Here is a question to the blog clinic from Sarah (not her real name) who is a tenant
My AST ended yesterday and the estate agent is trying to get another two weeks of rent from me.
At first, I was told that I hadn’t given enough notice so I had to pay an extra months rent (but as a favour, they would try and talk the landlord down to two weeks). I was pretty shocked by this as I had already told them two months ago I wouldn’t be renewing my tenancy and they waited until last week to arrange an inspection and asking me to come in to sign for another year’s contract.
I disagreed with this and was asked when I would be handing the keys in, I said this morning would be most convenient and they agreed, saying that they would do the checking out at the same time and it could be wrapped up. They now have the keys but want to do the check out in two days time.
I’m now being told that I was right that I didn’t owe notice because of the AST being up but now because I didn’t hand the keys in yesterday (which was the last day of my fixed term) I’m on a periodic contract automatically so still owe rent even though the place is empty, clean and I have no access.
It sounds to me as if these agents are trying it on.
It is true that if you remain living in a property after a fixed term has ended a new periodic tenancy will start automatically and you will become liable for rent. However, that is not the case here. You had actually moved out and were just a day late in handing back the keys.
I would though, advise any tenants reading this to take care to hand the keys back before the end of the fixed term, to avoid any possibility of this situation ever arising.
Because although I don’t think a new periodic tenancy did arise in your case (because you had given notice and had actually moved out) – as you were actually late (technically) in handing back the keys, I cannot absolutely guarantee that a difficult Judge (were this to go to Court) might not find otherwise.
In your case, I suggest you continue to refuse to pay and say that if they persist you will complain to their Property Redress Scheme.