One tenant moved out during fixed term - what are my options

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    One tenant moved out during fixed term - what are my options

    Hi all,

    I am currently in a situation I did not find myself in before and would appreciate any help I can get.
    I have a joint tenancy agreement with several other flatmates (all of us are listed on the contract). We are in the fixed term but we are past our break out clause date.
    One of the tenants has decided to leave the property and he moved abroad. He had served the notice to the landlord that he is leaving but the landlord still requires the rent to be paid in full and is not willing to offer any rent reduction. This tenant is currently unresponsive.

    Due to the current covid situation my remaining flatmates and myself can not find a suitable replacement tenant (our rent is slightly higher than similar other properties in the same neighbourhood as the house is newly remodelled and has nicer amenities).

    I know that one option is that we all leave, but I am not sure that my other flatmates would agree to that. I've suggested to my flatmates that we split the remaining portion of the rent amongst ourselves until the end of the fixed term (to avoid any legal actions) but they refused. What other options do I have? What could happen if we all keep paying only our share of the rent to the landlord? I can not afford to pay rent for two rooms and I don't want to end up in the court either.

    Many thanks in advance.

    #2
    If you're all on the tenancy agreement and one person doesn't pay, then the remaining tenants are more than likely, to be responsible for paying the shortfall. Does it say 'jointly and severally' on your tenancy agreement?

    Does it say anything in your tenancy agreement about what happens if one person leaves? e.g. the leaver will be responsible for paying his part of the rent until another tenant can be found?
    Do you know exactly what the tenant who left said to the landlord?

    The landlord could make a money claim (MCOL) against all of you and if so you all might end up with a county court judgment (ccj)

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      #3
      If the person who has left has moved abroad, it's unlikely that there's any realistic chance of taking legal action to recover the situation.

      It's interesting that the flatmates don't want to pay the additional rent until the end of the fixed term, because they, realistically,. don't have any choice.
      In a joint tenancy, each one of you is liable for all of the rent, so the landlord can sue all of you or any of you for any shortfall.
      And he can't chase the person who's no longer in the UK.

      And you don't have the option to leave before the end of the fixed term without the landlord's agreement.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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