single or shared tenancy?

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    single or shared tenancy?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a new LL with my first property. I bought it in 12/06 and let it to 1 tenant. (It is a 3 bed semi). My tenant is now saying that he cannot afford to pay the rent and wants to sub-let one room to someone else. As the tennant has been a dream to let to so far i.e. house kept tidy, even done garden this week etc., I don't want to loose him so am open to another tenant with him.

    My question is which way do I do this legally? Can I keep the AST already asigned and just amend it so that he can let out a room as long he takes responsibility for paying? or Do I need to issue another 2 AST's to 2 people?
    Also would this make my property an HMO or just a shared house? in fact is there a difference?

    Hope someone can help

    You let out a 3 bed property to a single tenant?!

    Who is now struggling with the rent just a couple of months into the tenancy?!

    What kind of tenant screening did you undertake to verify that they could afford the rent?


      I had 2 references, 1 from work place. Copy of up to date Bank statement, and knowledge family members. Not perhaps as good as more experienced LL's.


        Apologies, I thought I was expressing my incredulity in my head but I seem to have posted it, instead.

        I am not sure that you have a model tenant if they have sought out a property that they cannot afford.

        You can't make the tenant sign a new tenancy agreement unless they wish to so it would have to be with their consent anyway if you wanted to go ahead with a new joint tenancy agreement,should you wish the new tenant to be jointly responsible for paying the rent.

        don't lose control of the property - if you wish to give the tenant permission for another person to live there, make clear that they have to pass standard tenant screening checks (previous landlord, current employer and ID checks, for example). you are the landlord, not them.

        You may also wish to consider an alternatively, namely suggesting that you will permit and give permission to the existing tenant to quit the current tenancy agreement without holding them to it, since they have indicated they are struggling to afford it. Then rent it out to tenants whose proven income from your tenancy checks indicates that they can afford the entire rent.

        With regards to HMO, there are two elements, the definition and the need to have a licence. Most properties with 2+ unrelated households are HMOs by definition. Only properties of 5 + tenants and 3+ habitable storeys require the landlord to hold a licence as a mandatory requirement but local authorities can and do bring in licencing for smaller properties, check their website.

        You indicate that you are a novice landlord. Can I just check whether you are aware of the need to have a corgi gas safety certificate issued for the boiler?


          Both the tennant and I want him to stay and I am open to another tennant moving in. I have as you said, made it clear that all necessary checks will have to be made for another tennant to move in. My existing tennant though wants to be responsible for paying the rent, but as he is going to advertise for a sharer and would not know the new tennant my gut feeling is this is not a good idea and that we should disolve the present AST and start again with either one joint or two separate AST's.

          I have a current registration certitifcate for the boiler, which the engineer said included all the gas appliances in the property. I also have put up a carbon monoxide meter and smoke detectors.


            sorry for my mean spirited earlier postings, caused by posting in haste.

            it is probably a good sign that the tenant has been open about their difficulties and proposed a solution - many tenants sublet without the knowledge and permission of their landlords. Some even pretend that they are the landlord - their fellow tenants have no idea that do not own the property which causes all sorts of problems when the landlord seeks the return of the property or the sub-tenants seek the return of the deposit from the head tenant, etc.

            I am sure the other posters on the forum will provide you with the pros and cons of the one joint or two separate ASTs.

            One possible con is that the terms and conditions of some buy to let mortages stipulate that the property has to be covered with a single AST, (probably to discourage landlords who turn their properties into lodging houses that have higher voids/churn). what does yours say?


              To be honest I don't know, but I will check. I have been told by someone that as long as the mortgage is being paid then the mort co's don't check on tennancy's, but as this is my 1st venture I don't want to start off on the wrong side of anthing, as I would like to continue and become an experienced profitable LL.

              Thanks very much for your help and most of all your patience.


                Hi Beeber,

                Just thought I'd let you know how things went.

                You said 'Don't lose control of the property'. So..

                I met with the tenant and basically said that it was his responsibility to find a new tenant as per the AST in force, otherwise he would be liable to pay the full rental as agreed.

                He has now found a new 'mate', agreed to a new joint AST, and agreed to a rental increase from £455 to £500 pcm.

                If I've done anything wrong (legally), please let me know but at present all parties are happy with arrangements.

                Thanks again for your advice.

                ps. also checked mortgage conditions - hence single AST
                Last edited by Swampduck; 26-03-2007, 16:37 PM. Reason: forgot to mention


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