Four tenants, one leaving - advice welcome!

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    Four tenants, one leaving - advice welcome!

    Hi,

    Not a biggie (I think), but I'd appreciate some advice on this. We have four tenants on a joint AST. Although they're only 4.5 months into a 6 month contract, one of them wants to move out; since the other 3 have found someone else who wants to move in in his place, we've agreed to this.

    Now, my understanding is that since the four are jointly & severally liable, then legally when one moves out and another in we have to terminate the old contract and set up a new one. This is where the question comes in.

    When the tenants moved in, we agreed to a 6-month initial term, moving on to a rolling month-by-month once the initial term had elapsed. One of the tenants has now got back to us saying that although she intends staying in the house for the next 6 months, 'you never know what might happen,' and so she feels it's unfair of us to ask them to sign another 6-month contract when they were within 6 weeks of moving on to a month-by-month deal.

    What do you think we should do? I don't want to be unfair - but would we be disadvantaging ourselves by offering them, say, a 6-week AST? Would appreciate any input from more experienced landlords.

    Best

    Pob

    #2
    I would offer them a 2 month AST. There are no problems with you doing this IMO, although I am sure that other people may disagree. 6 weeks may cause issues with payment dates etc, so I would stick to multiples of months.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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      #3
      Or join in a Deed of Assignment to vest old AST in names of 3 continuees + 1 new person.
      Must be by Deed to be effective. L should be party as well as departee, three continees, and new person.
      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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        #4
        Perhaps, you can leave things as they are. The one tenant moves out, the other three remain and are still liable for all bills. The other person moves in and write them a letter that you consider him a guest of the other three and has no rights to the property.
        ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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          #5
          To add to MrShed's comment: You can issue an AST for any fixed period you like. The law merely prevents you from regaining possession of your property under section 21 for a period of six months from the inception of the AST. This is one of the reasons why most AST's have a fixed period of 6 months.

          P.P.
          Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

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            #6
            Thanks, everyone, for your input.

            It doesn't look, from what you're all saying, as if there's likely to be any major problem caused by the tenants only being committed for another 2 months while we're (because of the S21 limitation P.Pilcher mentions) committed for 6, which was a concern.

            Not sure I feel comfy with the idea of pretending one of them's only a guest, and I don't really know anything about Deed of Assignment, so the 2 month AST seems like the plan.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Pob View Post
              Thanks, everyone, for your input.

              It doesn't look, from what you're all saying, as if there's likely to be any major problem caused by the tenants only being committed for another 2 months while we're (because of the S21 limitation P.Pilcher mentions) committed for 6, which was a concern.

              Not sure I feel comfy with the idea of pretending one of them's only a guest, and I don't really know anything about Deed of Assignment, so the 2 month AST seems like the plan.
              Shoot me if I'm wrong; but the 6 month thing no longer applies they have already been there 6 months; you just need to give the correct notice when you serve the s21 if you need to use one (ie 2 months plus, depending on timing)
              All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                #8
                Correct Bel - the security of tenure from S21 does not apply to renewal tenancies. However, in this case it would I believe, as it is a new tenancy in effect.
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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                  #9
                  Problems are............
                  1. Take rent from the new occupant and he can claim tenancy rights beginning from the day he moves in, which would almost cetainly teminate the first tenancy and create a new periodic AST.
                  2. There's nothing to stop you drawing up a new monthly periodic tenancy with no fixed term from the outset anyway, bearing in mind the S.21 constraints.
                  3. If you are happy with him being a "prermitted occupant" then write to the remaining tenants and say so, but..........
                  4. Make sure you inform the outgoing tenant of his legal liabilities until the tenancy ends: he might not want to be held to this and it would be your choice, so you might just have to draw up a new agreement to avoid possible confrontation. You should also not release any of the deposit until the tenancy was terminated, as the amount stated (if any), would be false after he left if you were to do so.
                  5. If you accept termination from the one tenant (i.e. release him from his legal obligations) then you have automatically accepted surrender of the tenancy as a whole.
                  6. The potential flaws in Jeffery Shaw's suggestion, of a mistake in any wording, I would advise a solicitor to be involved. This would cost a lot more than a new agreement.
                  7. The 2004 Housing Act is supposed to be addressing this problem to avoid the drawing up of a new AST when one tenant wishes to vacate but details aren't yet known.
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by MrShed View Post
                    Correct Bel - the security of tenure from S21 does not apply to renewal tenancies. However, in this case it would I believe, as it is a new tenancy in effect.
                    Good point Mr Shed. Serves me right for trying to be clever.
                    All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                      #11
                      Thanks, Paul - that confirms some of my thinking and fills in a few holes, too.

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