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Are winter no-go clauses valid on a periodic tenancy? how about exit fees?


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Asking for a friend. Her contract has lapsed onto a periodic tenancy. She wants to go back to Spain. She handed in her notice but the estate agency pointed her to a clause which states she cannot move out in the winter months, moreover, after she has waited 3 months to move out she will still have to pay £500 exit fees. Is any of this legal?

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Lol not a chance.

On an AST, the notice period is 1 month. This clause would violate all 5 of the bold bits.

She should check everything else is by the book. Is the deposit protected? Did she receive a gas safety certificate? Did she receive a "how to rent guide"? Did she receive an energy rating certificate?

I am under the impression that the landlord is playing a dangerous game with inserting these kinds of clauses. I doubt the DPS would uphold his claim on the deposit for this either (if he has protected it properly; if he has not she can get him for up to 3 times the deposit and him pulling this kind of crap will not be looked upon favourably in court.)


When do unfair terms apply to residential tenancy agreements?

Assured shorthold tenancy agreements are subject to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

This law applies to residential tenancy agreements where:

  • the tenant is a consumer (i.e. not a company or a person acting in the course of business); and
  • the landlord uses a letting agent to manage the property or he or she lets the property on a commercial basis (an exception is if the landlord is renting his or her own home).

What is an unfair term?

We explain the Regulations as they apply to any type of consumer contract in more detail in this more general article.

To summarise, the Regulations state that the consumer is not bound to any term in a contract with a supplier that is “unfair”.

A term is deemed to be unfair if:

  • it removes or reduces the tenant’s rights given by statute law
  • it significantly reduces the tenant’s rights under common law
  • it is contrary to the requirement of good faith
  • it imposes a penalty or charge on the tenant that is not reasonable in amount or not incurred reasonably
  • the rights of the tenant are constrained by the wishes of the landlord without reasonable justification

It is the landlord who is responsible for ensuring that there are no unfair terms in the agreement.

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