landlord refusing to hand over keys

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    landlord refusing to hand over keys

    My son has rented a house with 4 others at uni however one lad has left uni and is refusing to pay his share. The landlord has now told them that he will not hand over the keys until he receives this lads rent. Is this legal? Any advice please?

    The remaining three will certainly have to cover the fourth person's rent, because this will have been a single, joint, tenancy, not four separate ones. However, I think there is a breach of contract on the landlord's side in not handing over the keys, unless the contract specifically states that the first tent must be paid in full to start the tenancy.


      If the five people are on a joint and several contract, which is how student lets are typically set up, the situation is:

      There is (legally speaking) one tenant (who is everyone named as a tenant on the tenancy agreement) and one "rent", which the tenant is required to pay.
      There is no "share" of the rent (whatever arrangement the people involved have come to between themselves), there's just "the rent".

      From the sound of it, the first month's rent (and presumably, the deposit) haven't been paid in full because only 4/5ths of the money has been paid over.
      So the landlord is entitled not to hand over the keys.

      Technically the landlord may be in breach of part of the contract, but handing over the keys creates a tenancy which the landlord isn't able to end, so their action is reasonable in the circumstances (while the tenant is also in breach and can't, reasonably, expect the keys).

      Depending on the wording of the contract, the landlord may not be in breach at all; often the entire agreement is conditional on the payment of the initial rent.

      If the person who hasn't turned up signed (or agreed) to the tenancy agreement at some point, a) the students who are now experiencing a loss could demand compensation from the missing person and b) the missing person is still bound by the agreement.

      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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