3 bed flat: Does AST apply to 3 sharers who do not know each other

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    3 bed flat: Does AST apply to 3 sharers who do not know each other

    Dear members

    I am trying to let out a 3 bed flat. Most of the responses I am getting to my advert are individuals who are willing to take a room and share. Could someone explain how an AST applies in this situation (ie can the tenancy still be governed under an AST?)?

    Should I issue 3 separate ASTs for each sharer? Or if there can only be one AST for the flat, who becomes the lead tenant and how do I set out rent obligations between 3 sharers?

    I am struggling to find a unit of three (eg family), which would make life easier.

    Any thoughts are gratefully received.


    I doubt you would find any tenants who would want to share on a single AST, they wouldn't want to be held liable for others actions, and I doubt each tenant would want to vacate at the same time either.
    [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]


      You have a choice -

      1) 3 individuals who know each other can be joint AST tenants for the whole flat. IMHO, this is easiest if you can find 3 people willing to rent together.

      2) 3 individuals can each have an AST tenancy on just a room each, with shared use of other facilities. You would probably get more rent this way but you would be liable for the council tax. You would also need to work out what you would do with utilities. You would find it very difficult to make individual tenants responsible for damage in communal areas. This is why rent is higher.

      In either scenario, the property will be a HMO, do you know if the property is up to HMO standards? With option (2) you would be the HMO manager - do you know what legal obligations that puts on you?

      Would your lease allow letting this way? Your mortgage?


        A tenancy is (broadly speaking) an assured shorthold tenancy if it is granted to an person or persons (as opposed to a company), if the rental property is the tenant's only or principal home, if the LL doesn't live in the same building, and if the rent is less than £100,000 pa.

        The rental property for which the tenant is granted exclusive possession may be an entire house or flat, or it may be one room only.

        'The tenant' may be one individual person or it may be two or more jointly (a joint tenancy). It is irrelevant whether or not the joint tenants know each other.


          Originally posted by westminster View Post
          'The tenant' may be one individual person or it may be two or more jointly (a joint tenancy). It is irrelevant whether or not the joint tenants know each other.
          Yes, legally irrelevant... but in practice I would echo Snorkerz' comment about strangers (understandably) being unwilling to enter into a legal contract which commits them (and their Guarantors) to liability for the debts of people they do not know.

          It is very unsatisfactory all round, not just from the point of view of shared financial responsibility, but also from the 'cleaning' perspective. With a joint contract, the group usually has joint and exclusive possession of the property; they are responsible for the communal areas as well as their bedrooms. If they cannot agree to share the cleaning (and even groups of friends fail to do this at times), the communal areas will rapidly become unpleasant.

          Much better with strangers sharing to grant separate ASTs, charge a bit more and pay someone to keep the communal areas clean.

          If you are
          '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


            Originally posted by salblue22 View Post
            I am struggling to find a unit of three (eg family), which would make life easier.
            If you aren't up for all the aggravation that 3 separate ASTs will bring, it may be worth your while just hanging in there a bit longer... if you can get a family in, chances are that they may well stay longer and be stable tenants. If that's what you want, of course.

            Are you sure you're pitching the rent at the right rate?


              Very many thanks for the reponses guys


                It is also worth considering that, if the last use of the flat was as a family home, you will be changing the use in planning terms by putting in three unrelated tenants who share common facilities, from a 'dwelling' (use class C3) to a 'small scale House in Multiple Occupation' (use class C4).

                In most areas of England and Wales this change of use (C3 to C4) is permitted without applying for planning permission. However, some councils have what is called an "Article 4 Direction" in place to make obtaining planning permisson a requirement. Also, once you have changed the use class to C4 you cannot change the use back to a C3 dwelling without first obtaining planning permisison.

                IMPORTANT NOTE: If you take any advice given/follow any course of action suggested by me in this or any other post, you do so entirely at your own risk. You must assume that I am not professionally qualified in any particular topic under discussion (and therefore my posts are purely my opinions) unless I explicitly state otherwise.


                  I have a house with 4 men sharing as a 'family'. They are all workmates.

                  It's up to HMO standards with fire alarms but my council does not require firedoors becasue the doors are solid, but does require strips round the doors.

                  I don't need planning permission for it and it's classed as a C3/C4. I have agreed to go in and clean once a week and collect the rent. The boys are very clean and tidy and I only have to whisk round the property with a hoover and a mop. i also look after the garden.

                  This is working really well.

                  I pay the CT and bills. All this is reflected in the rent.


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