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Leaving lease early/Deposit query.

  • 21-04-2020 7:11pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2 kv1996

    Hi all. I'm looking for some advice.

    I signed a lease less than 6 months ago. My financial circumstances changed so I was planning on leaving my lease early. I was doing this before government restrictions were imposed. I got permission from my landlord to assign the lease to someone else which still stands so no issues there.

    The issue now is that due to Covid-19 I can't hold viewings and my other housemates understandably don't want new people entering the house. So essentially I can't assign the lease even though I have permission to do so.

    So without a new tenant even if I give 28 days written notice required to the landlord will I lose my deposit as I understand the landlord is entitled to do so to cover their losses?

    Also as I can't assign the lease can the landlord come after me for the rent for the rest of the fixed term? I'm very worried about this.

    Any help appreciated as I really don't know where I stand.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,238 Mod ✭✭✭✭ The_Conductor

    Hi KV1996-

    The fact that the landlord allowed you to assign the lease, moved the ball back into your court.
    There are two separate sets of rules (closely aligned with one another) governing your tenancy- the formal fixed term tenancy you signed, and the terms as per the Residential Tenancies Act.

    At this point- if you are 100% definitely moving- and in the absence of any clarity on what is happening with the Covid lockdown etc- in these unprecedented times, if you give valid notice to the landlord (as per your lease) you are liable to pay up to the end of the notice, and not up until the end of the lease.

    The lease- if you are unable to assign it as is currently the case- is dealt with separately to residential tenancy law, and is a contractual obligation between you and the landlord. In the first instance the landlord would lodge a case with the RTB for breach of lease contract. They would hold a hearing (reasonably quickly) and would only hold you to the notice period under the Act (they will not adjudicate on a civil contract between two parties).

    Technically, the landlord could theoretically hold you to the lease (unless you assigned the lease, or came to a mutually agreed solution between you). In this situation- it becomes a civil matter between you and the landlord- and the landlord would be entitled to go to court to enforce civil contratual obligations on you (separate from RTB tribunals etc). In practice- I'm not aware of any landlord actually going down this road- as the liklihood is that they would be throwing good money after bad trying to chase you for money that would never cover their costs. Unless you really pissed off the landlord somehow- its almost a foregone conclusion that this would not happen.

    So- if you give 28 days notice- you are liable to the end of the 28 days notice- and not further.

    A separate matter- is this a joint lease with the rest of the residents in the property? If so- it is possible that the entire house is jointly and severally responsible for the lease to rent the entire property- and if you leave without finding a mutually agreeable replacement, they are responsible for the rent. Also- in this type of instance- if you are terminating the lease- you have to be careful- as you may not be able to terminate your own portion of a lease- just the lease as a whole. It all depends on how it is sorted.

    Unfortunately- these type situations where multiple unrelated people are letting a residence- all named on a lease- are a bit of a minefield- it doesn't suit either a landlord or a tenant- but is often the least worse option for both.

    You need to sit down with a copy of the lease- and read carefully- is it your lease- or is a lease for the entire property which names you and a list of other people on it............

  • Registered Users Posts: 2 kv1996

    Thanks for your detailed response I very much appreciate it!

    There are 2 other tenants on the lease besides myself who will continue to live in the property.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,238 Mod ✭✭✭✭ The_Conductor

    kv1996 wrote: »
    Thanks for your detailed response I very much appreciate it!

    There are 2 other tenants on the lease besides myself who will continue to live in the property.

    In which case- all three listed tenants are jointly and severally liable to pay the rent for the property in full, regardless of whether or not one (or more) leave. The landlord can give you permission to replace or swap a tenant on the lease- but if the other tenants don't agree- you're snookered.

    You can't assign the lease to a new tenant- as its a joint tenancy- assigning the lease would imply all the tenants were vacating the property and the lease, as a whole, was being assigned to a new tenant (or group of tenants).

    In a situation like this- if the people who are not leaving refuse to play ball- they have you over a barrel- as all the named parties are liable for the rent.

    Your issue here is with the co-tenants, not the landlord.

  • Registered Users Posts: 37,527 ✭✭✭✭ the_syco

    A possible perspective from one of the other tenants;

    Something that was suggested was a "virtual" showing of the house.

    So you and the possible tenant have a Zoom conference, you show them the house, and the two tenants who live there have a chat with the potential tenant.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,238 Mod ✭✭✭✭ The_Conductor

    I agree with the_syco- showing the property virtually (on Zoom or something similar)- with the express consent of the other tenants- and allowing them to interview any prospective replacement (and in the current context its quite possible you may have no takers)- so they have input into a replacement without it intruding on their personal privacy and space- might be a suggestion you could take up.

    Note- regardless of you leaving, or not, and the timeframe of this- the rent for the property as a whole, remains due. If the other tenants impede finding a replacement, you have a Mexican standoff between you and they over who is liable for continuing to pay for your portion of the rent for the property...........

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