Student House, 1 student not paying

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    Student House, 1 student not paying

    I rent out a 4 bed student house on a whole house basis (not on a room by room basis) with a single AST. The students are fully aware of this. One of the students is having difficuties paying her rent and has accrued arrears of just under 2 month's rent. In Jan 2013 she paid £70 instead of £250 and this month she said she can only pay £50 on 22nd Feb, rent of £250 pcm is due on 1st of each month.

    I've spoken to the tenant and she said that she is having problems payingas her parents aren't helping her financially anymore. If she continues to fall behind or leaves the house how will this impact on the rest of the tenants do they have to pay the shortfall?

    Your advice would be gratefully appreciated.

    They are responsible as a group for the whole rent, it doesn't matter how much each individual pays, they are jointly liable.

    However, you can't issue notice until they are in arrears to the value of 2 months of the whole rent, not just one person's share.


      Presuming combined rent of £1000 per month.

      This girl is not £499 'in arrears' on 'her rent', the tenants as a whole are £499 on their whole rent (ie around half a months rent).

      You can therefore expect 'the tenant' (ie all or any) to ensure that £1000 is paid per month, how they split that cost between them is just a personal arrangement between them.

      Do you have guarantors for this girl or any of the other joint tenants? How about deposits?

      If she leaves the house she still remains liable, but so far as you are concerned, the remaining tenants will also be liable if the toal rent is not paid.


        I agree with Snorkerz. Stop thinking of them as individuals (when it comes to the rent and responsibilities) and think of them collectively as "the tenant".

        I let to groups of sharers too, and have found that peer pressure can be used to your advantage. You have not indicated whether the other housemates are aware of the arrears, but they need to be - they may even be shocked.

        I would suggest writing to them collectively (addressing the letter to all the names on the AST) informing them that the monthly rent is currently in arrears by X amount. Point about that the standing order usually paid by Jane Bloggs has not been paid for the past 2 months, and remind them (all) that they are jointly and severally liable for the full rent. You would appreciate their prompt attention to ensure that the balance is brought up to date.

        In many cases a formally worded letter of this nature will be all it takes.

        Good luck.

        IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.


          If her parents are also her Guarantors, it would be worth sending them a copy of the letter if the girl is unable to pay. She is not just going to be able to magic £500 from thin air, is she?
          '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


            Thank you very much for your replies. I will be writing to the students as per Grrr.


              Originally posted by 8086 View Post
              However, you can't issue notice until they are in arrears to the value of 2 months of the whole rent, not just one person's share.

              A LL cannot cite the mandatory Ground 8 of Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988 in a s.8 notice unless there is at least two months' rent owing and unpaid (which is not the same as arrears), if rent is payable monthly.

              A LL may, however, cite the discretionary grounds 10 and/or 11 (some rent owing and unpaid, and/or rent persistently late) in a s.8 notice even if Ground 8 is not fulfilled.

              In other words, a LL *can* serve a s.8 notice on these discretionary grounds. Of course, a possession claim is less likely to succeed on purely discretionary grounds.


                Why is arrears incorrect? If they are 2 months in arrears it means they are 2 months behind doesn't it?


                  Ground 8, Schedule 2 Housing Act 1988

                  Ground 8

                  Both at the date of the service of the notice under section 8 of this Act relating to the proceedings for possession and at the date of the hearing—
                  (a)if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks’ rent is unpaid;
                  (b)if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’ rent is unpaid;
                  (c)if rent is payable quarterly, at least one quarter’s rent is more than three months in arrears; and
                  (d)if rent is payable yearly, at least three months’ rent is more than three months in arrears;
                  and for the purpose of this ground “rent” means rent lawfully due from the tenant.

                  Note how (a) and (b) refer to unpaid rent whereas (c) and (d) refers to arrears. That's because there's a difference.

                  In the case of (b), if rent is payable in advance on the 1st of the month, and T doesn't pay on 1st Jan and 1st Feb, then on 2nd Feb there will be two months' rent owing and unpaid, not two months' in arrears.


                    Several dictionaries say that arrears means money that is owed and should have been paid earlier...that would seem appropriate, no?

                    What is the actual difference? Indulge me a little more if you please...


                      Jeffrey explained it as follows in answer to the question: Can you clarify the difference between "unpaid rent" and "arrears" in this case jeffrey?

                      It concerns the precise difference in wording within ground 8.
                      WEEKLY/FORTNIGHTLY/MONTHLY: wording is "at least [8 weeks'/2 months'] rent is unpaid".
                      QUARTERLY/YEARLY: wording is "at least [one quarter's/three months'] rent is more than three months in arrears".
                      The word "rent" is defined as "rent lawfully due from the tenant." I therefore consider that rent is unpaid as soon as the payment day has come and gone without payment being made.
                      Rent due on 1st of each month, monthly in advance.
                      Nothing paid on 1 August.
                      Nothing paid on 1 September.
                      Rent is two months' unpaid on 2 September.
                      Rent is two months in arrears on 1 October.
                      Rent is more than two months in arrears on 2 October.


                        'in arrears' above refers to the amount of time payment has been overdue.
                        So if rent is due on the 1st of the month and is not paid, on the 2nd there is one month's rent unpaid and 1 day in arrears.
                        That is, condition (b) above may be fulfilled after 1 month and 1 day only.

                        Edit: LC posted while I was typing.


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