One tenant wants to leave my HMO

by Readers Question

14:55 PM, 31st March 2016
About 3 years ago

One tenant wants to leave my HMO

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One tenant wants to leave my HMO

I am seeking advice on what happens when a tenant decides to leave a property (HMO) when the remaining 3 tenants decide to stay on. exit

There is no other tenant moving in, but the tenant moving out would like to be removed from the tenancy agreement. I have heard of a ‘Deed of Surrender’ and believe that when this situation arises a new Short Assured Tenancy Agreement should be put in place.

Or should they remain on the contract until it is terminated by all parties??

What would the legal position be if this was the case.

Many thanks Sharon



Comments

Robert Mellors

8:56 AM, 1st April 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Sharon

This depends on whether you have let the property to four tenants on a joint AST, or whether you have issued them with separate ASTs (e.g. a tenancy for their own room, plus shared use of communal areas).

If they are all on a single joint tenancy naming all four tenants, then the person who is leaving gives notice to end the tenancy and the tenancy for all four of them comes to an end. You then have the choice whether to issue a new AST to the three people who wish to remain, at whatever revised terms you wish.

Bear in mind though, that in the joint tenancy situation, they are all presumably equally liable for the utility bills, council tax, etc, so all of that would also need to be changed over, and the remaining tenants may not be too happy if bills come in later for the period when the fourth person was a tenant, but they now have no way of collecting the money due from him for his share of the bills.

A lot of it depends on the wording of your AST and what the agreements are between yourself as the landlord, and the tenants, and indeed what the tenants have agreed between themselves (re' bills etc).

It may be that the three remaining tenants are not happy having to pay extra rent and utility bill costs (i.e. the amount that the fourth person would have paid), and are simply expecting to remain in the property at the same cost (and thus the landlord has to cover that lost rent and amount for utility bills). Often, tenants do not fully realise the implications of the situation when one joint tenant decides to leave.

Sharon Trotter

14:16 PM, 1st April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "01/04/2016 - 08:56":

Hi Robert, they are all on a single joint tenancy. Fortunately they have been able to sort out the bills without difficulty and they are content to continue in the property with one tenant less. From what you state the tenant's written request for terminating is sufficient to end the AST and there is no requirement for a Deed of Surrender??
Your comments are very helpful.

Robert Mellors

22:26 PM, 2nd April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sharon Trotter" at "01/04/2016 - 14:16":

Hi Sharon

It all depends on what the wording is in your tenancy agreement, but generally there is usually something about what the tenant needs to do in order to bring the tenancy agreement to an end. In most ASTs this is by the tenant serving one months written notice (but it is possible that you may have agreed something else). If the AST says that the AST can be brought to an end by the tenant serving one months written notice, then if ANY of the joint tenants has done this, then I believe that at the expiry of that notice term the tenancy ceases to exist, i.e. it has been lawfully ended. As a joint tenancy, if it ends for one person it has to end for all the other joint tenants. Therefore, if you then wish to let the property to the three people who wish to remain tenants, then you will need to issue them with a new joint tenancy (and comply with all the recently added regulations now in force for new tenancies).

The Deed of Surrender is for when the tenant wants to end the tenancy without giving the contractual notice, AND the landlord wishes to accept the early ending of the tenant's rental liabilities, i.e. the landlord is happy to end the tenancy before contractually required to do so. I'm not certain, but from your description, I don't think this situation applies, (as it appears that the departing tenant has given you the contractually required notice).

Sharon Trotter

19:58 PM, 5th April 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "02/04/2016 - 22:26":

Hi Robert,

That is the case, the tenant has given the correct notice. Thank you for the clarification. I was just concerned it would create problems if I did't complete a Deed of Surrender.

Sharon


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