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Assured Shorthold Tenancy

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I think I pretty much know that there is no way out after reading our tenancy agreement but it doesn't hurt to try.

We want to end our assured shorthold tenancy early. It's a 12 month one that ends in December. However we're really struggling to make up the rent each month. I posted in a different thread about my new job at a supermarket and being on a 12 week trial but then having to tell my supervisor about my unexpected pregnancy after having a scare at work and needing to go to A and E.

I've also taken 3 days off due to morning sickness and being on a 12 week trial that is really not good. I realise that being pregnant is a protected status but it would be really, really easy to fire me at the end of this 12 week period and as far as I know they don't even need to give a reason.

My contract is only 9.5 hours on a Saturday and I'm struggling to make it through the day with my nausea. I know I need to do at least ten more hours in overtime to make enough money for us. I'm seeing the 'People Manager' at the supermarket tonight to officially say I'm pregnant and to really assure her that I'm not taking this job for granted.

Anywho I've gone off on a tangeant.

Quoted from our tenancy agreement
'Blah blah.. if the tenant vacates the premises before the expiry date, the tenant will be liable to pay;
- the rent upto the date that the premises are re-let or the expiry date, whichever is the sooner: and
.. council tax...utillity charges.. a pro-rota part of the landlord's costs of re-letting the premises should the premises be re-let before the expiry date'.

I can't see a break clause anywhere. I can't see this place being re-let very quickly and we can barely afford the extortionate rent on this place let alone paying rent on two properties so that isn't an option.

To make things really unbearable, we have to deal with an estate agent who reckon the landlord is a difficult man to get hold of. Despite months of asking them to sort out the broken letterbox, the window that doesn't even lock and another broken fixture there has been zilch done. Is there no way to twist it and suggest the landlord is in breach of his responsabilities (security risk- window that doesn't lock/close properly) and not carrying out much needed maintenance.

I know that him being a particularly awful landlord won't allow us to get out of this tenancy agreement unscathed but it'd be nice to be particularly annoying for our last impoverished 6 months of living here.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think your best option is to take the contract to Shelter to look over, as they'll give you free advice and be able to go over the contract in detail to see if there is a valid get out clause. Most landlords are ok with breaking the tenancy early if you have tenants willing to replace you. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to advertise the house on Gumtree. It's a tough one, I can sympathize with how frustrating it is to have an awful landlord (mine has been promising for the past 6 months to fix our boiler as we've had no hot water since we moved in). Again, Shelter can probably draft you a letter to your landlord to instruct him to carry out repairs if he's in breach of his side of the contract.

    Hope you manage to sort something and congratulations on your pregnancy
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Minor disrepair issues are unlikely to be sufficient to argue he's breached the agreement, unfortunately. The court tends to look at whether the main things- hot water, space heating, door security- are provided. If a boiler is not replaced or repaired, for instance, the landlord is probably breaking the law never mind the contract.

    Most landlords genuinely only care about the cash. If you tell the agent you want to leave and take steps to advertise it you might be surprised. Also don't discount housing benefit as an option.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    thanks you two for getting through my waffly post! :)

    i hadn't even considered gumtree but it wouldnt hurt to let them know of our intentions to leave. i guess we'd be paying till the end of the contract either way if it doesnt work.

    housing benefit would be so helpful right now but the last time i checked (being unpregnated) we didnt qualify because my partner earns just over a certain amount. so i cant even claim jsa either.

    im going to give shelter a ring today. one angle my mum suggested was saying that this house really isn't suitable for a baby. which it really isn't. the room that would be the obvious choice for a nursery is the one with the window that doesn't lock. it's just a bit of a crap house really that needs a ton of work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The Housing benefit calculation is a mix of income and rent. Look up the local housing allowance for your area, you'll be on the one bedroom rate for now. Then stick that into entitledto.co.UK. When baby is born you'll be allowed a second bedroom.

