When does joint tenancy end if one tenant gives notice?

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    When does joint tenancy end if one tenant gives notice?

    I'm wondering about where things stand with the ending of a joint tenancy, prompted by some recent posts.

    Imagine a 12-month tenancy with, say, four joint tenants. To remove complexity they are all adults and are not married, co-habiting or related in any other way, just a bunch of house sharers.

    One of them gives notice that they will be moving out at the end of the 12 months and then moves out, leaving his room neat and tidy, clearing all his belongings etc, gives his room key and front door key to the landlord, but the other three stay on.
    • 1. What sort of tenancy is it, who is party to the tenancy and who is liable for the rent?

    I would suspect that it's a periodic tenancy with only the remaining 3 tenants being liable for the full rent, but it could just as well be a periodic tenancy involving all FOUR tenants, or possibly not a tenancy at all if the landlord doesn't agree with the remaining tenants staying on.
    • 2. Does it cease to be a tenancy at all because one of the parties gave notice they were leaving and then left when they said they would?

    • 3. If only one tenant gave notice that they were moving out but TWO of them moved, would the one that moved but didn't give notice they were going to still be liable?

    • 4. Even if a tenant gives notice that they are leaving at the end of the tenancy, should you still serve a S21, just in case they don't all move out?

    • 5. Would the situation be any different if any of the tenants were married or co-habiting? Can't see that it should but there's always room in "The Law" for oddities.

    • 6. What would the repurcussions be if the landlord refuses to accept the keys from the tenant who gave notice and moved out? What are the repurcussions if the landlord DOES accept that one set of keys?


    This is not a REAL situation but one that has puzzled me as many tenancies are joint.

    Look forward to your answers, particularly the legal-eagles who may have come across this kind of thing in the course of their work.

    #2
    If there are 4 sigs on ast then i would require 4 sigs on notice (for them all to leave)..
    Any other situation would have to be by "joint agreement" of all 4 parties on ast PLUS agreement to "new" situation by LL

    If for example the other 3 want to stay, i would suggest that a replacement T is found for the one leaving and "he " pays rent until new T moves in ...

    One going AWOL will leave the other 3(and the one gone awol) on joint and several liability ..meaning you can chase anyone or all of them for rent etc....

    Acceptance/refusal of keys should be AFTER Good and thorough discussion with all parties and a situation present that everyone has agreed to.....


    Simon
    A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
    W.Churchill

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Simon, but I'm not looking to see what you would require but what "The Law" requires. What you have stated is certainly a reasonable take on it but as we all know, "The Law" isn't necessarily reasonable!

      It may be that the landlord WANTS to get the tenants out, if that's the case would your view on what you require be the same? See what I mean?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Surrey View Post
        I'm wondering about where things stand with the ending of a joint tenancy, prompted by some recent posts.

        Imagine a 12-month tenancy with, say, four joint tenants. To remove complexity they are all adults and are not married, co-habiting or related in any other way, just a bunch of house sharers.

        One of them gives notice that they will be moving out at the end of the 12 months and then moves out, leaving his room neat and tidy, clearing all his belongings etc, gives his room key and front door key to the landlord, but the other three stay on.
        • 1. What sort of tenancy is it, who is party to the tenancy and who is liable for the rent?

        I would suspect that it's a periodic tenancy with only the remaining 3 tenants being liable for the full rent, but it could just as well be a periodic tenancy involving all FOUR tenants, or possibly not a tenancy at all if the landlord doesn't agree with the remaining tenants staying on.
        • 2. Does it cease to be a tenancy at all because one of the parties gave notice they were leaving and then left when they said they would?

        • 3. If only one tenant gave notice that they were moving out but TWO of them moved, would the one that moved but didn't give notice they were going to still be liable?

        • 4. Even if a tenant gives notice that they are leaving at the end of the tenancy, should you still serve a S21, just in case they don't all move out?

        • 5. Would the situation be any different if any of the tenants were married or co-habiting? Can't see that it should but there's always room in "The Law" for oddities.

        • 6. What would the repurcussions be if the landlord refuses to accept the keys from the tenant who gave notice and moved out? What are the repurcussions if the landlord DOES accept that one set of keys?


        This is not a REAL situation but one that has puzzled me as many tenancies are joint.

