Rent issues in student rental agreement?

Rent issues in student rental agreement?

9:00 AM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago 18

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Hi, hopefully Property118 readers can provide some advice.

My daughter is a tenant (of 4) in a student rental where one of the students has not paid any of their rent (now 7 months into a 12 month agreement). The tenant in question told the other flatmates and the agent that she had paid in advance (she signed the 12 month tenancy agreement as did the other flatmates).

The tenant never moved in even though she said she would be moving in a number of times. The tenant never paid anything in advance. The agent only notified the other tenants 6 months after the tenancy started that this tenant had not paid – we believe that the other tenants were not notified until 6 months due to 2 of the tenants paying the full year in advance, which the agent used to cover that fact that one tenant had not paid their rent.

The agent has basically said they have tried to get the tenant to pay but can’t and therefore the other tenants are liable as they are joint and severally liable. The agent has said that they “missed” the fact that the tenant had not paid in advance at the start of the lease because of the large payments (ie. the advance payments of the other tenants). The agent’s approach is there is effectively one tenant. The agent has not notified the landlord.

What are the obligations of the agent to notify the other tenants if one tenant has not, or is not, paying the rent? The agent was chasing the tenant for payment so they knew she had not paid.

Is the agent allowed to use rent in advance from one or more tenants to cover the rent not paid by one of the other tenants? The agent has said they can do this.

Where is the enforcement of the signature on the tenancy agreement made?

Thanks in advance for any advice,

A


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Comments

Graham Bowcock

9:50 AM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

If there is a single tenancy agreement then all tenants are "jointly and severally liable", as the agent has said to you. This means that the landlord can pursue any of the tenants, or their guarantors.

The agent has no particular obligation to notify tenants that rent is due; it is up to the tenants to know what has been paid. It's odd that the matter was not picked up earlier - not a great advert for the agent - but their lack of contact is no defence.

The agent will not necessarily apportion rent paid by individual tenants to that tenant's account. The rent will be for the property.

I'm not sure I understand your last question about enforcement.

Judith Wordsworth

10:05 AM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Does the Tenancy Agreement state “jointly and severally” or does your daughter’s TA state an AST for her bedroom and a Licence for the common areas?

This then governs who is contacted re non payment of rent, and utility bills.

I’ve never known any student letting agent not get guarantors for student tenants.

The agent cannot use monies paid by other students to pay the loss. Check your daughters rent and deposit receipt.

The letting agent has been negligent.

Get your daughter to involve her Student Union, they may have a pro bono deal with a local solicitor

NewYorkie

10:49 AM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

An unfortunate situation, but a graphic lesson in the need for financial education at school.

I recently observed my partner's son who really didn't know what he was doing when he took on his first shared student house, which was a joint and several AST. Mum had to do everything... maybe it would have been a better learning experience if she hadn't! He's now moved back home and one of his friends is a 'lodger'.

I suspect the AST is joint and several, and the rent is in arrears and must be paid. However, I must assume the student in question received a grant to cover their rent and/or a parent acted as guarantor.

The other tenants must insist the rent is paid to ensure they can obtain student accommodation next year.

Graham Bowcock

11:05 AM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 15/05/2024 - 10:05
Judith

If the tenants are jointly and severally liable, then the landlord can use rent received from any of the tenants to cover the whole of the rent due, without allocation between them. The landlord may pursue any of the joint tenants (or their guarantors) for the entire rent due.

The letting agent has been careless, but I cannot see they have been legally negligent.

Unless, of couse, the actuall tenancy agreement says differently - having had three kids in uni I doubt it very much.

Yvonne Francis

11:15 AM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 15/05/2024 - 10:05
I'm afraid Judith the agent can use money paid by others to cover another's rent in a jointly and severally liable lease. It's treated as one pool of money regardless of who pays. 
The three tenants paying should have made sure the forth one paid. If she didn't take up the place did not alarm bells ring? Any one of you, or all of you, will be liable for the short fall. 

Simon F

12:29 PM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

I would advise working towards claiming the money from the absent tenant and their guarantor through Money Claim Online (MCOL) for 1/4 of all rent paid upto to date of the claim. MCOL is easy to use and found online.

You will need the write to them first, giving them at least a couple of weeks to fix the situation, and let them know that if unresolved you fully expect to initiate County Court proceedings that can result in a CCJ.

DAMIEN RAFFERTY

12:55 PM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Ask your daughter to speak to the University student accomadtion officer or Student accomadation office.
The last post had very good information on how your daughter and the other 2 paying tenants should approach this.
The " missing None paying tenant " signed a contract with the other 3 tenants did she not ?
She can't walk away and not pay the Landlord her rent because she can't be bothered moving in !
Did the agent get parent Guarantors?

Graham Bowcock

13:03 PM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by DAMIEN RAFFERTY at 15/05/2024 - 12:55
Unfortunately that would depend on the agreement between the tenants. The tenancy does not necessarily compel the joint tenants to have an obligation to each other; the obligation under the tenancy agreeement is to the landlord.

Whilst it is harsh that one individual is not paying, it is important to confirm that there was agreement for an equal share of rent and bills. It is unlikely there is any formal agreement between the tenants, but they must make sure that they keep all correspondence with the absent individual.

DAMIEN RAFFERTY

13:25 PM, 15th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Uni students sign a code of conduct and I would again ask the poster to speak to the University accomadation office for support and guidance on Rental matters.
Your daughter and the 2 other paying tenants need to remind the none paying tenant of her obligations under this joint and Several tenancy.
Alot depends on the AST contract, deed of Guarantor from parents

Paddy O'Dawes

9:00 AM, 16th May 2024, About 2 weeks ago

Slightly contractually different I expect but does this not reflect a discussion regarding a guarantor from a previous thread? Will length of time before declaring the loss to a guarantor act as a defence? Similarly in terms of informing the tenants who believed the rent was pre paid.

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