Breaking housing contract.

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Karl_uk, Nov 25, 2010.

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  1. Morning,

    Bit of a random question but I'm unsure who to turn to except the power of ARRSE!

    OK my question is -

    I signed a contract last January to rent a room in a house share last January. The contract was to start in August 2010 and end in June 2011. Due to several reasons, such as an epic falling out with the people I was supposed to be living with, I only ended up staying there for less than a week in August and I haven't been back.

    The contract is with a large letting agency and they asked for a guarantor when I signed the contract. The contract is also a house contract, meaning that they need to get the other tenant's permission to move in someone else. I've had a few people round to view it but as the place was in complete rag order every time I brought someone round they did one and I never heard from them again (Not that I blame them!)

    The letting agency know I've moved out and have advertised the room for me.

    So am I in my right to head down there and come out with a comment along the lines of... I don't live there, never have done, here's the keys and I'm cancelling my direct debit!

    If I did what would the chances of - them being able to get the money of my guarantor?

    - them trashing my credit rating?

    Bit random I know but if anyone has any knowledge in this area any comments would be great as I'm hammering my finances to pay two lots of rent.

    Cheers guys.

  2. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    If you breach the contract, it's likely that the agent would try to get the money from your guarantor. They can't do anything to your credit rating - rent doesn't come up on the files of Credit Reference Agencies.

    You may, however, be able to terminate the contract because the behaviour of the other tenants has prevented you living there, and prevented you getting someone else in. Is this a House in Multiple Occupation? Is your deposit protected?
  3. Thanks for the point about credit rating - that's really reassuring!

    Ref your point about my guarantor - are they legally allowed to sort of 'reach into' my guarantors back account and take the money or would they have to send a money and request it?

    There's no clause in my contract about being able to break the contract unless I have a replacement and nothing mentioned about the behaviour of the housemates etc. I also wasn't required to pay a deposit so no dramas there.

    Thank you for the reply ViroBono, it's much appreciated!
  4. Bit of a dodgy contractual situation. If I were you I'd seek advice from a solicitor, or CAB. Another source is (Google it) Money Saving Expert .com and Consumer Action Group and look through the tenants/landlord threads. Your situation is not one that can be answered on a non-specialised forum. Hope you get it sorted but I'll try to post a link later. :0

    Have a look through here. The best guy on Money saving expert is "Mr Shed". Cheers

    House Buying, Renting & Selling - Forums

    Residential and Commercial Lettings
  5. Cheers for the links. I'm heading down to CAB on Monday but I was a bit unsure how useful they would be as I know a few people who have used them in the past and their feedback wasn't very good but we'll see!
  6. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Shelter will give free advice on housing matters. CAB are ok but the nature of what they do means that you may not get a specialist adviser.
  7. Hi. Don't know if you're still looking for advice on your housing contract, but I'm a landlady specialising in Houses of Multiple Occupation. Was the contract solely in your name for your room or in the name of the other tenants for the whole house?

    Antisocial behaviour problems are common when strangers share houses and it's up to the landlord to sort them out. You could point out to the agent/landlord that the other tenants were in breach of their contract by carrying out antisocial behaviour (there's always a clause relating to this in tenancy agreements).

    As a previous post asked: did you receive a receipt for your deposit showing that it's been deposited in a tenancy deposit scheme? This is really important and, if it wasn't, you are within your rights to persue compensation. (If the landlord hasn't done this he should release you from your contract providing you don't tell on him!)

    Did you raise your concerns with the agent? If any of my tenants are unhappy after they've moved in, I release them from their contracts with 2 weeks' notice which allows me to re-advertise. Sharing with lots of strangers isn't for everyone and it sounds as though the agent and landlord don't have much control on what's going on.
  8. Hi,

    Well I am and I'm not. I went to speak to a free legal advice service specialising in housing matters and they basically said that I'm screwed and I'll have to man up and pay it. Or if I don't my guarantor will be next in line!

    To answer your questions though.

    The contract is in al of our names.

    How could I prove that there had been anti social behaviour issues?

    There was no deposit paid so no drama's there!

    I didn't specificity say to the agency why I was moving out only that I was. At the time I didn't think it mattered as I was hoping to get a new tenant in ASAP. The agency have (something I only recently discovered) :( a really had reputation. There's even a facebook group about how bad they are I believe!

    Thanks very much for getting back to me though.

  9. Ok. In that case, I advise that you talk to the agent AND the landlord. See if you can strike a deal. Also, are they really likely to take you to court? This could take months and lots of their "valuable" time. Ask the landlord what you can do but in my experience most landlords just write it off. If the contract is in the other tenant names too, I can't see how he'll take you to court without taking the others too. Fair enough, he could persue your guarantor but this is an expensive process. Landlords are human too and is maybe making threats because he's annoyed you left, creating more work for him.

    Remember, this is not a life or death situation. See how far they'll push. If you really want to annoy them, let them set a court date, complete and pay for the paperwork and then settle your liability just before it goes to court!
  10. Hi,

    Interesting points. I agree with what you say and the only things stopping me doing this is worry's over;

    Credit rating - could this be negatively effected? Same applies to my guarantor.

    Additional costs - could me or my guarantor be liable for any court/legal/admin etc etc costs/fees?

    The letting agency is also quite big with offices in three cities. The worry is that they might have a lawyer type person on the payroll and so the cost wouldn't matter to them as they know they would probably win in court. Or would they? I dunno...

    Reference your point about it being expensive to pursue a guarantor - why is this? and how hard is it to get money out of them?

    Thanks again for your time.

    Cheers. :)
  11. Ok. First of all you need to sit down in front of them and talk to them. At the moment, you are imagining worst case scenario and have few facts as to how that particular company operate. Hold your hands up to your breach of contract (leaving without giving notice and within the contract period) but also explain why. Your reasons for leaving sound perfectly valid. They probably do have a legal person in the office whose job it is to read you the riot act. It sounds as though you haven't been given any official court orders, etc. so there's time to sort it out and find a compromise.

    Alternatively, search for Tenant Relation Officers on the internet and see if you can get further guidance from them. As a landlord, I would let the matter go if you talked to me and made a concessionary payment; if I thought you were avoiding me I would throw the legal book at you just out of frustration. As I said before, even letting agents and landlords are human - we bleed too.
  12. Hi,

    Firstly - sorry for the a very very slow reply!

    May I say thank you for your advice as well. Incase you were wondering I went to get some legal advice on the housing contract and it turns out that the whole issue of it being a "house" contract (which isn't mentioned in the housing contract) but is referred to as a sub-clause by them in correspondence is total BS. A case of me being very naive and believing them I suppose but there we are.

    The next lot of rent was due to be out last Monday, which I havn't paid so its a giant game of bluff now and I'm waiting out to see what they do.

    Thanks again for your advice hmolandlady and other posters - much appreciated!

    I'll let you know what happens ;)