How to end a joint tenancy at the end of the fixed term contract

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    How to end a joint tenancy at the end of the fixed term contract

    Hello everyone,

    I've signed a fixed-term AST, it will end on 20th March 2020.
    Unfortunately, it's not clear to me what I should do in order to end the tenancy. I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions.

    First, I would like to provide some context:
    - There are 2 tenants
    - One tenant (me) want to leave, another tenant wants to stay after 20th March 2020

    I've done some research and I could find that there are 3 options, I'm not sure which option is correct:
    1) I just need to notify (via email) the landlord and say that I want to leave on 20th March,
    2) I should try to convince the landlord and another tenant to sign a new AST (or renewal of AST?)
    3) In a case when I want to leave but another tenant wants to stay I can't basically leave - I'm still liable for all the rents and bills, even after 20th
    What I should do in that case is:
    - wait till 20th March 2020
    - the fixed term AST becomes periodic (the current AST does not mention periodic tenancy but I've heard its a general rule for all of the AST-s)
    - from 21th I will be able to serve my notice to the landlord
    - wait 4 weeks, leave the property and then finally everything will be legally ended

    Do you know which option is correct? Could you please advise me what is the best option to end the tenancy nicely?

    Thank you very much for your replies

    #2
    None of those options are correct, but 3 is nearly right.

    You can't serve notice during the fixed term, and can't actually serve notice on the 21st either, but the landlord might not know that as it's a bit of an obscure bit of legislation.

    After 21st you need to give a minimum of a month's notice ending on the 20th of a month, it will expire on 20th May 2020.

    That ends the tenancy for the other tenant as well, so they will need to make their own arrangements with the landlord.

    It's possible that 2 would work, but that's up to you and the landlord coming to an agreement.

    I'd talk to the landlord, because there's plenty of time to sort this out amicably, and, if the other tenant wants to carry on living there, they may be able to find a replacement which allows you to leave when you want and leaves no one out of pocket.
    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
      If one or other of the joint tenants gives notice, to the landlord, then the tenancy will end.
      Then it's not your problem if the other tenant wants to stay. As above the notice. If you give notice now, to both the other tenant and the landlord that you intend to end the tenancy at the point when the fixed term ends in March, you can hardly be held liable if the other tenant refuses to leave.
      (Although I'm sure that there are risks for you in that you are probably jointly and severely liable, until.you both leave)
      And if they want to stay after that, they have 2 months to agree a new AST and or find another joint tenant to share that AST with.


      edit This may turn out to be completely wrong
      Last edited by Logical.Lean; 20-01-2020, 15:19 PM. Reason: Erm im not legally trained

      Comment


        #4
        The tenants can't serve notice in the fixed term.
        They can tell the landlord that they want / plan to leave, but the notice won't be valid and the other tenant won't have to leave.
        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
          See
          https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com...13&postcount=4

          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            The tenants can't serve notice in the fixed term.
            They can tell the landlord that they want / plan to leave, but the notice won't be valid and the other tenant won't have to leave.
            So does that mean one tenant cannot end a joint tenancy on the last day of the fixed term unless the other agrees and moves out at the same time?
            (or does the decent thing and agrees a new AST with the landlord? )

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Logical.Lean View Post
              So does that mean one tenant cannot end a joint tenancy on the last day of the fixed term unless the other agrees and moves out at the same time?
              (or does the decent thing and agrees a new AST with the landlord? )
              Yes.

              It seems unfair and I'd love to see someone test it in a senior court.
              Essentially someone signing up for a 12 month tenancy as a joint tenant is signing up for a 14 month tenancy unless the other people in the tenancy play ball.
              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


                #8
                It seems that the spirit of the intended law was lost in the detail of the small print.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Logical.Lean View Post
                  It seems that the spirit of the intended law was lost in the detail of the small print.
                  It is certainly the case that provisions aimed at protecting tenants disadvantage a joint tenant who does not wish to remain in occupation after the fixed term expires. It would not be too difficult to remedy the situation without leaving loopholes for landlords to exploit.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I believe that the only legally watertight ways to end a joint tenancy that was granted for a fixed term with monthly rental periods are
                    1. All leave before the end of the fixed term.
                    2. One tenant gives valid notice to end the subsequent SPT at the end of the second or subsequent month.
                    3. An agreement is reached that one or more people will leave at the end of the fixed term and a new tenancy will be granted starting the next day and including the remaining joint tenants (this probably needs the involvement of solicitors, =£many)
                    4. The tenancy is assigned to others.
                    In practice, option 3 could be used, and as long as everyone does what they agree to do, then there will be no issues. Problems might come if one or more parties do not abide by their agreement.

