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Tenancy issue - Early termination

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« on: March 31, 2021, 08:15:35 PM »

Hello everyone,

I am new to the UK, don’t know how the system works and having a weird issue in my current place. I’d be grateful if you could help me.

I’ve been living in a property for 4 months now as a lodger. The contract we signed was for a fixed term of 12 months. However, there is an ‘early termination notice’ of 1 month stated in the lodger’s agreement and a clause that says “Either the Landlord or the Lodger may at any time during the Term terminate this Agreement by giving to the other the Early Termination Notice. On expiry of the notice this Agreement will end.”
I gave 1 months notice and told my landlord that I am leaving at the end of the next month (April). However, I received an email from my current landlord where he claims that my notice of early termination is in breach of the contract. My landlord is saying that I didn’t give a valid reason therefore he is asking me to leave at the end of April AND either I have to 1- find a suitable tenant to replace me or 2- give the rest of the rest rent for a year within 14 days.
Can he do that?
What should I do now? Do I need to find a lawyer in case he sues me? I’m assuming he won’t give me my deposit back, what should I do about that?

Thank you for your help in advance.
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2021, 09:28:00 PM »

Read like you gave notice in accrodance with the break clause. You're fine, just move out by the end of April.

As a lodger, your deposit wouldn't be protected, so if he doesn't give it back without valid reason, you're going to have to take him to court to get it back.
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2021, 08:13:02 AM »

Is the "Early Termination Notice" some kind of prescribed form this Landlord uses? Where are "valid reasons" defined? Who decides what is a "valid reason"? On the face of this it sounds like the Landlord is trying to take advantage of you. What I would do is respond and I say something like - "I have taken advice and I am assured my notice was correct and there is no responsibility on me to find a new Tenant or pay additional rent beyond expiry of my notice." - please do read your agreement carefully though as we have only seen a couple of lines.
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2021, 03:17:09 PM »

I always thought that lodgers and landlords only had to give a month's notice either way,so I doubt if a 12 month contract is valid.Neither party has to give a reason.The landlord is trying it on,so be prepared to fight for your deposit back.
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2021, 03:54:17 PM »

Lodger is no different to tenancy. You can have a fixed agreement or you can have one that's periodic. Only practical difference is there's no automatic periodic agreement at the end of a fixed term lodger agreement unlike in an AST.
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2021, 05:35:45 PM »

It's good to learn more,thank you. I made the assumption because I have seen landlords with nightmare lodgers told that they can get them out with a minimum  of legal red tape?
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2021, 05:55:20 PM »

Yeah, so the protection offered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 and Housing Acts etc. don't apply to excluded licence or excluded tenancy. Lodger in common usage, as opposed to legal usage, generally just mean living with the landlord which is excluded whether it's a licence or tenancy.

So, no requirement to go to court for possession order and then paying a bailiff or HCEO to execute the order. Once notice to quit / break notice has expired or fixed term ended, the lodger no longer has any legal right to occupy. The landlord can just prevent access to the property so long as no physical force or threats are used. i.e. Wait for the ex-lodger to leave the property for whatever reasons, and change the lock.
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