Joint tenants breaking up – New AST?

by Readers Question

6 months ago

Joint tenants breaking up – New AST?

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Joint tenants breaking up – New AST?

I have a couple on an AST. They have split up. One wants to remain in the property and move a friend in to take her place.

I am assuming that I will have to conclude one tenancy and start a new one.

Can anyone confirm this for me? Also can anyone recommend where to download a good AST agreement.

Many thanks

Andy

Editors Note:

Please see Tessa Shepperson’s series of articles and in particular

Tenancy Agreements and how to get them right



Comments

Neil Patterson

6 months ago

Hi Andy,

Yes you will need a new AST and I recommend you read the above linked article and the series that goes with it 🙂

You can then obtain any legal documents you require from Landlord Law 🙂

Gary Nock

6 months ago

Hi Andy,
Neil is right. A brand new tenancy.

As much as it is a lot of work with tenancy agreements, deposit protection, inventory, Right To Rent check, How to Rent Booklet, EPC, Gas Cert - it is best to avoid any potential issues with non-payment of rent and court proceedings if the worst come to the worst.

Paul Shears

6 months ago

I have been doing this via a joint and severally liable contract for over eight years.
I have not had a night's void in that time.
However be very careful about who you let move in.
You can always use failed tenant reference as an excuse for declining the tenant if you think there is a risk.
Also, despite my own success, please bare in mind that there are a huge number of potential tenants for whom the normal affairs of everyday life are quite beyond them. So use your own questionnaire before putting the new tenant through a formal referencing scheme and make an intelligent judgement on the response that you receive. If it takes over two weeks to answer your initial questions or, for example, they can't provide a couple of months payslips, then assume the worst. A brief formal chat, even over the phone, with the proposed tenant can eliminate a lot of pain later.

Mandy Thomson

6 months ago

I agree with Paul - do NOT draw up a new AST or assign (see the end of my comment) the new prospective tenant as a replacement for the tenant who has moved out until you have thoroughly referenced and checked the incoming occupant.
Until you are sure of the replacement tenant, the tenant who has moved out is still liable to you for rent payments, unless you offer a surrender. Another alternative is for that tenant to serve you proper valid notice (as stipulated in the AST) which on expiry would end the tenancy for both himself and his former girlfriend.
Provided you are careful to only demand occupation charges and not rent (in writing) from the tenant should she remain after the notice expires, you can apply for possession on the strength of the other tenant's notice - see http://www.landlordsguild.com/deeds-guarantors-witness-signatures-notice-to-quit-possession-and-double-rent/
If the incoming person checks out ok, to save a little work but more importantly, NOT to grant a further 6 month fixed term (in case it doesn't work out), as it's a straight swap and you would still have 2 joint tenants, you might want to consider assigning the new tenant instead.
A simple form is available from the NLA (you need to become a member or purchase it). Everyone (the outgoing tenant, the new tenant, the remaining tenant and the landlords) signs the form with a witness. All you need do is conduct right to rent (this must be done even if the new person simply moves in as a lodger or permitted occupier) and inform the deposit scheme and re-serve the prescribed information. Note: you should only do an assignment of tenancy ONCE.

Cathie Hawkins

6 months ago

I asked the NLA for advice in a similar situation. They told me not to change the tenancy. Good thing, as they have swapped over twice who is to stay in the property with the children and I still don't think either can afford it by themselves. The 'new' tenant seems to have disappeared from the scene. At least I am not stuck for 6 months before being able to take action if need be. Atm only 3 weeks in arrears. Fingers crossed.

Rob Crawford

6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by at 02/01/2018 - 21:50
It is so important that when talking to the NLA advice line that you are aware that the advisor one talks to is not legally qualified!


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