Problems with co-tenant and landlord

by Readers Question

19:27 PM, 21st November 2016
About 2 years ago

Problems with co-tenant and landlord

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Problems with co-tenant and landlord

My case is complicated.

On April 4th signed a group lease with 5 people ( including myself ) that was going from May 1st 2016 to May 1st 2017

Later on the April 19th one of our co-tenants sexually assaulted my girlfriend while he was on drugs. We called the Police on the night of the event and now the case is open and the Crown have agreed to start a trial against that person. Problems with co-tenant and landlord

The problem is that when we took the house we all agreed to take possession on May 1st. The guy that assaulted my here never actually moved into his room or paid his share of the rent. Later me and my girlfriend decided to move out as well because she wasn’t feeling safe that he knew our address. We found 2 people to replace us and everything went fine.

Now that we’re out of the lease the landlord won’t refund my deposit because the guy that never came never paid his share of the rent and never tried to find a roommate.

My question is  could I sue my landlord or my co-tenant in the Small Claims Court to have my deposit back?

Thanks

Phillipe



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:02 AM, 22nd November 2016
About 2 years ago

Dear Phillipe

I am very sorry to read about the ordeal that you and your girlfriend are still having to contend with. I suggest you speak to the Police about victim compensation with regards to losing your deposit.

I doubt the landlord has done anything wrong. Presumably you signed as joint and several tenants? Your landlord didn't receive all of the rent so he/she is perfectly entitled to hold one or more of the rest of you accountable. Technically, your landlord might still be accountable to hold you responsible for any lost rent until your contract expires.

Was the drug using person who assaulted your girlfriend a friend of yours?

I wish you luck with your case and choosing better people to share a home with in the future.
.

Audrey Wright

23:45 PM, 22nd November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hello Phillipe, you have my sympathy for what your girlfriend (and you) endured. All the more reason to research your roommates even better than your landlord. One takes your rent, the other one shares your bathroom.

Unfortunately, as bad an experience as you had in the property, none of it is actually the landlord's fault.

You probably signed a joint tenancy between the 5 of you. That means the landlord will hold everybody accountable for damage or lost rent to the property.

As the landlord has your deposits, he is entitled to discount from them the full amount of rent lost due to "the guy". However, to be fair, he must take an equal bit out of each tenant's deposit.

I doubt it that the rent payment is so big that it swallows all 4 deposits, so you may have a leg to stand on in the negotiation. Check how your deposit is protected and contact the according scheme for help and advice.

If your deposit is not properly protected, you have all the leverage you need to demand your full deposit back from the landlord.

Finally, as the court is prosecuting "the guy" you should request compensation for the physical assault, mental stress AND financial loss due to the tenant not fulfilling their contractual obligations to your shared landlord.

If you can't have that all in one case, you may file a separate claim in the county court as Mark suggested.

If you're unsure about deposit protection, you may check out these links:

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/deposit-protection-schemes/
http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/deposit-disputes-3/

Mark Alexander

0:34 AM, 23rd November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Audrey Wright" at "22/11/2016 - 23:45":

Joint and several does not have to be equal. Other than that I concur with your advice.
.

Michael Holmes

20:53 PM, 26th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Hello Audrey,

This is always the problem with joint tenancies, you would be wise to only sign up to house lets that the landlord lets out with individual tenancy agreements. Then, if one or two of the other tenants bail or are unsuitable for one reason or another, you have the relief of knowing that it is the landlord's responsibility to find replacements or in extremis you can break your tenancy agreement on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour of the other tenants. It would be a peculiar Landlord who would insist on holding you to the letter of the agreement under the circumstances you outline.


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