Joint tenancy - only one will pay arrears and the other won't

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    Joint tenancy - only one will pay arrears and the other won't

    Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?
    England

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only?
    Joint tenants (2)

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy?
    1/9/17 - left 19/6/18

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?
    6 months

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)?
    1st of the month

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)?
    1/9/17 and protected by the agency

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).
    n/a

    Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant?
    No

    Tenants owe us rent from 1/5-19/6 plus an amount for damages that wasn't covered by the deposit. They've moved out now and have also split up. We have threatened small claims court and the woman has offered to pay half the amount they owe for her part. He has told her he won't pay any of it and that she'll have to pay it all. I know legally she is jointly responsible for all the debt but I wondered if there was any way at all to separate it and for us to take him to court for the other half? I want to avoid taking her to court as she is repaying. It's just him that needs to be made to pay up.

    #2
    You can't split the debt.
    There's only one debt and they both owe it.

    Don't accept the offered payment from the woman (unless you think that's the best you can get). That would reduce the debt for both of them by half, but they'd both owe the half (which isn't good for the woman either).
    Tell the woman that you are going to sue them both, and to keep her half safe because she won't end up paying more than that.
    Make sure you have her offer to pay in writing.

    Send them both a letter before action for the full amount.

    Assuming they don't pay sue them.
    One of the joint tenants has admitted liability (which doesn't make it easy for any defence).
    More to the point, the chances of the husband turning up or winning are remote.

    You can tell the court that the only reason the case has been brought is the bloke's intransigence, the woman has been reasonable and helpful throughout. Ask the court to order that they pay half each with costs against the male partner (which the court can do but you can't).

    Accept the woman's money as settlement and pursue the husband to the point of a ccj.
    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).

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you. Would that course of action mean the woman wouldn't get a CCJ against her as she wants to avoid that (hence the co-operation). But she's repaying monthly and it'll take her until November to repay "her half". So should I wait until then as at that point she'll have settled?

      Comment


        #4
        There's nothing stopping you from just suing him for the debt. You are free to accept payment from her to reduce the debt, but you cannot accept payment from her in settlement of her liability. Doing so will release him from the debt as well. You can however accept payment from her on a new contract where the consideration from you is a covenant not to sue her for the remaining debt: Deanplan Ltd v Mahmoud & Anor [1992].
        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

        I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

        Comment

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