What paperwork do I need if joint tenants break-up?

What paperwork do I need if joint tenants break-up?

by Readers Question

Guest Author

14:16 PM, 6th March 2018, About 6 years ago 8

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My property is occupied by joint tenants who are about to break-up after 11 months of a 12 month AST agreement.

When visiting two weeks ago, one of the tenants told me that his partner had moved out and that he may want to leave if he and she decided that their differences were irreconcilable. Today, I received an email from him confirming the break-up and giving two months’ notice.

I have yet to contact his partner, but have no reason to think that what I have been told is untrue.

I would like to know what paperwork I should serve, if any, to acknowledge receipt of the notice, how it should be served, whether both tenants have to sign together and whether this can be done by email.

I am not anticipating a problem, but want to make sure that everything is done correctly before I advertise for a new tenant.

Many thanks


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Neil Patterson

14:32 PM, 6th March 2018, About 6 years ago

Also see:

Tenant gives notice by text and then changed their mind? >> https://www.property118.com/tenant-gives-notice-text-changed-mind/

Legislation.Gov >> http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1977/43/section/5

"Validity of notices to quit.

(1)[F1Subject to subsection (1B) below] no notice by a landlord or a tenant to quit any premises let (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) as a dwelling shall be valid unless—

(a)it is in writing and contains such information as may be prescribed, and

(b)it is given not less than 4 weeks before the date on which it is to take effect."

Michael Barnes

17:03 PM, 7th March 2018, About 6 years ago

There are further complications if the tenancy is to become a Statutory Periodic tenancy, because that is a new tenancy; no problem if it is a contractual periodic tenancy.

This is because a notice to quit by the tenant issued before the tenancy starts cannot be enforced by the courts (section 5 (5) Housing Act 1988).

Michael Barnes

23:29 PM, 7th March 2018, About 6 years ago

If it is to become a statutory periodic tenancy, then I would be inclined to do the following:
1. Tell the tenant that you are willing to accept notice on the date he has given, but for legal reasons you need him to provide notice again on the SECOND day of the periodic tenancy (because HA 1988 S5(5) also says notice given on the first day of the tenancy also has no legal weight), and that must be printed, signed and dated.
2. if possible, get the partner to provide notice in the same manner (explain to her that until the tenancy is properly ended, she is still liable for rent if her ex partner fails to pay).
3. write and email to the tenants stating that you accept their notice ending the tenancy on &ltdate&gt .
The reason for 3 is that a statutory periodic tenancy can only be ended by the tenant without the agreement of the landlord by giving at least 1 month notice ending on the last day of a rental period or the first day of the next rental period; that is clearly not possible for ending at the end of the first month when notice cannot be given until the second day of the tenancy. However, if the landlord accepts the tenant's proposal, then any notice given by the tenant is legally binding.
The reason for 2 is that whilst it is the law that notice properly given by one of joint tenants ends the tenancy for all joint tenants, it is not clear (at least to me) if one tenant gives notice that is not in accordance with statute and the landlord accepts, then the notice ends the tenancy for all tenants.
By getting all tenants to give notice you are avoiding the possibility that the tenancy has not been ended in the eyes of the law.
ALWAYS write and email to the tenants stating that you have received and accepted their notice to end the tenancy, and advise them that if they fail to vacate by the date greed, then they are liable to double rent under the Distress for Rent Act.


7:56 AM, 10th March 2018, About 6 years ago

Not sure what the problem is here, does your agreement not say that if one gives notice then it applies to all? If she wants to stay then you need to issue a new tenancy dating from the end of the notice period. You should also use the intervening period to do full credit checks on her alone.

Michael Barnes

14:40 PM, 10th March 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 10/03/2018 - 07:56
Not an issue if tenancy is to become contractual periodic, and would not be an issue if already periodic; otherwise part of the issue, as I see it, is that notice is being given to end a statutory periodic tenancy that has not yet started.
No problem if both tenants have no intention of holding over after the notice expires.
However, such a notice cannot be enforced in the courts, and the absent tenant could be able to issue a successful claim for illegal eviction.
Hence I would advise treading carefully in this situation.

Michael Barnes

15:03 PM, 10th March 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 06/03/2018 - 14:32
Your extract from the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 does not give the full story for validity.
There is also the common law position that notice shall be not less than one rental period and shall end on the first or last day of a rental period.


13:58 PM, 11th March 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 10/03/2018 - 14:40
True, I assumed it was six months, but could be twelve

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