Are three tenants jointly liable for whole rent?

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  • Are three tenants jointly liable for whole rent?

    I'm just about to let a large flat to 3 sharers. I want to ensure if one moves out the others are responsible to pay the whole of rent not just two thirds. If they sign one agreement with all their names on as opposed to three individual agreements am I covered in the event of one moving out ?
    I think that type of agreement is called tenant in common.
    Any advice appreciated thanks

  • #2
    you need an assured shorthold agreement which covers that tenants are jointly and severally liable.

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    • #3
      So if they sign the usual Shorthold Assured tenancy agreement then they must ensure I get paid 100% of the whole rent each month even if one moves out y/n ?
      Is that whaty jointly & several means ?
      Thanks

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      • #4
        Yes if they sign ONE agreement they must ensure between them that the rent is paid. Make this CRYSTAL clear to the tenants though as sometimes they miss that one.
        GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

        Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

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        • #5
          One more point, if I may butt in, can you use a standard AST as a 'joint and several' agreement and maybe add an extra clause or do you have to have a specially written one if it's for for more than one tenant?

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          • #6
            most standard ast's will state that the tenants are responsible jointly and severally

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            • #7
              If I might add a word of caution.

              A joint tenancy cannot exist unless the following four unities exist:

              AG Securities v Vaughan 1990



              (1) Unity of Possession: Each co-owner must be entitled to possession of the whole land with the others. This does not mean that the co-owners must actually occupy the property. If one occupier moves out a joint tenancy will continue unaffected. It is to do with legal entitlements (which parliament can modify, e.g. domestic violence or under the Trust of the Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996) and not be de facto use.

              (2) Unity of Interest: The interest of each tenant must be identical in extent, nature and duration. One cannot have a larger interest than another. No joint tenancy is possible between a freeholder and a leaseholder. Similarly, no single joint tenant can sell or lease the land because he does not have the whole legal estate.

              (3) Unity of Title: All joint tenants must claim title under the same act or document, for example, by the same conveyance or by the same act of adverse possession.

              (4) Unity of Time: The joint tenant’s interest must have been acquired at the same time.

              In other words, if there are locks on the bed room doors, than there cannot be a joint tenancy, for there will be no unity of possession.
              It might be in your interest to have a deed of trust drawn up for it will matter not what the agreement is express to be.

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              • #8
                bill: 'Unity of Possession' summary is almost right- but "possession" does NOT equate to "occupation". One can be in possession by:
                a. occupying; or
                b. receiving rents and profits.
                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).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by justaboutsane View Post
                  Yes if they sign ONE agreement they must ensure between them that the rent is paid. Make this CRYSTAL clear to the tenants though as sometimes they miss that one.
                  This is an important point; unless you lay down the law, tenants can make wrong assumptions regarding their personal liability for rent. It makes it so much easier if you can provide a framework of action in advance of anything happening; eg the correct procedure when one of the tenants gives notice.
                  All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                  * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                  You can search the forums here:

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                  • #10
                    I posted a cautionary note for the benefit of the OP. Co-ownership can be a tricky subject, when you create a joint tenancy, you create de jure one person. That person must have exclusive possession of the whole of the property. If locks are fixed to bedroom ( which is quit common under such circumstances) doors, this would be sufficient to sever the joint tenancy and therefore joint and several liability.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bill65 View Post
                      I posted a cautionary note for the benefit of the OP. Co-ownership can be a tricky subject, when you create a joint tenancy, you create de jure one person. That person must have exclusive possession of the whole of the property. If locks are fixed to bedroom ( which is quit common under such circumstances) doors, this would be sufficient to sever the joint tenancy and therefore joint and several liability.
                      No. That reply confuses:
                      a. legal ownership; and
                      b. equitable (beneficial) ownership.

                      Legal ownership (by two or more) is ALWAYS joint. There is no other way to hold it. They become jointly and severally responsible for all obligations irrespective.

                      Equitable ownership can be joint ("beneficial joint tenants") or in common ("beneficial tenants in comon"). The tenancy obligations have nothing to do with equitable ownership; so lockable bedroom doors leave all obligations jointly and severally binding on all co-tenants.
                      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).

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the advice everyone.

                        The bedrooms doors aren't lockable anyway - my future tenants are an engaged couple so I guess that won't be a problem for them.

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                        • #13
                          ...esoecially as lockable chastity belts seem to have lost popularity in recent centuries...
                          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).

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