Joint tenancy - housemate refuses to let me leave

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    Joint tenancy - housemate refuses to let me leave

    I am hoping someone can please help me as I am at my wits end.

    I am in a joint tenancy with two other housemates. Our fixed term contract ends end of Sept. I am leaving to move in with my partner - we have already paid a deposit for a new place and move in in three weeks.

    My fellow tenants have been aware I am leaving for months. One of them, C, is adamant he wants my bedroom. After much tooing and froing, he suggested that instead of me finding a replacement tenant, he takes liability to cover his own rent and my rent until he finds someone else, allowing me to leave.
    ​​​​​​
    This suggestion has been approved by the landlord, myself, the other tenant, and the letting agent. Now that the letting agent has asked us all to confirm to move this process ahead, C is all of the sudden stalling. I think to try to find someone before he signs up to this agreement. The landlord has given him a deadline to respond and has said we will move forward with another tenant to replace me if he doesn't give an answer.

    I am worried that if we do, he will refuse to sign the contract. He is ignoring all my attempts at communication, and I have bent over backwards to accommodate him. He is aware I need this to be resolved urgently. My other housemate and my landlord are sympathetic but there's only so much they can do.

    What can I do if he refuses to sign? I am not sure if he's being deliberately malicious but I am getting that feeling due to the non-communication and complete disregard for the difficult position he's putting me in. The letting agent is trying to help but has effectively said that he MUST sign for this to be an option.

    I feel like this person has a recourse to bully me into remaining financially tied to a tenancy I don't live in. The rent amounts to over £8,000 a year. If he refuses to sign for a replacement tenant there is no way I can get out before he does and thus it may cost me a lot of money. I am also aware that the replacement tenant I have on standby may very well find another tenancy soon if this doesn't move ahead and he gets a definitive answer, which will also hurt me, not C.

    Surely I must be able to defend myself against this somehow? I have done everything that can be asked of me from a letting agent/landlord POV
    PLEASE help me. I am so stressed about this I am having trouble sleeping and eating and I feel like I am absolutely trapped.

    #2
    Just pay your rent until end of fixed term, even if not living there and your fears will go away.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by mariner View Post
      Just pay your rent until end of fixed term, even if not living there and your fears will go away.
      Or you might need to pay for an extra month beyond that too if you are careful to give proper notice to leave a month after and of tenancy.

      We presume this is a joint tenancy in that you all signed the same tenancy agreement on the same bit of paper for the same property. If that is the case, neither you nor your landlord nor the agent know what they are doing. You need to go to basics and understand the fundamentals of this tenancy agreement and what it means. The flatmates do not have to accept a replacement, nor is it anything at all to do with the landlord.

      Comment


        #4
        If you are in a joint tenancy, you are bound by it until it ends.
        That's simply a function of that type of contract (it's nothing to do with the agent, landlord or your co-tenants).

        Unfortunately, you can't even serve notice until the contract's fixed term ends, which is sometime in September, and then (unless the contract is unusual - you'll have to read it to be sure), your notice will have to be a minimum of a month, and end at the end of a tenancy period.
        Which is likely to be sometime in November.

        There is nothing you can do about that, other than your agent, landlord or C doing something they don't have to.

        One avenue to explore may be that you're probably living in an HMO (albeit one that probably doesn't need a licence).
        Are all the HMO regulations being followed?
        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


          #5
          The term "replacement tenant" is probably part of the confusion. It is likely that there is only one tenant here, the whole group of people.

          In that case, if they don't all agree to renew, the tenancy will lapse into some form of periodic tenancy, and, at least for the most common case, any of the people can terminate that, with sufficient notice, on their own. If that is the case, you have the power.

          This whole replacement tenant thing is generally considered legally unsafe, and the preferred solution is to surrender the whole tenancy are start a new one with the remaining people.

          We would have to see the clauses in your agreement about replacements, but they may well not be enforceable.

          Comment


            #6
            Assuming that the agreement is for a fixed term and does not provide for it to continue periodically after the initial term, the following may be of benefit:

            There is a view (not tested in court) by a minority of contributors here that you can exit the tenancy at the end of the fixed term without the agreement of the other occupiers.

            Whilst it is true that you cannot give notice during the fixed term to end the tenancy (a quirk of the law), you can give notice to the agent that you do not agree to be bound to a tenancy at the property beyond the end of the agreed term, that you will be vacating on or before the last day of the term, and therefore in accordance with Section 5 paragraph (2) of the Housing Act 1988 no statutory periodic tenancy will arise.

            You then leave and stop paying rent.

            One month notice should suffice, but a notice clause in the agreement may change that.

            Alternatively (assuming rent is paid monthly) you:
            1. do not sign any new tenancy agreement nor agree orally to a new tenancy.
            2. no earlier than the second day after the fixed term ends you give at least 1 month's written notice to end the tenancy two months after the last day of the fixed term. Valid notice from one tenant ends the tenancy.
            3. Pay rent until the end of the notice period (i.e 2 months after September)

            Comment

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