The correct way to end shared AST?

by Readers Question

12:13 PM, 17th October 2016
About 2 years ago

The correct way to end shared AST?

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The correct way to end shared AST?

My 3 tenants have a joint AST agreement. Unfortunately, 2 want/need to leave (been offered better job outside London/ having year out traveling). The remaining tenant wants to stay but doesn’t know 2 others to share with. I absolutely do not want my lovely flat turned into an HMO, so I am now having to consider reletting it to completely new people. My question is, firstly do I need to get both of the girls to write their notice, or just one of them? Secondly, do I need to give the other tenant his notice, or is it considered enough that the tenancy has been ended by the girls?correct way

The problem is compounded by the fact that his name does not appear on the original tenancy, as he replaced a further girl who left a few months ago. He has a deed of assignment drawn up by an agency.
The tenancy comes to an end on November 6th, and was to roll over. The last girl to leave wants to go just before Xmas. They all seem very aware of their responsibilities and liabilities and have assured me rent will be paid until then.

I do not know if I should issue a section 21 just in case he suddenly decides not to go. In fact, I’d prefer him to stay if he were to find friends to share with. They have all been model tenants so far. However, I had a very unfortunate experience with the previous tenants who basically used me to try to get a council flat and cost me a fortune in unpaid rent, eviction costs and damage to the flat.

I hope someone can advise me on the best course of action. I absolutely cannot afford to lose money at this stage as I am still paying for the fitted kitchen and new bathroom, etc!

Many Thanks

Linda



Comments

Gary Nock

14:50 PM, 17th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Linda

A little bit messy with the Deed of Assignment and his name not being on the rental agreement. In cases such as this as far as you are concerned the fixed term tenancy ends on 6 November, but one of the girls wants to stay on until just before Xmas.Lets assume the 24th Dec. So they are liable for rent from the 6th December until the 24th December - thats if you want to allow a part months rent - which you don't want to have to do. So really it's 6th December to 5th Jan. Notice by one normally ends the tenancy for all. Tenants are jointly and severally liable for rent. To make life easier I would advise that they cannot "mix and match" who goes on what date and who pays what. It is usual for a tenancy to end the day before a rent due date. So to make your life easier I would try and get them all to sign up to giving notice as of the 5th January - before the start of the new rent period 6th Jan to 5th Feb. That way you know you are getting rent until then. I would begin advertising now for two flatmates as from the 6th Jan or get the tenant to see if he knows someone who will share with him on a new joint tenancy commencing on that date. You could issue a Section 21 as a backup to expire on the 5th January, and you would need to give two clear months notice. So no later than 1st November if sent by post with Certificate of Posting or the 4th November if served by hand. I always if possible serve by hand and get the tenants to sign a copy as having received it. Check that the agent has protected the deposit and served Deposit Protection Prescribed Information on ALL tenants. If tenancy commenced after 1 October 2015 that a copy of the EPC was served, a copy of the gas cert was served, and a copy or a web link to the Govt "How To Rent Booklet" was served or otherwise sent to them. If not serve them before you serve the Section 21. Otherwise it would not be valid.

Lenin Benin

13:45 PM, 18th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Thank you very much for your advice Gary. I will contact the girls to sort out the notice and will end the tenancy on 5th January as it is so much easier. Meanwhile, I am not at all sure that the remaining tenant has a copy of all the required documents, because he was assigned the tenancy by an agency. The original tenants all had the correct documentation as I did it myself. Although his part of the deposit has been protected with the rest of it,I am not sure that he was given any documentation, as the lead tenant informed me she had received an email from the deposit protection scheme containing all the information . I'm afraid that I assumed she had then given it to him. If I do decide to issue a section 21, I will make sure he has been given a copy of everything! It was good of you to point all this out, as it can be a minefield to negotiate if you are not careful!
Linda

Gary Nock

16:38 PM, 18th October 2016
About 2 years ago

No problem Linda. Glad I could help. It is always difficult with such matters as you have to tiptoe around the various regulations while trying to cover yourself in the event of something unforeseen. In my early days I made much use of the NLA Helpline and their advice in such cases is instead of trying to "bolt things on" to a tenancy it is often lot "cleaner" legally to finish one tenancy and start another. I also do this when I have a tenant who wants to move a partner in. I also have an eye on my rent insurance policy terms and conditions which can be broken by having " bolt ons" to tenancy agreements such as "permitted occupiers" etc. As far as I am concerned there's no such thing. They are either a tenant or nothing.

Highland Lass McG

17:25 PM, 18th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Linda

Perhaps I am mistaken but if you rent to more than 2 unrelated people is this not an HMO already, regardless of whether they sign a single tenancy or have individual tenancy agreements?

Gary Nock

18:16 PM, 18th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Technically it is an HMO but not a "Large HMO" that requires a licence.

Mandy Thomson

10:31 AM, 19th October 2016
About 2 years ago

If you wish, you have the option of enforcing the notice from just one of the tenants as this is legally binding on all them. You would do this by submitting form n5 with an affidavit, not the eviction of trespassers route.


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