Tenancy break in COVID lock down

It is a very unfortunate time for both students and landlord. While it is very unfair to be forced to stay away and pay rent for your unused student accommodation, a contract is binding. It seems many landlords are in this business using maximum Buy-to-let mortgages, thus allowing no leeway for times like this. They need the rental income to keep up with their mortgages. The risk of COVID situation seem zero for these landlords when they made the decision with BTL. Therefore many landlords could not agree to any discounts on the ground of humanity and morality even if they want to.  Nevertheless it is worth a look at other possible legal routes for students to save paying a portion of the rent. It depends on what your contract says or the break clause. I wonder if any student have had break clause that is only for landlords to end tenancy and not other way round. This same break notice, according to Shelter England, must apply to tenants wanting to end tenancy, under “Unfair terms and implied conditions”. The same break notice should apply as long as it is mentioned. If a break clause exists, but no mention of tenant or landlord, then it should apply only to tenants. Has anyone exercise the break clause? Has anyone done this and been ignored by their landlord? Any legal expert, your help is very much appreciated.


 


Comments

  • unforeseen
    unforeseen Posts: 7,260
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    Student contracts don't tend to have break clause
  • Yes because it is to landlords advantage (guaranteed income for 12 months) and students who need accommodation do not have a choice. Student accommodation business has grown and been growing because it is a very unbalanced deal giving almost full power to landlords. COVID19 has shown that the law needs to change in a lot of ways and one of the many being to enforce break clause for tenants. Very unfortunately it needs to take a pandemic to show up all the wrongs.

    One student’s contract has break clause which the student has acted upon but the landlord still keeps hounding her for rent to the end of tenancy which is another 2 months after her notice ended. So even with break clause, it doesn’t work!
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,760
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    A student tenancy agreement on a private house is the same as any other tenancy agreement for private houses. Landlords are bound by the same laws whether or not they choose to let to students.
    You say that the deal is unbalanced, but the fact is that private landlords are competing in a market which now has many private halls, that never used to be the case.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • StopTheGreed
    StopTheGreed Posts: 7
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    edited 30 April 2020 at 1:51PM
    Hi silvercar

    Thanks for your comment. Students have very limited choices as far as accommodation outside campus is concerned. They need to be as near campus as possible. Even if they can afford a car, most campuses do not have parking space for them. They mostly need HMO as they cannot afford single let which makes the supply even lesser.  Due to the limited supply of such suitable accommodation outside of campus, all private lets that are available offer very unfavourable contracts for eg:

    1. 12 months rent for 10 months let. No landlord will offer 6 months tenancy with extension for periodic.
    2. As stated by unforeseen, most landlords do not have break clause. All students therefore pay 12 months for 10 months of use. Some do offer half rent for Summer month.
    3. In HMOs, the house is let as a group so the lead tenant is responsible for all others rent.

    Let to family is very different.

    In a particular student’s case, she is still being chased to pay rent after giving break notice in March when she decided to end her tenancy and paid the money as stated in the break clause.The student is not familiar with legality and may not have worded it correctly. The Landlords Is still chasing after her for the 2 months rent that she is not there as she has left for good. Where is the law to help the poor student? If she does not pay, she may get dragged to court!
  • MoonChild91
    MoonChild91 Posts: 645
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    Tell her to get in touch with her student's union in the first case, but also to try Shelter and ACORN (the renter's union) for advice. Student tenancies are never the same as ordinary renting, and I'm sure landlords who specialise in 'student lettings' do so because it's so easy to exploit young people living on their own for the first time who aren't aware of their rights. In my experience if you can quote some terms of the contract at them or point out the grey legal areas of their actions they tend to give in. 
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  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,760
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    "In a particular student’s case, she is still being chased to pay rent after giving break notice in March when she decided to end her tenancy and paid the money as stated in the break clause.The student is not familiar with legality and may not have worded it correctly. The Landlords Is still chasing after her for the 2 months rent that she is not there as she has left for good. Where is the law to help the poor student? If she does not pay, she may get dragged to court!"
    If it did go to court she would win, presuming that she enacted the break clause properly. If that is the case then let the landlord sue. The law is there to help.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • dimbo61
    dimbo61 Posts: 13,709
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    Wow the Student Landlord is always the Bad guy here !
    There are several million people in the UK renting from private landlords.
    Some are families renting off the Council or local housing association.
    Some are students renting from some of the Big University accomodation providers such as Unite and many thousands of small Private Landlords providing cheaper shared rooms in houses and HMO,s.
    No one was expecting a Global Pandemic or planned for it.
    Not the UK government or the Travel/Airline industry.
    Now  Landlords  have mortgages, loans, maintenance costs and utilities to pay on  rental properties.
    Most Landlords did not tell the students to leave or go home at Easter.
    Most renters are paying the rent each month just like most home owners are paying the mortgage each month.
    Not every student Landlord is trying to rip off students and most students want the security of a 10/12 months contract to match the academic year
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