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  • Property-a-holics

    Tenant breaking contract

    Hi, I run a HMO with 6 beds and had a few voids for a while. I finally found a tenant for one of the rooms who signed a 6 month contract (£360/month). After 4 weeks he wants to leave in 2 weeks. Hes just paid his second months rent feels the fact that hes overpaid 2 weeks fair and expects deposit back when he leaves.

    Curious how some other landlords would handle this?

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    I would tell him 'you cant get the deposit back until a few days after leaving as this gives me time to check the room'.

    I would then change the lock on the door , or password in my case and text the tenant to tell him actually he can forget about his deposit and if he wants to take me to court ill sue him for breach of contract. In fact I might do it anyway.

    Wouldnt mention it before he leaves incase he damages things revenge

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    Hi Edwin,

    The first thing I would do is ask him why he is leaving.  You can learn a lot from customer feedback.

    For the sake of a stress free life and to avoid bad feeling, I would agree with his proposal and return his deposit after you have inspected the room and checked him out.

    Your energies are better spent finding a new tenant who wants to live in the property IMHO.

    Learn what you can from this incident and move on.

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    I would agree with Vanessa about getting feedback.

    Is there something wrong with the HMO?  You mentioned you have had voids too.  Is there a problem with one of the other housemates that you haven't been told about?

    What I normally do in a situation where a tenant wants to break their contract is spell out how things should work but then tell them that in reality I am happy for them to stop rent as soon as WE (ie them and me) can find somebody suitable to take over.  This usually happens quickly enough when the outgoing tenant is flexible on dates because they actually want to leave.  They also realise that it is in their interests for the room to be relet quickly and tend to leave the room and house more presentable for viewings.  In every situation I have had like this things have ended without any dispute which is better for your health.


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    Thanks for all the feedback!

    I don't want to withhold the deposit in that way Ignatius, seems dishonest. 

    He says hes left his job after 1 month and moving back to the town he came from.

    The HMO is on the outskirts of town and there are places of employment near by but i have 2 properties and it can take a while to find tenants.

    I spelled out his obligations and that hes been contracted for 6 months. I have said I would need to find a tenant to take over his contract. He got back to me with "I have paid this months rent, thats 2 weeks overpaid, I expect to get my deposit back, i hope that works for you."

    So it would seem the options are to 1) withhold the deposit, 2) and/or take him to small money claim court, 3) as vanessa suggests just accept it and move on.

    If it were closer to the end of the fixed term i would be flexible but seems that often tenants really dont care about tenancy agreements and keeping to them. Gets very frustrating as I have to jump through so many hoops with regulations, certificates and when i need to get a tenant out but they just pack up and go!


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