    Most housing benefit claimants are in work, you don't have to be on jsa to get it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I just did it and unfortunately it came back saying we can't claim it. It doesn't give a reason but the only thing i can think is that it's because my partner earns 22550 annually. which isn't even a huge amount.

    if i even keep this job for a year on my contract i'd be bringing in 3102, 32 a year. Rent is £650 a month which we can no longer afford. We can't afford to move out to find a cheaper place because of the tenancy agreement.

    Kinda screwed
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ignore me. God knows why he is giving me the figure of 22550 annually. that doesnt make any sense. now im pissed off and confused. if that were the case we wouldnt be struggling and now i just looked like a complete tit on the phone to shelter
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Sounds like it's time to sit down with the bank statements and work out what your incomes & expenditures are.

    On 22550 his monthly take home would be £1400 odd so even with him paying the bills on his own things shouldn't be too bad.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yeah it's really complicated and i didnt realise. it's student loan, a credit card debt so we arent left with much at all.

    next plan is to attempt to get the landlord agree to let us surrender the property. we cant afford rent so there isn't a lot else to do. we warned the estate agents (really crap middle men) months ago that we were struggling and suggested a third tenant- a friend moving in. but obviously that can't really happen now and this house isn't suitable for a baby at all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If he earns that much you badly need budgeting advice. If you're paying credit cards whilst missing the rent you're doing it arse over tit. Priority debts get paid first and the credit card can have a quid a month if that's all you have left.

    £22500 is more than I earn...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What arctic said.

    The two of you definitely need to sit down and work out what you're spending money on and review budgets,and spend some time on money saving expert. Student loan repayment won't be taking that much out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah you're both right. Is there somewhere we can go to get one to one budgeting advice? Do CAB do that sort of thing?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's probably best to make a start by yourselves and pull all the info together as a starting point. Start by getting out the pay slips, bank statements and bills together.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks you two. Arctic thanks, those look relatively easy to fill in. This weekend we will be busy :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also, might be worth looking for a cheaper rate on your credit card if that's a big monthly expenditure. If you're paying interest you could potentially save money by transferring over to a 0% card (or look at whether personal loan rate for the credit card amount works out cheaper). Depending on what your partner's salary is, you may be eligible for working tax credit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey clementine,

    How are you?

    Just wondering if you've had a chance to look over your budget yet and how your meeting with the People Manager at work went? Is there anything else you'd like advice or support with?

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah you're both right. Is there somewhere we can go to get one to one budgeting advice? Do CAB do that sort of thing?

    You might want to get in touch with the charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) as they do debt services and budgeting courses for free. I recently did a course with them called CAP Money, www.capmoney.org.uk, it's a three week course one evening a week and covers all aspects of budgeting and running a household budget. They also offer one to one services. They are a charity founded by a Christian and they run courses at church halls etc but help anyone regardless of religion etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The only issue I have with CAP is them asking debt clients for "voluntary" donations.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi.

    Sorry I should really update. My mum is coming over tonight to help with the budget. I'm gonna show her the link AR posted but she has offered to help out financially for two months. I'm unbelievably lucky with my mum being so supportive. Then my boyfriend's friend is moving in from August till December- the estate agents actually suggested just doing it because theyve attempted to contact the landlord so many times to ask but he just never responds. He never visits so we are taking a chance on it for a few months and then our contract ends.

    Seeing the People Manager was just plain awkward. Difficult to describe but I got a lot of blunt 'yups' 'okay', as in she wanted me out of her office asap. I've had to take time off this week because of all day sickness. I saw the dr today to get some meds and I'm hoping they work so I don't feel like a complete wreck.

    But today is the first day this week I've actually felt good. This morning was the usual but now I feel more like myself. So feel more able to tackle the budget tonight.

    Thanks RG, will bear that in mind. I'd find any classes like that helpful and we are going to definitely improve our budgeting skills living with a baby.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hiya,

    Good to hear from you with an update about what's going on.

    It's great that you have your mum's support. I wish you good luck with the budgeting and medications from the Dr.

    Let us know how you get on or if there is anything else you'd like to discuss.

    :)

    :)
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