'Ask Legal Neil' - End of lease tenant obligationsThis month 'Ask Legal Neil' looks at the dilemma of someone who has found the perfect house to buy but still has a rental lease that has not yet expired. Neil takes us through the key points of what you should look to do in this difficult situation....
Q. I am renting but have found a property to buy. What happens with the rental?
Congratulations on finding a property that you wish to buy and live in!
The short answer is: it depends on what your lease says.
Here are some points for you to consider:
• Read your lease - can you give early notice or do you have to wait until the end of the rental period? Notice should be given to the landlord in writing and receipted in writing. Your landlord may be willing to negotiate if you wish to leave before the end of the rental period but there is no obligation.
• Keep your landlord informed on your moving progress as you may need permission to stay for extra days in case of unexpected delay.
• Not all leases require the outgoing tenant to repaint, fumigate or professionally clean but many do. Don’t rely on your landlord’s insistence - read the lease carefully and check what your obligations actually are. You may save money that can be spent on your new place.
• Before you leave, walk through the rental with your landlord and take pictures to show the condition. Hopefully you took pictures when you moved in too.
• If there is damage and your tenancy is for a term of less than three years, you may not be responsible for damage to drains, water, electric and gas installations. Check the Landlord and Tenant Act 1974. If you are liable for repair, it may be cheaper for you to arrange, rather than for the landlord, and take a deduction from your deposit.
• Make sure you leave the rental in the condition required by the lease so that you are entitled to receive your deposit back in full. It’s money that can be spent on your new place.
• Don’t forget to advise utility providers well in advance of your plans; they will all have different notice periods and requirements.
Neil Molyneux is a member of the Property Practice Group at Appleby (Bermuda) Limited.
The above content should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Before proceeding with any matters discussed here, persons are advised to consult with a lawyer.
If you have any questions you would like to ask Neil - on any and all legal matters regarding Bermuda property, please direct your question to firstname.lastname@example.org