rent shortage

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    rent shortage

    I've got a problem with a flat I rent to 2 students. The AST was signed jointly in both their names, and they both paid 1/2 rent from their separate accounts. One left last month and the other remains, but says she'll only pay her part of the rent until she finds someone to move in, which could be forever.
    I say I want the whole amount, and it's her problem not mine that 1/2 the rent isn't being paid.
    What is the proper angle to take on this.
    Any advice appreciated.

    #2
    Originally posted by oliverg View Post
    I've got a problem with a flat I rent to 2 students. The AST was signed jointly in both their names, and they both paid 1/2 rent from their separate accounts. One left last month and the other remains, but says she'll only pay her part of the rent until she finds someone to move in, which could be forever.
    I say I want the whole amount, and it's her problem not mine that 1/2 the rent isn't being paid.
    What is the proper angle to take on this.
    Any advice appreciated.
    You are correct in that in principle they are jointly responsible for the whole rent (the idea of their paying 'half' each does not exist legally in joint contracts), so you can pursue either or both of them for the debt.

    However if the fixed term has ended (has it?) and their tenancy had become a statutory periodic one (rolling month by month), then notice given by one tenant applies to all/both. Please tell us:

    Did they both sign the joint contract?
    When did the tenancy begin, and when did/does the fixed term end?
    Did the one who left give you notice, or just leave?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      Add to MTGs questions - was there a deposit, was it protected, did the departing tenant get 'their half' of the deposit back?

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the replies. They both signed the tenancy agreement. It's for 12 months starting Sept. 09. The one who left did ask me one month before she left. I said O.K..
        I did say clearly she should look around to find a replacement. She's gone now, so I won't pursue her. I said that I'd find someone to move in, which I'd like to know if I'm entitled to do. However the remaining one seemed horrified of " having a stranger in the house."
        There was no deposit other than a months rent up front.
        Anyhow, the case continues,
        Regards, Oliver

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by oliverg View Post
          Thanks for the replies. They both signed the tenancy agreement. It's for 12 months starting Sept. 09. The one who left did ask me one month before she left. I said O.K..
          I did say clearly she should look around to find a replacement. She's gone now, so I won't pursue her. I said that I'd find someone to move in, which I'd like to know if I'm entitled to do. However the remaining one seemed horrified of " having a stranger in the house."
          In a joint tenancy, all the joint tenants together comprise 'the Tenant' and there is no such thing as a 'share' of the rent, only 'the Rent'.

          The joint tenancy with the two original joint tenants continues until the end of the fixed term (at least), regardless of one JT having moved out. The two of them continue to have exclusive possession.

          You can't say 'O.K' and end the tenancy for one JT (you could only agree an early surrender with both JTs, i.e. 'the Tenant' not half the tenant). Nor can you assign one JT's tenancy to a replacement JT without the consent of both original JTs (so, no, you can't just 'find someone to move in'). The JT who continues to occupy could, if she wished, find a lodger to help with the rent.

          Meanwhile both the original JTs remain liable for all of the rent for the fixed term. You may not wish to pursue the JT who left for unpaid rent, but unless you're happy to accept 50% rent for the remainder of the fixed term, then you'll have to pursue either or both of the JTs for the unpaid rent.

          The only alternative is to get both JTs to agree an early surrender, thus properly ending the tenancy, and start afresh with new tenants.

          There was no deposit other than a months rent up front.
          I assume you mean you took a month's rent in advance and no deposit.

          Comment


            #6
            Now I'm a little wiser about my situation. I admit I've been a bit casual about these tenants.
            However I've given the remaining one notice to quit on the 'phone yesterday to be followed up in writing tomorrow.
            I guess that means a 2 month wait, and I'm uncertain now if I'll be paid rent at all. 2 months neatly coincides with end of tenancy.
            One more thought - would being paid less than the complete rent qualify for any of the Section 8 rulings, in case she refuses to budge in September?
            Thanks for the advice,
            Oliver

            Comment


              #7
              Yes. Read section 8 and the grounds' text (esp. 8/10/11) as to what you'll need to prove.
              See http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=28889
              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).

