Tenant’s rights after second joint tenant moved out?

by Readers Question

10:00 AM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Tenant’s rights after second joint tenant moved out?

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Tenant’s rights after second joint tenant moved out?

Please shine some light on the following scenario: 2 strangers were renting out 2-bed flat on a joint AST at £1800 per month. The AST expired on 15 May 19 so my understanding is that it would then turn into the Statutory Periodic tenancy agreement.

Due to Covid-19 one of the tenants moved out on June 24th and the landlord returned both tenants the full deposit.

The remaining tenant was allowed by the landlord to pay half of the original rent (£900) in July 20, while the tenant was looking for a flatmate.

Finding a second tenant proved difficult – there was some interest on Spareroom and some viewings, but general feedback was that the rent is too high in the current climate. The landlord is not accepting that position and asking the remaining tenant to pay the full rent of £1800, which the remaining tenant started doing from August.

The current situation is that the remaining tenant would like to stay in the flat, but cannot afford to pay the full rent, only her portion of £900.

I have few questions:
– Has the AST actually ended? Bearing in mind that the full deposit was returned; one of the parties on the AST is no longer occupying the flat and no new agreement has been signed.?
– Can the landlord serve any notice to the remaining tenant and on what grounds? Bearing in mind that the rent is being paid, although the tenant communicated quite clearly in writing that she won’t be able to pay the full amount from September, but is happy to pay her share of rent?
– Is the remaining tenant responsible for the full rent of £1800, despite the fact that there is no formal current agreement between her and the landlord?
– What’s the best way forward in this impasse?

Many thanks

Dorothy


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Comments

paul kaye

10:33 AM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

ONE OUT ALL OUT IS NOW WELL ESTABLISHED ! In a joint tenancy the remaining have no right to stay and you will need to serve notice under section 8(1)
I can send you a scan from http://www.landlord if you send me your email
Paul

Sam Addison

11:39 AM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by paul kaye at 04/08/2020 - 10:33
But the landlord has accepted rent after one tenant moved out.Has this established a new tenancy by default?

Simon M

12:17 PM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

For joint tenancies most tenancy agreements require "joint and several liability" which means each tenant is individually liable for all obligations in the agreement, which includes full rent. Unless the landlord has agreed to continue to accept 50% of the rent in writing, the remaining rent is still owed.
If the rooms are unequal and the smaller room is being let, the rent should be split accordingly, and there might be more interest at a lower rent. If not, the remaining tenant could choose to stay by subsidising the other room.
The landlord has behaved reasonably in response to the virus, and I suggest the best course is to approach them quickly now to discuss what they want to do and to understand the choices.
If £900 is exceptionally high for the current local market, they should be prepared to accept less. If not, then it might be better to move out for a lower rent too.

Dorothy

15:29 PM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by paul kaye at 04/08/2020 - 10:33
Hi Paul - thank you very much!

My email address is chamerd@gmail.com
I am a friend of the person who is renting the flat, she is very worried that she will be either given 1 month notice, or forced to pay double rent which she cant afford.

Many thanks
Dorothy

Gunga Din

19:17 PM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Just for future reference, the landlord should ensure ASTs state the tenancy will roll over after the fixed term to a Contractual Periodic, not Statutory Periodic. One advantage is the LL should not be held liable for C Tax if a tenant leaves before notice period is expired, if indeed notice is given.

Nathan

20:45 PM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

@Gunga Din -
What are the main differences and advantages between a Contractual Periodic tenancy and a Statutory Periodic tenancy please?

As I understand the SP, it's a rollover month by month contract with tenant or LL having to provide a month's notice to vacate; thus meaning LL becomes liable for C.Tax after that months notice- correct?
How does the CP differ from that if you've not actually stipulated the new dates on a new contract?

Some extra info -
I always attempt to issue a new AST after the initial one expires because of the C.Tax liability issue, it also provides stability and assurance to the tenant and peace of mind to the LL. You can also update with any changes, I e. rent increase, new rules, legislation, etc.
However and rather unfortunately we had a tenant abscond from a property recently after having issued them a new fixed term AST. The Council (Durham!!!) chased me for the council tax and after many months of protest emails from me I had to go to the valuation tribunal for the appeal. I lost based solely on the fact that I could not locate and provide them with a copy of the signed agreement with the tenant's signature on, even though the rent payment received from the tenant had changed to reflect the new rent and the new AST.
I was surprised and annoyed by this decision.
Regards,

Gunga Din

21:10 PM, 4th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Hello Nathan,

I can see the advantages both ways, but all my ASTs have been allowed to go periodic, primarily because of the paperwork repetition of a new fixed term. I've never had (50+ tenancies) a tenant request a new AST as they are keen to retain mobility/flexibility (not far from you - H'pool). I believe the deposit has to be returned then re-deposited (so I'm told by DPS although never done it), new guarantor agreement, How-to-Rent etc. etc. Rather than try to list differences here's a summary:

http://www.fastevictionservice.com/blog/advantages-of-contractual-periodic-tenancies/

Specifically on the C Tax issue, here's a recent thread in case you missed it:

https://www.property118.com/very-weird-legal-letter-about-council-tax-arrears/comment-page-2/#comment-126744

Badger

11:29 AM, 8th August 2020
About 2 months ago

Writing into the AST that the tenancy will go CONTRACTUAL rather than merely leaving it to lapse without mention of what will happen when the fixed term comes to an end or into either a simple "periodic" or "statutory periodic" - the latter being assumed if no mention is made of the intended contractual nature of the continuation - is the only way to go.

I have locked horns with several letting agents on this and even moved my business to more enlightened agents when met with ignorance and intransigence on the part of the agent and / or their legal department (who really ought to know better!).

All councils will back down if you wave an AST with a contractual periodic clause in it under their nose. They know only too well that the courts ruled very clearly against them on this several years ago now.

Jessie Jones

22:03 PM, 9th August 2020
About 2 months ago

It sounds very much like a new tenancy has been created, albeit one without a signed written agreement. By returning the deposit, the Landlord has accepted that the original AST has come to an end, irrespective of whether is was now statutory or contractural. By accepting rent after the end of the end of the tenancy, a new tenancy has been entered into.
The sensible way forward is negotiation between both parties and put the agreement in writing.. It would do nobody any favours to take this to Court.


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