        Look forward to your answers, particularly the legal-eagles who may have come across this kind of thing in the course of their work.
        Yeah...its very complex and i would like to understand more too.

        Read this first.
        http://www.painsmith.co.uk/painsmith...es/sharers.pdf

        From the article it would suggest that T1, or more, is entitled to walk without notice on the last day of the tenancy. Then a new tenancy has been effectively created for all who remain.

        Point 4: it seems to be a jolly good idea to me.

        Point 5; Mrs Dingle's post raises some issues on this.

        Point 6; if the pain smith article is correct, that's the LL problem and not the tenants. He is free.


        It's far simpler once a tenancy has gone periodic, then notice from one tenant ends it for all....no messing.
        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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        Comment


          #5
          Excellent article, that certainly clears up a lot of points.

          So good, in fact, that I think I might refer to it very closely next time I'm getting sharers in, just to make absolutely sure they understand their liabilities.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Surrey View Post
            I'm wondering about where things stand with the ending of a joint tenancy, prompted by some recent posts.

            Imagine a 12-month tenancy with, say, four joint tenants. To remove complexity they are all adults and are not married, co-habiting or related in any other way, just a bunch of house sharers.

            One of them gives notice that they will be moving out at the end of the 12 months and then moves out, leaving his room neat and tidy, clearing all his belongings etc, gives his room key and front door key to the landlord, but the other three stay on.
            • 1. What sort of tenancy is it, who is party to the tenancy and who is liable for the rent?

            I would suspect that it's a periodic tenancy with only the remaining 3 tenants being liable for the full rent, but it could just as well be a periodic tenancy involving all FOUR tenants, or possibly not a tenancy at all if the landlord doesn't agree with the remaining tenants staying on.
            • 2. Does it cease to be a tenancy at all because one of the parties gave notice they were leaving and then left when they said they would?

            • 3. If only one tenant gave notice that they were moving out but TWO of them moved, would the one that moved but didn't give notice they were going to still be liable?

            • 4. Even if a tenant gives notice that they are leaving at the end of the tenancy, should you still serve a S21, just in case they don't all move out?

            • 5. Would the situation be any different if any of the tenants were married or co-habiting? Can't see that it should but there's always room in "The Law" for oddities.

            • 6. What would the repurcussions be if the landlord refuses to accept the keys from the tenant who gave notice and moved out? What are the repurcussions if the landlord DOES accept that one set of keys?


            This is not a REAL situation but one that has puzzled me as many tenancies are joint.

            Look forward to your answers, particularly the legal-eagles who may have come across this kind of thing in the course of their work.


            I would say that your tenancy agreement defines what can and can't be done.

            When any group of people (related or not) sign something in a joint manner, they must understand (and be told anyway) that the law sees them all as one unit & not as 2 3 or 4 individuals.

            Changes to any terms and conditions can only be made by agreement with everyone and only you, as the Landlord can agree to something if you want - the tenants have no basis in law to alter the terms, whatever their circumstances. They have to act as one unit, in law.

            In your scenario, part of the group could leave but only by your permission and with those leaving passing their obligations onto those who remain. It should be understood, however, that notwithstanding this agreement, this action does not release the early-departing tenants from the obligations of the lease, in law. Only when the tenancy is terminated or comes to a natural end are the early-departing tenants released from any and all obligations and responsibilities for the tenancy.

            You should, anyway as a Landlord, know what your tenants are going to do at the end of the tenancy and you shouldn't leave the tenancy to run until its expiry date without knowing what will happen at the end. Around 2-3 months before the expiry date of a tenancy, you should either know what the tenants are going to do at the expiry of the tenancy (and draw up the necessary documentation and get it signed) or you must act to protect your interests by giving all the tenants notice and re-marketing the property yourself in good time. The existing tenants may decide, at the 11th hour, to stay on at the property when the tenancy term expires and may find someone else to replace the person who left, before the tenancy expires.

            Moving is a lot of hassle for people and if they like a property and happy with the rent & landlord, they are even more loath to move. Paying a higher rent because there are less people in the property may be a small price to pay for some people. At the end of a tenancy, you could accept the tenancy to holdover until such time as replacement tenant(s) are found and then create a new agreement.

