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Question

Tenant Wants to Leave (England)

Tenant moving out before fixed term expiry

22 Mar 2017 | 1 comment

Hi, I have been informed by my tenants who have only been in three months they cannot afford to live at the property and are leaving. I have informed them they are in contract and liable for all bills and rent until end of contract. They have informed me they have already contacted the suppliers and cancelled the contracts. I have used one of your AST’s – can you tell me if this will be sufficient against the utility companies and council tax etc for the tenants to be liable for these bills until end of contract? Thanks

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    Certainly the council tax will be the tenants liability until the end of the fixed term (as long as the term was at least 6 months) because the law governing this says the tenant – even if not occupying – has the material interest for the term and therefore liable. You mustn’t ask for / accept the keys back though if you are holding them liable for rent etc. until the end of the term. You could accept them on condition you are simply using them to try and re-let the property sooner.

    The utilities are different because the law governing utilities says the “occupier” is liable and where it isn’t occupied, the “owner” is liable. I’m not sure whether the utilities would accept the tenancy as overruling the legal position. Presumably, all that would be payable would be a standing charge and you could recover this cost from the tenants. It’s whether you can force the utility to bill directly that would be problematic.

    As the utility will be in your name, you could see if there is a supplier with no standing charge (there used to be as I’ve done this before) and then there would be nothing to pay and so it wouldn’t matter.

    Please see this article for more information about utilities.

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