Joint tenancy- fixed term ended; can I end my liability?

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    Joint tenancy- fixed term ended; can I end my liability?

    Hi,

    I signed up to a joint tenancy agreement tied in for 6 months (which has now ended) I informed my flatmate and the landlord 6 weeks ago that I could no longer afford to live there. I was told to find a replacement for my room. After 6 weeks of expensive internet/local press adverts I can find no one to replace me. Now I find out that my flat mate is moving but still has not given her months notice yet. I have moved all my stuff out and am no longer living there.
    1. Can they still make me pay this months rent even though I gave my notice and I am not tied in to a time period?
    2. My flatmate is still asking for money for bills even though I have not been living there for the last 3 weeks - where do I stand on that?

    The contract is a standard joint tenancy agreement that started in Sept 07 so I am definately out of my tied in period.

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks
    Karrie

    #2
    You and co-T cannot half-terminate joint tenancy. As co-T is still there, it's still running and so is your joint rent liability.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      Oh no, what about the notice I gave the landlord?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by karrielou View Post
        Oh no, what about the notice I gave the landlord?
        If you vacated at (or before) fixed term expiry, argue that the continuation tenancy does not involve you because it's no longer joint.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          I think that as a joint tenant and assuming you've completed the fixed period, you should be able to give notice to end the tenancy, not only for yourself but also for your co-tenant(s).
          I think your Notice would have to be formal; at least one-month duration and terminating the tenancy on the last day of a period of the tenancy. The notice would have to make clear that you are ending the joint tenancy ie. not just a note saying "I'm leaving".
          If you've given proper notice and your joint tenant stays on beyond the end date, then she alone will be responsible for rent and other expenses incurred after the end date.

          Comment


            #6
            Yes, but both tenants will have to leave on the same day, otherwise, as long as one is still there, then both are still liable for the rent, whether physically living there or not.

            If you have joint liability then that cannot be split. I'd be talking to your flat mate if I were you.

            Comment


              #7
              I think I have screwed it up for myself by trying to do the best by my flat mate because i thought we were friends. I have learnt my lesson. I am going to withhold my share of the rent and see what happens because they said I couldnt leave without finding a replacement but I have found that not to be true as I am out of the fixed period.

              Comment


                #8
                Although you say that you gave notice some time ago, it seems that the notice you gave was simply notice that you intended to leave.
                Maybe if you left on or before the end of the fixed period you could use the argument suggested by Jeffrey.
                Otherwise you should give your landlord a formal notice NOW to end the tenancy and your liability.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It doesn't matter whether you are out of the fixed period or not, if either of the tenants give notice but both don't vacate at the same time then BOTH of you are still liable for the rent.

                  You will find yourself being sued pretty damn pronto if you start withholding rent.

                  Speak to your flatmate and try and get this resolved.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Attilathelandlord, I think you're not quite correct on this and I've had personal expensive experience. A joint tenant gave me notice of the type indicated by karrielou - "I wont be there after such a date". The other tenants refused to leave and didn't pay the rent. I had to go through the eviction process and I sued the joint tenants for the rent arrears. The Judge gave judgement against the tenants who had stayed but said that the tenant who had left had given Notice and was not liable after the date of expiry of the Notice.
                    Since the Judgement against the non-paying tenants was worthless, I made further enquiries. From information received I concluded that the Judge was wrong in that the Notice was not in the correct form - no dates, no reference to ending the tenancy and no keys returned. However, if a proper Notice had been given by the leaving tenant, the correct Judgement would have been that the liability of the joint tenant who left, ended at the end date of his Notice.
                    Therefore in accepting joint tenants, it is not safe to assume that one you know to be "good" is effectively a guarantor for one you suspect may be "bad". Once you're in the periodic phase, after one months notice from the good tenant, you're taking your chances with the bad one.
                    Returning to Karrielou, give your one month's notice and you'll be free of liability at the end of it.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Sorry to hear your story, but I've had personal experience to the opposite.

                      You can't split a joint tenancy, there is case law out there, but I'm sure someone will give you the details.(somone versus local authority or something).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Sorry to hear your story, but I have had the opposite experience. You can't split a joint tenancy.

                        That's not to say a judge wouldn't try to interfere, but legally speaking I can't imagine what your judge was basing his/her thinking on.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          BUT is it joint, once fixed term ends and T1 goes? See my posts #2 and 4.
                          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by attilathelandlord View Post
                            You can't split a joint tenancy, there is case law out there, but I'm sure someone will give you the details.(somone versus local authority or something).
                            I've been in and out all day, so I haven't read the thread. Therefore, these cases on terminating joint tenancies may or may not be relevant.

                            (1) Joint periodic: Notice of one tenant acts as notice for both; Hammersmith Borough Council v. Monk [1992]

                            (2) Joint fixed term (exercising a break clause): Notice of both tenants is required; Re: Viola's Indenture of Lease [1909]

                            (3) Surrender: Act of both tenants is required; Leek and Moorlands Building Society v. Clark [1952]
                            Health Warning


                            I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                            All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Yes, although neither of those deals with expiry of fixed term and possible statutory continuation. As I previously posted, OP may have served a valid end-of-fixed-term Notice sufficient to end her liability then. If so, other tenant's continuation tenancy is his sole responsibility.
                              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                              Comment

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