Joint Tenancy & Guest Moving In

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    Joint Tenancy & Guest Moving In

    Hi there,

    I'm currently having an issue with a joint tenancy (student house) of six people. One tenant has been having his girlfriend, who lives in another part of the UK, to stay in the house for a full week every other week, sometimes longer. He has not been in the house for two months, but now plans to return and have his girlfriend live in the house full time as his 'support bubble' (he suffers from depression).

    The remaining five of us do not consent to her presence in the house for these periods of time, especially during a pandemic when her travel to and from the house is against lockdown rules, and two of the tenants are clinically vulnerable - together they previously attended illegal large house parties and seem to not care about the pandemic or national lockdown. This is on top of the issues of her not paying bills, helping herself to the products and property of other tenants, and generally being rude and unpleasant with the other tenants. We have tried to discuss this with that tenant as well as his parents, but they have been unwilling to communicate and at times very unpleasant with us - we don't want to prevent her coming to the house all together, just limit how frequently she is coming to the house and the lengths of time she stays.

    Having done some research, I've seen that landlords are generally unable to say a guest cannot stay, but I've been unable to find any information about how we could handle this given the global pandemic and current lockdown rules. Would it be possible for us to report a breach of the property license should our landlord and letting agent do nothing to prevent her moving in? As far as I'm aware the rules governing support bubbles do not support their claim either, given that we are a household and that tenant is obviously not living alone.

    The property is licensed for six people, and the tenancy agreement names only the six tenants. It doesn't say anything about guests (as most contracts don't, it seems) but there is a clause against subletting the property, and another clause about the property being for the enjoyment of the six tenants only.

    Thanks for any help that anyone can provide on this!

    As a licensed HMO landlord I can advise that the license conditions must be strictly followed and the numbers of 'persons' shown in the license complied with.
    Breaking these conditions has serious consequences for the landlord, including fines up to £30,000 for each offence, and several may be being comiitted here.

    Your question is what constitutes a 'guest'.
    The AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) I issue allows tenants to have guests stay.
    The guest must have a permanent address elsewhere.
    Often it is for a relative who visits from abroad, stays for a week or so, but then is gone and doesn't return until say next year.
    My understanding is that a guest can stay for up to 2 weeks, then after that it is seen as subletting, which the AST does not allow, and so the tenant is breaking the terms of the contract.
    A section 8 would need to be issued to regain possession, with evidence and witness statements, enough to convince a magistrate in a court.

    Your difficulty is also the coming and going, where I have had couples that live apart and one stays over, on a regular basis, I always suggest that its a two way street, and they then need to stay at the others place an equal amount of time - otherwise I see it as them using the room for two, not one person - which my Licence dictates cannot happen.

    My understanding of the Management of Houses in Mutliple Occupation legislation, which we operate under puts the ounus on the landlord to manage numbers correctly. So although the council issue the Licence, they will direct the landlord to take what ever action is needed to comply, if they find fault with compliance.

    I am interested what others wish to comment here.


      Has he told you in writing (or in the presence of a witness) that he is moving her in full time?

      My first reaction is that I would write to him formally stating that this would be in breach of his tenancy agreement and if he does this I would be forced to:
      1) report his actions to the police for breach of the covid legislation, (I believe his excuse is not legitimate)
      2) immediately serve him with notice to seek to end his tenancy
      3) take court action against him and if necessary any guarantor to ensure that any costs incurred as a result of him breaching your HMO licence and planning conditions are awarded to him, along with your legal costs.

      I would copy the letter to his guarantor if he has one.


        The simplest of options is to check with your local authority and see how many people the property is licensed for,

        If it's six, tell the landlord that the actions of one of his tenants will put him over the limit for occupants.
        Breaching the terms of an HMO licence isn't a trivial matter and can be very costly.

        The landlord's options are actually quite limited, but it may persuade them that letting the person move out and be replaced might be an option.
        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).


          DPT57, you seem to think OP is the landlord, when in fact he is one of six joint tenants.
          '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 mind the gap View Post
            DPT57, you seem to think OP is the landlord, when in fact he is one of six joint tenants.
            Oops. Looks like youre right. I didn't read it properly.


              In your shoes, I would wish to get the landlord involved as he/she has a vested interest in ensuring that the HMO licence conditions are not breached. However as (I assume) you are all tenants on a joint and several basis, if the offending tenant chooses to leave, whilst he and his guarantor will be liable for a share of the balance of the remaining rent/costs, so too will you the rest of you, in your joint and several capacity, so be aware of that, especially if the offending tenant does not pay up.


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