Tenant not signed 12 month joint contract now says leaving after 6 months

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    Tenant not signed 12 month joint contract now says leaving after 6 months

    I would like to know what our legal position is. We let our flat to a group of 4 students in September. One of them has not signed the contract and is now saying that they are moving out in March. What can we do if she leaves and doesn't pay? They are due to pay 6 months rent upfront in March. Are the rest of them liable?

    #2
    Did the contract specify how many tenants there would be ? Was the contract drafted and signed for a group of 4 or as individuals ?
    In my opinion of it was for four then the other 3 should make up the difference and get it back from the other one. However, if they were individual it's up to you. It is possible to have a verbal contract.

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      #3
      It was drafted for 4 as a joint tenancy. One tenant hasn't signed and now she says she's leaving.

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        #4
        Rule one - no one moves in until they all sign.
        Anyway.

        It doesn't (fundamentally) matter that she hasn't signed the contract, they've obviously agreed to it by living there and paying rent.
        No one can give notice in a joint contract in the fixed term, so I'd just point out to the person who's leaving that all that means is that her flatmates will have to pay 1/3 more rent each, and she'll still be a tenant.
        All of the occupants are all liable to pay all of the rent (even though they probably pay their own share in reality)

        And that it makes no difference in reality if she signed the contract or not.

        If she has a guarantor, advise them that there is possibly going to be a default.

        And see what happens.

        The issue you will find if everything goes legal is that it's possible that she's not on the joint contract, but a separate verbal agreement, so you would want to find anything you can (outside the tenancy agreement) where it's clear she agreed to the joint tenancy.

        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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          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          The issue you will find if everything goes legal is that it's possible that she's not on the joint contract, but a separate verbal agreement, so you would want to find anything you can (outside the tenancy agreement) where it's clear she agreed to the joint tenancy.
          If you gave her a copy of the contract and she moved in and paid rent, then it is likely that that constitutes offer and acceptance of the terms of the contract, unless there is something in the contract that says it is not valid until signed.

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            #6
            Originally posted by MdeB View Post
            If you gave her a copy of the contract and she moved in and paid rent, then it is likely that that constitutes offer and acceptance of the terms of the contract, unless there is something in the contract that says it is not valid until signed.
            I agree. Of course if the contract says that it is not valid at all.

            If the contract does not say that and she never saw it there is an argument that she is not bound by it - and once again the whole thing collapses because the other three signed on the basis that there would be four tenants.

            Whatever the position, you are still faced with a problem because you have to argue (and possibly successfully persuade a judge) that the tenant not signing does not mean she is not bound. You are also going to have problems extracting any extra cash from the other 3 tenants.

            It is important to follow correct procedures in case things go wrong.

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