Break Clauses not honoured because new tenants can’t be found – claim

The consumer group Which? claims some agents and landlords are not honouring break clauses and therefore not allowing tenants to move out during the Coronavirus crisis.

The group claims this is because some agents and landlords fear they will not be able to find new tenants during the lockdown period.

Which? says “some renters” – without naming them or indicating how many – have been in touch with the group.

Which? claims: “Those affected are reporting that some private landlords aren’t honouring break clauses that would normally allow tenants to leave their home before the end of a tenancy agreement. And some landlords are pressuring tenants to continue renting homes, even though their tenancy agreement has ended and they have no duty to stay.”

It cites one tenant, referred to only as Chelsea, who lives in a shared house in East London: she lost her income during the lockdown and wanted to move back to her mother.

Which? claims Chelsea’s letting agent refused her request, saying it’s down to the landlord’s discretion.

The group says the landlord wouldn’t give permission for her to leave under the current circumstances, saying it would be difficult to find a new tenant at this time, and suggested Chelsea find a different job or ask her family to help her pay her rent.

In an article on the group’s website, Which? says that even a private tenancy agreement break clause is stated as being down to the landlord’s discretion “you may be able to argue that this is an unfair term under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, due to the imbalance of your rights against the landlord’s.”

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