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I currently live in a residence for temporary stays in London with which I am under contract. The contract stipulates a minimum term of 5 weeks (which is passed) and then rolls on a weekly basis. I told the residence I want to move out in two weeks and they replied by citing the clause of the contract which prevent me from checking out. The clause specifies a 14 days notice and an additional condition which states I agree not to leave between the 10th of December and the 2nd of January. So far, I respect the 14 days notice but my checkout date falls within the two dates.

If I do not pay, they will keep my deposit which is 3 weeks rent. If I pay to January, it will cost me 3 weeks as well. I do not intend to pay because I already have a new place and do not want to pay for not living there. Basically, if I stay and pay, it will cost me the same as sacrificing the deposit.

I am not from the UK and in my country such a clause would be illegal because abusive since it forces "weak part" (the tenant) to pay and the contract is not fair for both parts. If the clause is illegal, then law prevails on the contract and I can safely ignore this clause. Is such a clause legal in the UK? I have been told the law of 1977 describes the conditions of checking out. Does this clause fit in the frame of this law?


The other leavers I have is to exit the contract by stopping paying the rent and being evicted. It will cost me the deposit. The contract itself is a bit dodgy. The flat I have been allocated to is not the one on the contract. Some sentences in the contract are meaningless. Is there a way to break the contract for such a reason?

  • I want to say I see nothing unfair about the clause, and nothing which would render it void. Why did you sign if you weren't happy with the terms? – Terry Dec 8 '15 at 16:02
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I am not a lawyer and I have never even been to the UK.

Can my landlord force me to stay?

Certainly not! But he might be able to get a court to force you to pay.

The term is odd but I don't see why it wouldn't be enforceable. It's legal for you to remain in the agreement during that period and you agreed to it in exchange for fair consideration. That you regret the terms now isn't a strong argument for releasing you from your obligations.

Can you ask them for permission to leave on the 19th? I understand that's not a full 14 days' notice but they might be sympathetic. Of course they probably won't be since the whole point of this policy is that they won't find a new tenant this close to the holidays. That said - if you can find a suitable replacement tenant who is ready to move in on the 19th or the 20th, they might be willing to let you go early. It would be a net positive for them - a win-win.

I would not recommend intentionally trying to get evicted. Morality aside, that sort of behavior might tarnish your reputation and make life harder for some period of time.

Try to find a solution that is good for everybody. Put yourself in your landlord's shoes. You're using his property and now you're angry at him because he's holding you to the lease agreement? What if you had become angered at the rent or at the no-smoking clause? Would those be legal in your country?

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  • It is 10 not 20. I corrected. I friend of mine who is a lawyer advised me to just leave and not to pay. I am not sure the clause would be illegal but at least there would be a possibility to break the contract. Of course not for a non-smoking clause. – Antoine Dec 8 '15 at 16:03

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