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  • 5 Post By Trebor
  • 2 Post By mryatt

Leaving outside of rental contract...?

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Leaving outside of rental contract...?

    Ok so we have a 3 year rental contract on our property with a 22 month break clause (ie we could leave after 24 months). We are 14 months in now so wouldn't be able to give notice based on the contract till end of November. However, we have had a significant change in circumstances (house in London with a big mortgage and now the tenants have stopped paying the rent and looking to move out). Given the housing situation in London and the rental price of our house there we are expecting to have to pay the mortgage in the UK until close to Christmas which leaves us significantly out of pocket and unable to afford our (very high) rental here.

    We are happy to move to a smaller place, however what are our options? Our plan is to talk to our landlord and try to see if we can secure a reduction, but if not, can we just given him 2 months notice and if so do we lose our deposit? In theory, could he take us to court for the remainder of the rent if he can't find another tenant (I suspect even if he does it won't be for anywhere near what we are paying now). In practice, does any landlord actually do that or do they just take the deposit?

    Not made any decisions yet, but just wondering what our options are realistically as we are in a tight spot. Thanks in advance.


  2. #2

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    The 3 year contract sounds very much like a corporate owned building. Sun Hung Kai by any chance?

    I've seen this one before... but I forget which company was involved.


  3. #3

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    It is an individual who has put the house in his corporation name. But he is actually a nice guy (expat) and is reasonable. This is his only property in Hong Kong so he isn't a big multi property corporate landlord.


  4. #4

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    If that's the case and considering you have a very unusual lease term... have a chat and see if you can get away with something like "I'll do my best to find a replacement and you can also list the property with agents knowing I'll allow estate agents to show the property and give you a good reference to anyone they bring in."


  5. #5

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    Yep, that was our plan, basically just say that we make sure everything is spotless and give him a glowing reference. I am hoping that if he gets someone else then he won't/can't take our deposit either. Although I guess if his new tenants pay less then he can probably ask for the difference for the remaining months on the contract


  6. #6

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    Update - the landlord basically told us that when he finds a replacement tenant at exactly the same rental (very unlikely in this environment I feel), then we can move and he will give us our deposit back. Before that, not a penny off. I take back what I said about him being a nice and reasonable guy.

    Wondering what happens if we just start paying less rent.....


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mryatt
    Update - the landlord basically told us that when he finds a replacement tenant at exactly the same rental (very unlikely in this environment I feel), then we can move and he will give us our deposit back. Before that, not a penny off. I take back what I said about him being a nice and reasonable guy.

    Wondering what happens if we just start paying less rent.....
    I dont see this as unreasonable. You signed a contract. If you want to leave you can leave. Perhaps you should have chosen a cheaper apartment to start with if you were only just living within your means.

    And i'm saying this as a tenant, i don't own property in Hong Kong. But property owners have outgoing costs too.

    That being said if i was in his position i would probably offer a rental reduction (depending on if the tenants are paying market rate - my landlady hasn't reduced mine but then im paying the same as i was 6 years ago when i moved in so i havent asked for it either)

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebor
    I dont see this as unreasonable. You signed a contract. If you want to leave you can leave. Perhaps you should have chosen a cheaper apartment to start with if you were only just living within your means.

    And i'm saying this as a tenant, i don't own property in Hong Kong. But property owners have outgoing costs too.

    That being said if i was in his position i would probably offer a rental reduction (depending on if the tenants are paying market rate - my landlady hasn't reduced mine but then im paying the same as i was 6 years ago when i moved in so i havent asked for it either)
    I am a landlady too. We have properties in the UK. However whenever my tenants have found themselves in a difficult position I have always gone out of my way to help them, especially if they are good tenants who have always paid on time and never been any problem (which we are). Occasionally this has meant I am out of pocket, but as long as I can suck it up and I know it will be short term then it's worth it to me to hopefully keep my tenants/help a fellow human being.

    The rent on the UK house that is no longer incoming is very large, we are not "living close to our means." I don't know about you, but I can't imagine that many people would have enough disposable income to allow them to pay their rent here plus a mortgage on a 4 bedroom house in London. We can manage for a couple of months (which is why we said to the landlord here we can pay full rent for a couple of months) we just want him to release us and return the deposit after that so we can find somewhere cheaper. The alternative was to give us a reduction in the rent till we get new tenants in the UK house.

    Of course I know that our UK tenant problems are not his problem but like I said, sometimes you need to look further than the end of your nose....if he had given us a reduction (even a token gesture), we probably would have extended our tenancy (for the original price) when it expires in Jan as I am sure we will have tenants in the UK by then. But now I doubt we will.
    Trebor and TheBrit like this.

  9. #9

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    Thats why i said i'd offer the reduction if i was in his shoes.

    There are two issues here, rental reduction or you leaving with your deposit back 100%.

    But i don't see why he should forfeit the deposit if you were to break the contract, he may then be left with an empty flat for the rest of the year, even if you do forfeit the deposit on your end there is still a chance the landlord will be out of pocket if he cant find anyone before the expiry of your lease.

    So yes if i believed that a rental reduction would lock in my tenants and possibly extend them then I would do it.


  10. #10

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    Nov 2018
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    Thanks for explanation, I do understand how tenancies work. Also, given he is insistently confident that he can get the same amount he is getting now (so is actually advertising for more, not less than what we are currently paying) I also doubt he is worried about it sitting empty till the end of the year as you suggest.

    Anyway, I guess it is his decision at the end of the day - If he doesn't find a new tenant in two months time and we still have no paying tenants in the UK house (there is a new UK COVID law that you cannot evict for no payment of rent for 3 months) the landlord here will have to take a reduced amount and take the rest out of the deposit when we leave whether he likes it or not.