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                #8
                Originally posted by oliverg View Post
                However I've given the remaining one notice to quit on the 'phone yesterday to be followed up in writing tomorrow.
                I guess that means a 2 month wait, and I'm uncertain now if I'll be paid rent at all. 2 months neatly coincides with end of tenancy.
                A s.21 notice is not a 'notice to quit'; it advises the tenant that you require possession after a certain date (after a period of at least two months, and no earlier than the end of the fixed term) but does not oblige the tenant to leave, nor does it end the tenancy.

                Verbal notice is invalid; it must be in writing and it is essential (if you then go on to apply for a possession order after notice expiry) to obtain proof of posting and to keep a copy of the notice sent. You will need this evidence for the application.

                The notice must also name all joint tenants. Not just "the remaining one". Same goes for any notice sent to 'the Tenant', such as a s.8.

                As I said before, I assume you mean you took a month's rent in advance and no deposit. If this is not what you meant, and you are holding any money as security, the s.21 will not be valid if served before this money is protected in a scheme and the prescribed information provided.

                I don't suppose you obtained a guarantor for the rent from these students? Most landlords insist on guarantors when letting to students.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The key to this is whether or not the original tenancy still exists. To decide that we need to know exactly what was agreed between you and the "departed" tenant and how the "remaining" tenant was involved.

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                    #10
                    I took 2 months rent when they first moved in so they there would always be one month in advance, this to be used up in their final month. No separate deposit. I know this leaves me exposed in the final month.
                    Deal seemed straightforward to me. Student term is September to June. Many of them would leave then, some prefer to stay where they are. The one one that left asked for a months notice. I agreed. The other wanted to stay through the summer. As said, I asked them to find a replacement, unfortunately they didn't.
                    Now I now more about the legally binding aspects of the tenancy agreement, I'll pay more attention in future dealings.
                    Thanks for advice, Oliver

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Oliver - the extra month you took IS a deposit (no mater what you called it in the agreement) and has to be protected as you are currently breaking the law. As either of the tenants is likely to be seeking advice about this same matter, they are likely to discover this and you could find yourself exposed to a penalty of 3 x the deposits value.

                      Protect it NOW at www.depositprotection.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by oliverg View Post
                        I took 2 months rent when they first moved in so they there would always be one month in advance, this to be used up in their final month. No separate deposit. I know this leaves me exposed in the final month.
                        Does the tenancy contract specifically state that this additional month's rent will be used to pay the last month of the fixed term's rent? If not, then it falls under the definition of a deposit in HA2004, and this money should be protected.

                        If a protectable deposit isn't protected, any s.21 notice served will not be valid, and the LL is also exposed to a claim under s.214 HA2004 for return of the deposit plus 3x the value of the deposit.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Westminster, we disagree, I feel that even if it is shown on the agreement as the final months rent, until that rent becomes due, it is a deposit who's use is limited to payment of rent (ie it can not be used to cover damages).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                            The key to this is whether or not the original tenancy still exists. To decide that we need to know exactly what was agreed between you and the "departed" tenant and how the "remaining" tenant was involved.
                            I seriously doubt that OP inadvertently managed to legally end the joint tenancy when one of the JTs departed.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                              Westminster, we disagree, I feel that even if it is shown on the agreement as the final months rent, until that rent becomes due, it is a deposit who's use is limited to payment of rent (ie it can not be used to cover damages).
                              I'm going by NL's comments below this Nearly Legal blog post
                              http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2009/0...eposit-honest/

                              "...advance of rent against specified periods (say month 1 and month 6) is probably OK, but could ONLY be used for EXACTLY that purpose. If used against any other default on rent due or is potentially being held against some putative default of rent, let alone anything else in breach of tenant’s conditions (damage etc.) = deposit."

                              Edit: AFAIK, NL, the blog poster, is a qualified lawyer.

                              Comment

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