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  • Buy-to-Let

    Getting double rent.

    Hello tribelings

    I have bought my first rental property through the great advice I have received on this site, so thank you all. (I avoided falling into the guru trap after my unsatisfactory visit to Glenn Armstrong's mentoring day).

    But I need a bit of advice.

    My tenant has handed in their notice. The tenancy will end at the end of February, but they have told me that they are moving out tomorrow.

    I already have a new tenant (a friend of a friend) who wants to move in straight away.

    I want to know if there is any law that says I have to repay the first tentant the pro-rata rent, or if I am entitled to keep it because they decided to move out early?

    Someone told me I have to refund it by law, but surely its just my luck that I can do a double up on the rent?

    Thanks for a definitive answer on this.
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    This is a commonly misunderstood point. You are not allowed to have double rent in the sense that you cannot rent the same space to two separate people at the same time.

    However, if a person leaves early having paid rent in advance then you are under no obligation to refund them the money because the Apportionment Act does not apply to rent paid in advance (only rent in arrears). In short, you get a windfall Wink

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.
    Thanks for commenting David.

    I was talking about this with one of our lettings agents a few months ago and he said that he believed that the tenants that leave before the end of the contract retain right of possession of the property to that date, which effectively would make the new tenants trespassers.

    Is he wrong on that count?
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    Not if they are leaving on an agreed basis with the landlord ending their tenancy.

    If the tenant tries to surrender and the landlord refuses to accept it then they would retain a right of possession.

    However re-letting would surrender the tenancy anyway so the new tenants would never be trespassers.

    At worst, if the landlord had re-let when the tenant had no intention of leaving (ie. they were in hospital) then that would be an unlawful eviction

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.
    If Tenant 1 has surrendered the tenancy then the honourable thing would be to refund their rent from the day Tenant 2 moves in. However, I don't think there's actually any legal requirement to do that.

    If Tenant 1 had asked to end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term then the landlord would be expected to make an effort to find a new tenant but it would be reasonable for the outgoing tenant to cover all the costs involved until that is achieved.
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    I would argue on honours here.. After a tenancy has ended, usually there are some services to be purchased, before the next one moves in.

    Especially if it's been a full year or more since the tenant moved in.. The landlord probably needs to let a team inside an get the property deep cleaned and this is not me saying the tenant is messy or has left the apartment in a miserable state.

    It's perfectly normal to have an annual clean up top to bottom at home and even necessary between tenants. Anyway, having the tenant moving out so quick, I'd bet they haven't had the time to do it themselves or deal with a cleaning company, so it's the landlord's responsibility to take care of this. There might be some small damages, scratches, etc. that are outside of the "wear and tear" bounds and need a little refreshment for it's new occupant.

    Instead of having to go through deposits and TDS's, I find it perfectly reasonable to leave the last month of rent with the landlord.

    Furthermore, it's pure luck he found his new tenant so quickly...

    As for the original question:

    There is no problem in doubling up, so long as you terminate one tenancy, before enrolling another. Have your old tenant sign a surrender notice and send it to you. Then you're clear to go.

    Just remember to return their deposit. Smile

    Best Regards,

    Audrey Wright @ Move out Mates
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    Freelance writer, blogger and designer; Active renter, writer, graphic designer and loud mouth. Manager and writer at The Tenant's Voice - The largest tenant community in the UK.