Do I have recourse for fixed-tenancy being ended early?

Roger asks:
(updated on Friday, February 05th 2010)

Our tenant was on a fixed 12 month term contract - they requested to get out after 6 months. I agreed on the basis that we got in a replacement. We found a replacement quickly but 5 days before they were due to take over, the replacement lost his job and partner and pulled out.
The original tenant is continuing to move out. I will likely be out of pocket for several weeks whilst trying to find a replacement. Do I have recourse against the original tenant on the fixed term contract?

Our Experts Answer:

Fixed-term tenancies can be ended by mutual agreement between a landlord and tenant. Whether you have any recourse against the original tenant depends on the conditions you agreed on. For example, if you agreed to end (or assign) the original tenancy on a specified date as a result of finding a new tenant, then the original tenant may only be liable for the tenancy until the date that was agreed upon.

Similarly, the terms of any tenancy agreement with the new tenant will determine if you have any recourse against them. If the new tenant accepted the tenancy from an agreed date, then they may be required to provide proper notice to end the tenancy, and may be responsible for rent in the meantime.

If you are unable to reach a satisfactory outcome with either tenant, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. To discuss your situation further, or for advice about applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262)

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.



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