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Can a lettings agency cancel a tenancy contract after a claim of sexual assault?

Bristol agency CJ Hole faces a tricky situation after one of its tenants flees a property after an alleged incident and asked for be released from her tenancy.

Nigel Lewis

bristol lettings agency

A lettings agency in Bristol has been told by ARLA Propertymark that one of its tenants cannot have her AST contract terminated despite claiming to have been sexually assaulted within her rental property.

The unusual situation has arisen after the unnamed 21-year-old female Bristol University tenant signed up to move into a shared house at the beginning this year’s academic year, only to allege within 24 hours that she had been sexually assaulted within the property.

After fleeing the address and moving back in with her parents, the student told the lettings agency about the incident and is refusing to return or pay rent and has requested that her tenancy be terminated.

CJ Hole told Bristol Live that it had done everything it could to support the student and that it had contacted ARLA Propertymark and other local members for guidance.

“According to ARLA this is a criminal matter not a contractual one and all of our tenancies are drawn up in accordance with the Housing Act of 1988 (section 19A) (as amended),” says its Area Lettings Director Emily Windsor, and that the company is attempting to resolve the matter.

“An agreement is being worked on for those that wish to stay to stay, and those that wish to leave, leave.”

The alleged sexual assault is also being investigated by Avon & Somerset police and the student is also being supported by Bristol University’s wellbeing team.

Read more about CJ Hole in Bristol.

September 6, 2019

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