Tenants divorcing/separating

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    Tenants divorcing/separating

    Hi

    I’ve just had a text off one of my tenants. Sadly he and his wife are separating. She is staying in the property with the kids he is moving out. I need to change the tenancy agreement. It’s now a “rolling contract” having previously been a six month assured tenancy.

    How do I go about this? I don’t want to use the same agent who set up the original tenancy. I guess it’s ok to just ask another agent to amend the existing tenancy? Is that the right way to go about it and who bears the cost?

    Never had this before so any advice most welcome.

    Cheers

    #2
    Just to add that the wife only works part-time so she’s unlikely to pass the usual credit checks etc (if it was a new tenancy she wouldn’t be able to prove she could afford it)

    Comment


      #3
      Why do you need to change it?

      Comment


        #4
        1. Arrange for departing tenant to surrender the tenancy
        2. Start a new tenancy with the new (remaining) tenant
        A good agent will know exactly what to do so no need to worry about the detail

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          #5
          Second leaseholder64, why do you need to change the tenancy?

          Comment


            #6
            I need to chance the tenancy because it has both their names on it and he will not be living there.

            Thanks Cymro. Will they need to redo the credit checks etc? As I doubt she’ll pass. She may need a guarantor I suspect. Presumably the cost is theirs as they have requested the change?

            Comment


              #7
              It's a strange tenancy that is conditional on both tenants actually living there.

              Credit checking is something you decide on, unless it is condition of your mortgage or insurance.

              Comment


                #8
                leaseholder - surely if they are both on the tenancy they both have the right to come and go as they please, and both have equal responsibility to pay the rent. As they are separating he won’t have equal right to come and go as he pleases and won’t have equal responsibility to pay the rent. That my understanding anyway. (Plus they’ve both asked for the change).

                Comment


                  #9
                  You are not stopping him coming or going, and the main reason you shouldn't change the tenancy is that he is still responsible for paying the rent.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Yes agree with leaseholder 64. Why change the tenancy when they are both liable. If the lady on her own will not pass the credit checks why would you accept her as a lone tenant?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks for the feedback but I’m confused - I can’t compel someone to remain on the lease; they aren’t tied into a fixed term tenancy they are on a rolling contract, he is moving out, he is not going to be paying rent there (not directly anyway) and they both want his name removed from the lease.

                      I agree with the points about her not passing credit checks and I have to think about how to proceed there.

                      I don’t want to evict purely on the grounds of divorce, which would breach the Equality Act (marital status being a protected characteristic). In terms of her income going forward it’s an unknown at this point - as she may get maintenance/child support from her ex, universal credit to allow her to continue to pay the rent etc

                      So far they have been excellent tenants, so I’m leaning towards following Cymro’s advice plus asking for a guarantor if needed.



                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Shaunagus View Post
                        Thanks for the feedback but I’m confused - I can’t compel someone to remain on the lease; they aren’t tied into a fixed term tenancy they are on a rolling contract, he is moving out, he is not going to be paying rent there (not directly anyway) and they both want his name removed from the lease.
                        Of course you can compel someone to stay on the lease.
                        In fact, you can't end the lease without a court order.

                        The tenant leaving needs to give you notice which ends the tenancy for both of them.
                        They then both have to move out unless you agree otherwise.

                        I agree with the points about her not passing credit checks and I have to think about how to proceed there
                        You can't afford to have a tenant living in your property who can't afford the rent.
                        People who don't pass credit checks don't get properties rented to them because you are a landlord not a charity.

                        I don’t want to evict purely on the grounds of divorce, which would breach the Equality Act (marital status being a protected characteristic). In terms of her income going forward it’s an unknown at this point - as she may get maintenance/child support from her ex, universal credit to allow her to continue to pay the rent etc
                        The Equality Act characteristic doesn't apply to someone who isn't married and you are not discriminating against them on the basis of being married.
                        It's also completely irrelevant because you can't evict on the grounds of divorce.





                        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


                          #13
                          Just to update;

                          Based on the advice here, I discussed the fact with the wife that they’d need to officially surrender the tenancy formally if he wanted to come off it and she would need to take out a new tenancy along with guarantor. I gave them the option to just carry ok with the existing tenancy agreement as it is and not take his name off.

                          She discussed it with him and they agreed the latter. She also asked if she could split this months rent (pay half on due date, half two weeks later, resume normal payments the following month).

                          She then followed all this up confirming keeping the tenancy as is, plus rent payment schedule, via email and cc’d her ex into the email.

                          She (they) are a day late on the rent so will wait until Monday and chase. I also just realised I now no longer know his address.

                          So just to check its ok for me to know he doesn’t live there but be on the tenancy? Seems strange to me.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            You have his email address so can contact him if you need to. If you need to sue for rent arrears then faced with either paying them all herself or giving you his address, the wife will probably tell you where he lives.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Be prepared for their separation to become acrimonious. Then he will HAVE to come off the tenancy to allow her to deny him entry.

                              That is the usual reason for new tenancies to be arranged after a couple splits.

                              You may have to just bite the bullet and issue a s21, especially if she is late with the rent.

                              Comment

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