Rent Arrears - Joint Tenancy

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    Rent Arrears - Joint Tenancy

    Dear All,

    I know this topic was probably covered, but would like to hear some thoughts. Here is a chronolgy of events:-

    August 2006: signed a joint tenancy agreement with 2 flamates
    Feb 2007: Tried to put a 2-month notice to leave, informed by agent that the tenancy won't be ended by that.
    April 2007: I left the property and someone took my room. Sent a few letters to agent for the deposit, but met refusal.
    August 2007: End of fixed term of the contract. I applied to court for the deposit.
    Dec 2007: A flatmate handed a one-month notice to leave the house.
    Feb 2008: Court case lost. The second flatmate left the house.
    March 2008: Third and final flatmate left the house. Inventory checkout and tenancy ended.
    May 2008: The second flatmate and I received solicitor letter for a £2k rent arrears. Apparently, the third flatmate didn't pay. It shows that they built up after the fixed term.

    A few questions:

    1. In response to a few posts above, what defines a 'proper notice' to clear the liability for rent? I know that the 2-month notice I put in Feb 2007 wasn't valid for tenancy termination purpose, but could that convince the judge that I am not liable after the fixed term?

    2. From information by Shelter, it appears that we are STILL joint tenants after the fixed term. In the contract, I found a clause 'All tenants are jointly and severally responsible until such time that all sharers vacate the property'. What counter-arguments should be looked for to prove that the rent liability is no longer joint after the fixed term? (Seems unlikely)

    3. What are the next steps? I found that the rent record missed out a few payments by us. This will be raised to their solicitor, and I have also told them that I tried to put a notice to leave. The second flatmate went to CAB, and they asked her to dispute the arrears.

    After all, it was such a painstaking experience. I thought that a joint tenancy under an agent would be safe, after hearing so much bad stories about private landlords. I moved out early because of the party noise. The second flatmate had to apologize to neighbour for the noises, cover the rent in full soon after I had left, and she was threatened by the third flatmate to clear up the house for a deposit refund, or she would mess thing up.

    I APPRECIATE ALL OF YOUR HELP.

    Regards,
    Sunny

    #2
    I believe that In Dec 2007 if one of the joint tenants gave a valid notice to quit the statutory periodic tenancy then this would have the effect of ending the tenancy for all tenants on its expiry and thus ending your liability.

    Who took your room out of interest? Did you let it or did the letting agent find someone for it?
    ****************************************

    If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

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      #3
      A friend of the third tenant (the bad one). In here, I wonder if the agent was responsible for not sorting me out properly at the end of the fixed term. It was true that I didn't place a formal notice, but they certain knew my wish to quit the tenancy as early as I could.

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        #4
        Do you know if the friend paid any money to the letting agent or did he pay to the third tenant.
        ****************************************

        If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

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          #5
          Sorry I didn't make it clear. Both the third tenant and her friend are bad tenants. Since I left, the second tenant paid everything. These are all shown in the rent records. They did miss out some items, but it was the second tenants who always paid.

          Comment


            #6
            Hrm ok well i'm still of the opinion that your liability to pay rent ended when the flatmates notice to quit expired presumably sometime in January provided it was a valid notice. I look forward to the views of other more knowledgeable folks and reserve the right to be completely wrong

            Whilst it doesn't solve all your problems it may reduce your arrears by quite a bit as it sounds like most of the arrears accrued in january feb and march.

            Hopefully the flatmate who gave it still has it. If not i'd certainly recommend the tenant involved getting a copy of it from the letting agent!
            ****************************************

            If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

            Comment


              #7
              The second one - the one who always paid.

              Comment


                #8
                hehe ok, best read my post above yours as i was in the midst of editing my post having realised it didn't really matter who gave it as long as it wasn't the mate of the third tenant.
                ****************************************

                If you are unsure about what to do seek professional Legal advice.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'd suggest that you look carefully at the quality of the Feb 2007 2-month notice which you say you "put in". If it was a written notice and if the agents (apparently incorrect) reply was also written, you may be able to argue that your liability ended at the end of the fixed term. Also, if you handed your keys back to the agent, this would add to the value of your argument.
                  Failing that, and assuming that the Dec 2007 notice was valid, the tenancy should have ended in January 2008 and as House suggests, you shouldn't be liable for rent arrears after that.

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