                    If none of the above are achievable, then read on ...


                    It has not been tested in a higher court (and possibly not in a county court), but the wording of S5 Housing Act 1988 might mean that if one of the joint tenants ceases to occupy the property as their sole or main residence, then a SPT does not arise.

                    I would suggest that you write to the landlord or LL's agent saying
                    • You contracted for X months and are giving notice that you do not intend extending your obligations under that contract beyond the agreed X months.
                    • You will vacate the premises on or before the last day of the fixed term.
                    • Under Section 5 (2) Housing Act 1988 and the interpretation of tenant in Section 45(3) HA 1988, no statutory periodic tenancy will arise because the tenant has not exercise his (their) entitlement to remain in possession.
                    • Therefore you will not be liable for any rent or other payments that might become due after the end of the fixed term, other than obligations that have arisen during the fixed term.
                    You should also advise your joint tenants of your intentions.

                    Note that you are not giving notice to end the tenancy at the end of the fixed term (which is generally agreed is not legally possible), but are giving notice that you do not consent to be party to any tenancy that arises or is granted after the end of the fixed term.

                    Note that the majority of posters on this forum do not agree that the above is legally valid, and only a judge can determine that.
                    But your landlord might not understand the arguments and might not want to be a test case for the above interpretation.
                    So, you have nothing to lose by the above approach and may get what you want.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by MdeB View Post
                      Note that the majority of posters on this forum do not agree that the above is legally valid, and only a judge can determine that.
                      But your landlord might not understand the arguments and might not want to be a test case for the above interpretation.
                      So, you have nothing to lose by the above approach and may get what you want.
                      Let's be honest, it's not the majority of posters, it's all but one! 8-)

                      I do agree that the landlord might not appreciate the legal specifics (it took me several months of arguing to get me to accept it!)

                      However, just serving notice might be enough.
                      I've been served all kinds of invalid notices, but forcing unhappy people to pay me rent when they have continued access to a valuable asset which they now think is owned by an a***hole never strikes me as the way forward.
                      The landlord might just shrug and move on.
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                        I do agree that the landlord might not appreciate the legal specifics (it took me several months of arguing to get me to accept it!)
                        Sorry jpkeates, I thought the discussion had ended with you still of the opinion that the interpretation above could be argued and that it would require a judgement to settle the issue.

                        I continue to lobby my MP to try to get the situation addressed , and I hope that something will be done when the HA1988 is opened up for removal of S21 for new tenancies.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Only kidding!

                          I agree that the situation is unclear and that a test case would make things clearer
                          But I do think that currently the situation is that a joint periodic tenancy does arise - because there doesn't seem any way to stop it.
                          That, plus the tenant's inability to serve notice during the fixed term, causes the problem.
                          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


                            #14
                            Thank you all for your replies!
                            That's very helpful!

                            Following your tips what I did is:
                            - I've sent an email to the landlord and to the agent,
                            - I've sent a "Notice of Intent to Vacate" (probably it will be ignored because I didn't get any response yet)

                            after sending an email to the landlord, landlord redirected me to the agent straight away, the agent said:

                            As you have entered into a joint Assured Shorthold Tenancy, legally the tenancy will only end if you both vacate the property at the end of your tenancy If other tenant wishes to remain in the property, a replacement tenant is to be found in order to remove you from the lease.

                            From my perspective, it is not really doable to find a replacement tenant.
                            It is obvious that nobody wants to enter 12 months of joint tenancy with a stranger.
                            They don't want to sign the new contract with the remaining tenant either.

                            I'll be moving abroad, I really wish to not be a part of the joint tenancy anymore.
                            I think the only way for me to escape from that contract is:

                            - Wait till AST will be converted to SPT
                            - On the first day of SPT try to serve notice again...
                            (I could not find any reference in housing act to confirm that what I'm planning to do is legally possible)

                            Thank you very much for your reply.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You can't actually serve notice on the first day of the SPT, so it would have to be the day after.
                              Most people don't know that, though, so it might be worth trying.

                              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

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X