Falling out between house sharers

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    Falling out between house sharers

    I have a house where we are a short way into a six month joint and severally liable AST. There has been a falling out between one of the sharers and their three housemates, and relationships have become quite poor.

    Is there a way any of them can terminate the agreement early if they need need to. For example, could three of them surrender the tenancy (with my permission), if the fourth didn't want to.

    Help much appreciated.

    #2
    Yes they could as one tenant on a joint and several liability contract can give notice for all but:

    a) If the fourth person doesn't leave you will need a court order to remove them and that takes time.

    b) You could remind fourth person that you would hold them liable for the whole of the rent until such time as you get the whole of the property back empty and keys in your hand (although all four are liable at law).

    Personally I'd let them work it out between them, telling them that if they leave early, you won't revoke your right to rent until you have vacant possession. If it hits them in the pockets they'll soon start seeing sense.

    Comment


      #3
      During fixed term, only all of the collective tenants can negotiate an early surrender.
      Once the tenancy becomes periodic, any of them could surrender.
      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).

      Comment


        #4
        Yes on reflection I do believe that is true.

        Couldn't point me towards the relevant legislation could you old boy?!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by attilathelandlord View Post
          Yes on reflection I do believe that is true.

          Couldn't point me towards the relevant legislation could you old boy?!
          It's not really legislation which gives this answer but, rather, contract law.
          A fixed term AST is like a lease. "Lessee" might be one person or more.

          Anyway, the lessee owns the lease/AST's benefit. Only the lessee can deal with that interest- otherwise, even the ownership of a valuable flat owner-occupied by joint long leaseholders (eg H and W) could be mucked-up when H and W part company and one of them malevolently surrenders to L.

          This is confirmed by s.45(3) of 1988 Act. "Where two or more persons jointly constitute...the tenant..then, except where this Part of this Act otherwise provides, any reference to...the tenant is a reference to all the persons..."

          After the term ends, the periodic tenancy runs on by s.5(2) until one/other/both of H and W terminate it by surrender or Notice at common law (or L ends it by s.8/s.21/etc.)
          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).

          Comment


            #6
            Dear Attila and Jeffrey,

            Thank you for your helpful advice - I will bear it in mind for future discussions with the tenants, if their relationship does not improve.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MDM View Post
              Dear Attila and Jeffrey,

              Thank you for your helpful advice - I will bear it in mind for future discussions with the tenants, if their relationship does not improve.
              Glad to be of help.

              The AST could be assigned (if you are willing to consent to this), from:

              a. four names to three, with:
              i. you releasing Mr 4 from obligations; and
              ii. Mr1/Mr2/Mr3 jointly and severally covenanting to indemnify Mr4 against future obligation compliance; OR

              b. from four names to four names, with:
              i. as above;
              ii. Mr1/Mr2/Mr3/Mr5 covenanting as in ii above; and
              iii. Mr 5 covenanting with Mr1/Mr2/Mr3 (and separately with you) to be jointly and severally responsible for future obligation compliance.

              In either case, make them agree to be responsible for your legal fees as the schemes are for their benefit (not yours).
              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).

              Comment


                #8
                still not getting on well

                one of the tenants (A) is anxious to tell me of breaches of the tenancy agreement by one of the others (B). Namely smoking (which B has admitted to - been told to desist by me but is reportedly persisting) and possibly, hearsay, having furnished a false statement as to his previous renting history.

                I will see (B) again and since it is all going so well (not!) I may issue a section 8 (on grounds 12 and 17, if any further evidence is forthcoming).

                The problem is, the section 8 would have to apply to all of them under their joint AST, not just the tenant who is in breach. Which is hardly going to lighten the mood in the house.

                My key questions are
                1. Can I, if successful in securing a section 8 possession against all 4, re-let to the 3 not-in-breach tenants immediately upon gaining possession(whenever that is) - probably on a room by room basis.
                2. How would a court view this slightly odd situation where the evidence of breach of conditions comes from one of the joint tenants who would, themselves, be "defendant" and "witness for the plaintiff".

                Comment


                  #9
                  You can't get possession re Section 8 mandatory grounds (9 to 17) during the fixed term.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ground 12 is breach of condition of tenancy and ground 17 is recklessly or knowingly making a false statement in order to secure the tenancy. I believe I can apply for discretionary possession on both of these grounds during the fixed term but it requires a court hearing and a decision to grant posession.

                    However, I thought grounds 9 to 17 are always discretionary whether during or beyond the fixed term - which is why, if beyond or near the end of the fixed term I'd go for a section 21 and wait the two months for a mandatory possession order.

                    My RLA section 8 notice tells me that grounds 1,3 to 7, 9 and 16 would not be enforceable during the fixed term, but that the other grounds (including 12 and 17) are enforceable provided they are mentioned in the terms of the tenancy agreement.

                    Comment

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