Tenant hasn't signed a contract, paid deposit or rent!

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    Tenant hasn't signed a contract, paid deposit or rent!

    Hey

    So I am new to this but am finding it hard to find any advice. I am currently living in a multiple occupancy house. I have only recently moved in and there are some considerable issues. They mainly stem from one individual who moved in about 6 months ago but never signed a contract. The rest of the tenants have signed the contract which is a group contract for the entire house. He paid the first few months rent but then stopped. He hasn't paid the rent for over 2 months now. The landlord is telling us that due to the contract being joint the rest of the house mates are legally responsible for the rent. In addition to not having a contract or paying the rent he has not paid the deposit.

    The landlord has apologised to the rest of us and served us with a section 21. I understand that the landlord has done this in the correct manner. He has also explained that the rest of us are welcome to move back into the house after the tenant who hasn't paid moves out.

    I can't seem to find out what rights he has as he has never signed a contract. The closest I have found is about periodic tenancy but this is when a contract has initially been signed. As tenants are we able to change the locks to get him to move out? This is unfortunate but the rest of us risk losing our deposits and not having money to find somewhere else to live.

    Any information would be of great help!

    Thanks
    Lennie42

    #2
    What a mess.

    Does the individual who is not part of your joint contract share facilities with you and does he have a lock on his door?
    '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
      Hello

      Thanks for your reply. Yes, he does share the facilities but there isn't a lock on his door or any other bedroom door.

      Comment


        #4
        I am not sure that the fact he hasnt signged the contract makes any difference - he paid rent at one time which implies an acceptance of it.

        If you moved in recently where you a replacement to one of the tenants on the original contract? When did the tenancy start and how long was the fixed term?

        Comment


          #5
          Yes I replaced someone on the original contract. My contract started on the 7th September 2012 and finishes on the 6th September 2013. The guy hasn't paid for October and November.

          Comment


            #6
            So was everyone give a new joint tenancy on 7th Sept or were you given your own tenancy agreenemt?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Lennie42 View Post
              The landlord is telling us that due to the contract being joint the rest of the house mates are legally responsible for the rent. In addition to not having a contract or paying the rent he has not paid the deposit.
              As daveg says, it doesn't matter that he hasn't signed the contract. I presume that his name is on the tenancy contract as one of the joint tenants?
              This person's failure to contribute to the deposit does not affect his tenancy status.

              The LL is correct that all joint tenants are jointly and individually liable for all of the rent. Collectively, the joint tenants comprise 'the tenant'.


              The landlord has apologised to the rest of us and served us with a section 21. I understand that the landlord has done this in the correct manner. He has also explained that the rest of us are welcome to move back into the house after the tenant who hasn't paid moves out.
              A s.21 notice does not end the tenancy nor oblige you and the other tenants to move out. All it does is entitle the LL to apply for a possession order after the notice/fixed term expires next September 2013. It would appear that the LL doesn't understand this.

              As tenants are we able to change the locks to get him to move out?
              No; if this person is a named tenant on the contract, then the other joint tenants cannot evict him.

              This is unfortunate but the rest of us risk losing our deposits and not having money to find somewhere else to live.
              You only risk losing the deposit if you do not pay the rent payable during the tenancy. You do not need money to find somewhere else to live unless you are legally evicted by the LL. The LL can only evict you if he obtains a court order for possession.

              There are two routes to possession for the LL: 1) under s.21 Housing Act 1988, but he cannot obtain a possession order until after fixed term expiry, and 2) under s.8 HA1988 - if there is at least two months' [total] rent owing and unpaid then he may succeed in obtaining a possession order to take effect before fixed term expiry.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Lennie42 View Post
                Yes I replaced someone on the original contract. My contract started on the 7th September 2012 and finishes on the 6th September 2013. The guy hasn't paid for October and November.
                Do you mean that, say, joint tenants A/B/C/D's contract started on 7th September, and you moved in in November and took over from D?

                How was this changeover dealt with on paper? Did you/LL/other tenants all sign a deed of assignment, saying that the original tenants A/B/C/D were now A/B/C/E?

                Comment


                  #9
                  So we all signed the same contract in September. We signed separate contracts but all our names are on each contract.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Lennie42 View Post
                    So we all signed the same contract in September. We signed separate contracts but all our names are on each contract.
                    So you were one of the original tenants, and didn't replace anybody, just moved in a bit later than the others?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you for the advice.

                      'You only risk losing the deposit if you do not pay the rent payable during the tenancy.'
                      Does this mean that as the rent is not fully paid we are likely to loose our deposit or does this depend on the LL?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yeah that's correct. We are all the original tenants. Sorry for the confusion there.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Is the non-payer's name on the tenancy contract or not?
                          '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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lennie42 View Post
                            'You only risk losing the deposit if you do not pay the rent payable during the tenancy.'
                            Does this mean that as the rent is not fully paid we are likely to loose our deposit or does this depend on the LL?
                            The deposit is held as security against any losses suffered by the LL as a result of a breach of the tenancy.

                            If, at the end of the tenancy, 'the tenant' (i.e. you and the other joint tenants), owes any rent, then the LL will probably claim a deduction from the deposit to cover the unpaid rent.

                            You and all the other joint tenants are liable to pay all of the rent, not just a 'share'.

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