Q. I recently moved into a rental apartment with my boyfriend and sadly things have fallen apart between us after just 4 weeks which has resulted in me having to move out. We signed a 12 month contract with a break at six months, is there anything we can do to get an early release? Now we’ve both vacated can we just drop off the keys to the agent and let them re let it? To make matters worse my ex is now threatening not to pay the rent? It’s such a mess – what can I do?
A. Given you have signed a joint tenancy agreement with a minimum term of six months I am afraid you have to be prepared for the worst and expect to cover the rent for that period as you are both joint and severally liable. However, I would strongly advise that in the first instance you send an email to the agent explaining the situation and serving your formal notice to vacate at six months. I would then follow that up with either a phone call or a visit in person to the agent to discuss the best way forward. Whist it has to be recognised that you are contractually tied in for the next five months at least, if you are transparent with your agent (these things happen) I am sure they will discuss with the landlord and commence remarketing as soon as possible in order to find replacement tenants. Once they have found new tenants and only at that point they will then be in a position to release you from the contract. Sadly until then you will need to continue making the rent payments, if your ex decides to default this could also have implications on you too given you are both equally responsible to ensure the rent is paid in full every month so it would be better for you to pay all the rent and then pursue him for the money owed by taking out a CCJ (County Court Judgment) against him to recover the money owed. Before things get that far mention the implications of not paying to your ex as a CCJ will result in him having issues later if he ever decides to rent privately again or take out a mortgage or loan for instance. At this stage and despite the turmoil you must currently be encountering I would ensure you do what is legally required to prevent you having any issues later on.