Adding partner to a Tenancy Agreement?

by Readers Question

15:50 PM, 8th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Adding partner to a Tenancy Agreement?

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Adding partner to a Tenancy Agreement?

Do I have to issue a completely new Tenancy Agreement (TA) if the only thing that is changing is adding a tenant’s partner to the contract?

The initial TA was set up and agreed – a single mum and two kids. I knew the father of the kids visited on and off, but when I have organised landlord checks he hasn’t been there so assumed this was still the case. FYI full (rent paid direct to me from DWP). It now seems that he has moved in full time and I believe he is working.

She has never told me that this is the case, so I don’t believe she has told the DWP either, yet this is a change in circumstance. Clearly I don’t want to rock the boat as they are a fairly nice couple and seem settled, BUT I need to cover myself.

Can I simply get him to sign something to say he is now jointly responsible as an amendment to the existing TA?

I’m worried if I have to issue a new TA then doesn’t that mean it is essentially a new contract and that I would have to wait six months if in the (unlikely event) things changed and I had to resort to eviction procedures etc?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:54 PM, 8th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Belt and Braces I would treat this as a new tenancy. Eviction is a non-option anyway no matter what the circumstances at the moment.

Old Mrs Landlord

8:21 AM, 9th June 2020
About 2 months ago

If your tenant has not informed DWP of her changed circumstances and a wage earner has indeed moved in you are at risk of payments already made to you being clawed back if/when they find out.

Ian Narbeth

11:02 AM, 9th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Unless she assigns the tenancy to herself and her partner (not straightforward) you should create a new tenancy. Remember you need to go through ALL the procedures for a new letting and you will need to withdraw and re-protect any deposit.

You need to check they both have right to rent in the UK, serve GSC and other paperwork on them. Do not cut any corners. Do not assume that because you have previously given the single mum a document that you don't need to do so again. Treat it as if they were new tenants.

christine walker

11:57 AM, 9th June 2020
About 2 months ago

I would advise tenant to leave the agreement as it is.If the relationship fails she is able to stay in the property and he would have no redress and have to leave

Bill irvine

12:24 PM, 9th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Hi Reluctant landlord

If the mother is claiming HB or UC and you're receiving payment direct, you're just as much under an obligation to report, even if you don't know for certain he's a permanent feature. Once reported, leave it to either the Council or DWP to investigate and determine the facts. In the event there has been an overpayment, culpability should rest with your tenant.

Do nothing, and you could find yourself being pursued for a large overpayment.

Bill

Alistair N

16:48 PM, 9th June 2020
About 2 months ago

All the above answers are correct, however I don't think you can do anything until the fixed period has ended either 6 months or 12 months. That may give you the time to point out to your tenant the documentation and hassle that she will have to go through and of course her partner as well. At the moment there will be plenty of money available to them, WE are paying her rent probably in full through UC direct to her, once HE goes on the tenancy his earnings will be taken into account. Currently he's got a roof over his head for NOTHING so he's happy, do they both realise that will change, and they'll be hard up and that usually means he'll think again and walk away. Also if you do give them new tenancy charge an extra £25 pcm for the extra wear and tear. They may be a " they are a fairly nice couple " BUT they have been breaking the rules it very much depends how she takes the reality of her situation and you could easily be asked to pay back some of the rent already received.
Have a lovely day ! A

WP

15:45 PM, 10th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bill irvine at 09/06/2020 - 12:24
will the DWP immediately stop direct rent payments though if she or I inform them that he has now moved in while they recalculate it all? What happens in the interim? The last thing I want to do is throw the baby out with the bathwater and try and do the right thing but end up financially stuffed in the process and with tenants on a brand new tenancy and already in rent arrears.

Jim Fox

16:05 PM, 10th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 10/06/2020 - 15:45
My experience of UC is whenever there is a change in the tenants financial circumstances, the direct payments to landlord stops, and doesn't restart until they have fully completed their investigations and benefit recalculations. It could take a month or two, depending upon how quickly your nt responds to their questions.

WP

16:08 PM, 10th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jim Fox at 10/06/2020 - 16:05
but clearly the DWP would know they were still in situ in the property during the re-assessment period and (hopefully?) backdate any payments due without any qualms in total at the first payment date after the re-assessment (really hoping the answer is yes!)

Jim Fox

16:16 PM, 10th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 10/06/2020 - 16:08
Yes, the DWP should backdate payments to the date they stopped, however they are likely to be at a reduced rate due to the change in circumstances

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