice, however you cannot end it before 6 months. In this example, if you leave after 4 months, you would be liable to pay 2 more months of rent, ie till month 6, not till month 12.

Also, "liable" means you'd owe the landlord (not the estate agent) that money, but the landlord would have to come after you.

You should ask the Citizen Advice Bureau or a charity like Shelter.
Online you could ask on this forum https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/ca ... ng-selling but stuff said by stranger online is, well, to be taken with a truckload of salt.
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