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Monday, June 06, 2011

Tips On Deposit Protection Disputes: 45 The Fixed Term

Tip 45: Vacating at the end of the fixed term
The deposit protection schemes tend to take quite a hard line on landlords claiming for lost rent when the tenant vacates the property at the end of the fixed term without giving any notice.
I can see why landlords want to receive notice of the tenant’s intention to leave at the end of the fixed term. An unplanned departure will almost certainly equate to a void and a commensurate loss of income for the landlord while the property is re-let. Landlords often try to compensate for this by putting clauses in the tenancy agreement that purport to require the tenant to give notice, regardless of the action of the fixed term.
The problem is that at the end of the fixed term, unless the tenant remains in the property, the contract expires. If the tenant leaves the property before the end of the contract, it doesn’t become periodic, it just ends and with end the tenant’s obligations to pay rent etc. This effectively means that a tenant can move out, without any kind of notice, and the poor old landlord can’t do a thing about it.
The rub is that the opposite is not true. If the tenant doesn’t notify the landlord of their intention to stay, and they do stay on after the expiry of the fixed term, the landlord cannot just kick them out. To me, that looks like a manifest imbalance in the obligations of the parties...   ...but what do I know?
As an aside, I would say that not all adjudicators apply the law in the same way with regard to vacating at the end of the fixed term, and some landlords have got lucky with these claims. You never know your luck.
Tom Derrett is the Principal of Deposit Claim, an ex-adjudicator and an expert on the Deposit Protection Schemes. Tom helps landlords to claim money through the deposit protection schemes.

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