Joint tenancy one arrested one leaves – is it abandoned?

by Readers Question

14:37 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Joint tenancy one arrested one leaves – is it abandoned?

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Joint tenancy one arrested one leaves – is it abandoned?

I had a young couple on a joint tenancy. The young man became very drunk (did have a tendency to drink too much according to some other tenants) and began rowing and hitting his girlfriend, another tenant became involved and police were called. He was arrested and held and is not allowed back to his flat as his girlfriend was thought to be still there (she wasn’t she had gone to her sister’s) and a couple of other tenants in other flats are witnesses.case

The girl has spoken to me and has removed her belongings, she has also removed the boyfriends and told me that they will not be returning, because she doesn’t want to and he because he is barred from the property.

Question is .. he is due in court on the 24th, what happens if he wants to return to the flat, I’ve had no contact with him. I’ve agreed to return the deposit and the girl says she will give the boyfriend his half.

Does he have any rights to return to the flat – or is it abandoned, it had just gone into a periodic.

Elizabeth



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:39 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Elizabeth,

I would not want to steer you wrong on this and would recommend you seek professional advice on top of any help readers can give.
see tenant eviction under our legal tab >> http://evicting-tenants.net/

Dr Monty Drawbridge

15:54 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with above but for starters, as a back stop, I'd ask her to give proper notice(if she has not done so already) as being periodic she can terminate it within one payment period on behalf of both parties (assumes joint tenancy).

Then take advice as to whether you can speed things up by mutual agreement.

I would not return the deposit until everything was settled.

I have had a similar problem in which police asked me to exclude a male tenant who was abusing his partner (asked me to change locks for her safety). I was then threatened with legal action for excluding him (arguable because in reality it was her excluding him as I gave her a key for him). Luckily it turned out he had been injuncted from going near the property so my action was not technically excluding him.

Beware advice from the police. When I told them that I was being sued for changing the locks they said that there had been no duty on my part to comply with their request that I do so.

Gary Dully

1:50 AM, 3rd September 2015
About 3 years ago

The tenancy still stands until you get proper notice or Express Surrender from both signatories. The lady of the tenancy cannot end his legal right to his occupancy of your property, despite rent arrears etc..
He can, she can't and vice versa.

Taking repossession back with just a hope it won't go wrong is extremely dangerous for a landlord.

You can end it with a section 21 or Section 8, followed by a court judgement and bailiff.

To illustrate: Just imagine a different viewpoint,
You had got him to grant back possession, you re-rent and 4 months later, she comes back and claims her home back. (say she had been in prison or frightened of being smacked about)
You will be found guilty of Unlawful Eviction, because she was denied her day in court and you had not followed the correct procedures.
That's why it takes up to 10 years to evict illegal gypsy camp sites.
The whole system is absolute bonkers.

Just to show you what landlords are up against, imagine dealing with this.....

I am currently waiting for a man found 'guilty' of attempted murder and awaiting sentencing, before I can start court proceeding for his eviction.
Section 8 Notices have been given, but I still need a court case to back me up.
I have pleaded with his legal team to get him to sign a surrender, but they won't help, until after his sentencing. ( He will get at least 15 years)

Because he is being tried in a Crown Court and not a County Court.
if I attempt to evict now, I am advised that the judge will postpone until Crown Court proceedings are completed.
This has been going on since January, sentencing is in September.
His legal team are awaiting for me to cock up the process, so that they can claim for unlawful eviction. (£40k + for damages is the going rate), So I have been advised to wait until he is sentenced before issuing proceedings.

The whole eviction process is pathetic and a national disgrace.
There should be a case for 'Abandonment' causes tenancy lapse, but it currently doesn't exist.

As for the Police, well they can't advise you of anything, because they will not take the rap when it blows up in your face.

Issue a section 8 and Section 21 and start the process right away, hopefully you won't need to escalate, but if you do, by the time you could get a court date the section 21 may be valid and you can do it by post.
You could also offer him say £50 towards his "Moving Expenses", but make sure he surrenders his tenancy with a signature and the payment is supported in its text.
(Yep I know, it's not very ethical, but this is the real World of being a landlord)

Dr Monty Drawbridge

10:53 AM, 3rd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Notice to end the tenancy is *not* needed from both parties. In the periodic term valid notice to end the tenancy can be served by any one of the joint tenants and it is binding on all other tenants.

Surrendering the tenancy early, however, does require agreement from all parties.

Hence my suggestion that as a first step, the OP ask for proper notice from the female tenant. OP could serve notice themselves but it would be twice as long as it would if served by T.

Tony McVey

13:46 PM, 5th September 2015
About 3 years ago

I am surprised at Monty Drawbridge's last comment. Surely a periodic tenancy
continues on the same terms as its written predecessor? What is the statutory
authority for saying that only one tenant need give notice?

Dr Monty Drawbridge

14:53 PM, 5th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony McVey" at "05/09/2015 - 13:46":

In a joint AST, the tenant is treated as a single entity or party.

The AST carries on much the same except that it is periodic and can be ended with one period of notice (by the tenant, if statutory periodic). That in itself is the key difference since neither party has a right to end a tenancy during the initial fixed term - the predecessor as you call it - unless it includes a pre agreed break clause. Becuase there is no mechanism available to the tenant to end it during the fixed term, all signatories would have to enter into a second agreement to end it.

In fact - very relevant to this case is this example on landlordblog.co.uk http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2011/04/11/tenants-legal-help-five-things-about-joint-tenants/ :

"This is part of the ‘all tenants are one’ rule, so if one tenant gives notice it affects all of the other tenants. Note that this can only be done after the fixed term has ended, as a Notice to Quit will not end the fixed term.

Local Authorities often use this as a way to get a violent partner out of their council house, after the other partner has left – the wife (it is generally the wife) will give a notice to quit, which will end the tenancy for both parties, allowing the LA to evict the remaining partner. "

It is not fail safe. This should work as he is not currently at the property and she can give vacant possession when the notice expires. If he were to move back in before the notice expired and then refuse to move out, it is not so easy.

If you Google "ending joint tenancy" there is plenty of info available.

And it's *Dr* Monty Drawbridge, thank you! 😉

Tony McVey

21:07 PM, 5th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Not convinced. Is there any case law or statutory authority for this?

Dr Monty Drawbridge

10:05 AM, 6th September 2015
About 3 years ago

House of Lords (Hammersmith & Fulham vs Monk, 1992)

"A periodic joint tenancy is determinable by a notice given by one of the joint tenants even if this was against the other's wishes. The continuance of a joint tenancy requires the will of all the joint tenants to take it from period to period."

Will that do, Tony?

Harlequin Garden

11:26 AM, 6th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Thanks to everyone who commented. I have received notice from the remaining tenant, I am not expecting an issue but it's always good to be covered, I would imagine that as the 2nd tenant is now in contact with all sorts of 'professional bodies' he will be fed all sorts of information on his rights.

Tony McVey

14:08 PM, 10th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Monty. Many thanks. Presumably, the remaining tenant becomes a trespasser,
though obviously not a squatter. He would not be liable to pay rent although
payment could be received as mesne profits. Any thoughts on this?


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