Backing Out Of a Joint Tenancy Agreement

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    Backing Out Of a Joint Tenancy Agreement


    I've recently signed a joint tenancy contract with my partner who is now backing out of it which has led to our separation. The contract is student-letting for a 12 month duration which we both signed. I provided a guarantor and she later refused (Prior to her dad informing me he will cancel the contract) The contract states in the event of the tenant wishing to be released from the contact prior to occupancy they must find a replacement and will incur a £250 charge as well as lose their deposits (2x£150) The payment of rent is not two individual amounts for the two tenants but one sum.

    I've informed the firm letting the property about what has happened and other than cancelling the contract I was hoping I may have some other options. Is my girlfriend legally obliged to pay half rent if I do not wish to move or does she obtain the right to cancel the agreement herself and if so I'm hoping to leave her responsible for finding new tenants.

    Any advise would be great,
    - Miles

    Did either of you occupy the property by commencement date of AST or move in some personal possessions?
    If Yes then 'Tenant' (both joint Ts) are liable for fixed term, unless replacemets found AND occupy.
    If No then Contract terms are dubious, if stated correctly. The 'Tenant' is in Breach of Contract to occupy and LL can require compensation (say 1 month rent) The deposit is a moot point as it remains tenants property throughout T, acting as a bond against T damage and rent owing at end of T. The LL would be expected to mitigate his loss by finding new Ts, the cost of which may form part of his compensation.
    The Guarantor cannot cancel the tenancy agreement, only inform LL that he no longer wishes to act as G. (prob not acceptable as in most cases G is for TA, not ind ts) Were you asked to provide another G?
    As this is a student let, how difficult would it be for you/LL to find acceptable replacement Ts?


      IF you occupy the property you are jointly and severally liable. That means the landlord has the right to pursue either of you for the full rent - if you only pay half, he can chase you or ex (his choice) but it could still lead to your eviction.

      If the landlord were to pursue you for the rent and win, you could in turn pursue your ex for any financial loss caused by her withdrawal (ie half the rent) but in this case, you have an obligation to mitigate your loss - this means keep it as small as possible. Sue for £3k when you could have got a lodger to pay you £2500 and you'll be awarded £500 whether you had a lodger or not. There is even an argument that you could have made the loss zero by not moving in - compensation - £0.

      As Mariner says, you have a joint contract to create a tenancy. If you breach that contract then as above, the landlord has a right to be compensated for his mitigated financial loss. At this stage of the academic year, I can not see those losses being more than the fee an agency would charge to find a new tenant, actually getting one by September should not be difficult. I have no idea how much an agency would charge - £300? So your two deposits may well be lost but morally the £250 fee isn't required. Others will comment on whether the fact it is included in the tenancy as a fixed fee makes it unenforceable but I'd throw in an uninformed guess that there would certainly be an argument that it's an unfair term.

      In your shoes, I'd accept deposit has gone. The tenancy itself doesn't start until you physically move in so I wouldn't pay the agency their £250 because I don't think they'll take action for that and if they did I'd want to argue it. I'd then be looking at ex to pay me £150 because it was her actions that caused you to lose the deposit.


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