Here is a question to the blog clinic from Sally who is a tenant.
I was due to move into a flat and now 2 days before, I have been told I can’t because the current tenant is refusing to leave.
She and her flatmate wrote a letter ending their tenancy 2 months prior but at the 11th hour she has decided not to move.
I have done everything right, signed the paperwork and paid all bills along with passing all reference checks.
What are my rights to gain compensation for being told I don’t have anywhere to live 2 days before I am due to move in? The agents are telling me to find a new flat, but if the new flat is more expensive and further from my work – can we claim that money back as damages?
If you have signed a tenancy agreement and are not able to move in, then the landlord is in breach and yes, you are entitled to claim financial compensation.
In contractual cases, the compensation you are entitled to is what will put you in the same position (financially) that you would have been in had the contract been performed as expected.
So you will be entitled to claim all expenses involved in finding somewhere else to live and any extra rent (or hotel bills) you have to pay above the rent level in the contract you signed.
The person who is liable for this (and the defendant in any claim) will not be the letting agents but the landlord of the property.
Mind you, having a legal right to something does not mean you will actually get it and I doubt very much that the landlord or his agents will agree to pay this voluntarily!
So you will need legal help as this is not a straightforward claim.
The best places to get help would be from a solicitor working for Shelter or a Law Centre (if there is one near you). You will find a list of suitable advice services here.
Note to landlords – this is why you should NEVER get tenants to sign a tenancy agreement before the existing tenants have moved out.