            If existing tenants all agree for part of the group to leave part way through a tenancy (but only with your permission and with the agreement that the remaining tenants will take on the responsibility for the tenancy by themselves), it is up to the group to find replacement tenants (however they want to arrange that themselves), that are suitable to you as well as those who will remain - then and only then, you should draw up a new agreement for the new group of people and at the same time, terminate the previous agreement with the old group.

            Comment


              #7
              It's always been the case when one of a number of tenants who is a party to an AST serves the landlord Notice to Quit, the tenancy will end upon the Notice becoming effective.

              A landlord will then need to draw up a new tenancy with remaining, and,or replacement tenants. This has been discussed before on the forum.
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                It's always been the case when one of a number of tenants who is a party to an AST serves the landlord Notice to Quit, the tenancy will end upon the Notice becoming effective.
                Broadly speaking, the law states that where there are joint tenants, the tenancy can only continue while all joint tenants want it to continue, unless there is a specific provision to the contrary in the tenancy agreement.

                This was confirmed in the case of Hammersmith and Fulham v Monk [1992] 1 AC 478. This is a House of Lords decision and as far as I am aware remains the leading authority on the point.

                The principle behind the decision goes back over 150 years, which is that it is "unconscionable" that all should remain bound for as long as only one of them should choose. It should only continue for so long as all joint tenants want it to. A notice to quit served by one joint tenant is therefore effective.

                Of course, the validity and effect of the notice to quit, and whether there is a breach of the tenancy agreement, is still governed by the provisions of the agreement in any event.

                However, that does not mean that any act by a single joint tenant is always effective.

                Distinction has been made between acts such as giving notice to quit, and other acts such as exercising a break clause, or an option to renew, or effecting a surrender.

                These are considered "positive" acts and therefore all joint tenants must agree (see Hounslow v Pilling [1993] 1WLR 1242 Court of Appeal).

                Personally, I'm not sure that this is an obvious distinction - after all the practical effect of giving notice to quit is fundamentally the same as exercising a break clause - it is indicating that the tenant no longer wishes to continue the tenancy and terminating at a given date.

                I haven't read the Pilling judgment so I don't know exactly how Monk was distinguished, however that is the distinction that the Courts have made.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Tanel: why reply to a thread that stopped over two years ago? What secrets do you know about it that we don't?
                  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


                    #10
                    Sorry for dredging this up. I did not want to create a new thread and this is the first one I found on this very issue.

                    I want to ask for clarification on a point. Can a joint tenancy can be ended by one of the tenants on the last day of the fixed term?

                    The replies to this thread suggest yes but others argue that an individual tenant (within a joint agreement) cannot end the tenancy unilaterally until a statutory periodic tenancy begins.

                    In my view, that argument is illogical as it effectively binds individuals within a joint tenancy for longer than the agreed fixed term.

                    Any help or clarification would be appreciated.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yes. If T1 and T2 hold jointly, term expiry ends their obligations. The tenancy continues only if they both so wish; either can end it on term expiry.
                      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


                        #12
                        Just as I thought. Anything else seems a tad illogical.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          T1 gives notice to end joint tenancy, but T2 does not move out. Therefore the 'tenant' (being T1 & T2 jointly) has not left the property and as such the tenancy has not come to an end.

                          If the tenancy has not come to an end - T1 & T2 are still jointly liable.

                          As the tenancy did not end when the tenants notice expired, the tenant (T1 & T2 jointly) is liable to pay double rent under the 1737 Act.

                          Discuss

                          Comment


                            #14
                            That is the opposing argument but it does not seem to be fair.

                            I would argue that 'the Tenant' could only exist while all individuals are willing to stay in the property. If one of the joint tenants leave at the end then the existing agreement comes to an end and no periodic tenancy can arise. If the remaining tenant does not move out on expiry of the agreement, they effectively enter into a new unwritten 6 month AST with the LL.

                            If we take the argument Snorkerz put forward, logically the tenancy could never come to an end if there is no unanimity on the part of the joint tenants in giving notice to leave.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Darn it - too late to edit my last post. I should add that I personally subscribe to the 'any joint tenant can serve notice' brigade, yet I offer my version to stimulate discussion - as I can't see anything in my proposals that flies in the face of the law as it stands.

                              Comment

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