Here is a question to the blog clinic from Liz who is a landlord:
My tenant decided to leave and e mailed me that she wanted to go on 13th July. However being on an AST the earliest she could leave was 2nd August at six months.
I said she could leave and only pay to the 13th ON CONDITION she let me market the flat immediately. She agreed.
My agents gave several days notice but she did a U turn and forbid me or my agents access. She ignores my e mails completely.
I would like to charge her the £320 which would be the rent up to the official leaving date. Is the small claims court a good option? I would appreciate your comments. Thank you Liz
Yes you can claim for the rent. By signing a fixed term tenancy agreement your tenant made herself liable for the full rent on a month by month basis (I assume there was no break clause).
Although you agreed to let her go early, this was only on condition that she co-operated with you in re-marketing the flat. As she failed to comply with this condition, she is not entitled to the early surrender and is liable for the rent.
Note that if the tenant had paid a deposit, this is something that you can claim from it. However if a deposit is not available, then yes, you can bring a small claims court claim for all unpaid rent, including for the last period of time.
Probably the online service Money Claim Online would be best.
Note however that although you can do this now, you would not have been able to claim this before the date that the rent actually fell due. When suing after the tenant has left the property you need to have a proper address for service.