Agent trying to fill empty room can they do that

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    Agent trying to fill empty room can they do that

    My daughter and four of her unversity friends (all females) rented a private property through an agent in their second year of unversity. (4 parents are guarantors)
    They all signed for year 3 but unfortunately now one of her friends has dropped out.
    They have been trying to advertise the room at unversity without success.
    The agent agreed to advertise it again as a 4 bedroom property stating if they are successful they can all be released from the 3 year.
    Issue is the agent also advertised the empty room and is now saying they have a 'random Male' who wants it.
    Question is can the agent simply do that and want can they do if they dont want this person sharing.
    Would appreciate any advice as ideally l would prefer for my daughter to simply find somewhere with her closest friend.
    Many thanks for your time

    It depends what kind of rental agreement they.have.

    But TBH at this stage they don't have a tenancy agreement for next year. Just a contract to (possibly) start one.

    Once it is a tenancy then:
    fi it's 4 room only agreements then the agency can let a room that isn't taken up.

    If it's a 'joint' or 'joint and several' tenancy then the agents can't legally just let a room to someone else - but the remaing 3 would be legally liable to pay for the empty room.

    At the moment though it seems to be a contract for the next student year and not yet a tenancy.

    It's not unusual to sign a contract to start a student tenancy in the future for next yeat/term - but as you are finding it can cause problems, especially if someone wants to drop.out before the actual tenancy starts.


      What type of contract is your daughter on?
      Is it one contract for all of the four or are they individual agreements for a room and shared access to other areas?
      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).


        Thank you for the replies....l.think that all agreed to rent it next year. I as guarantor for my daughter haven't been contacted yet!
        The tenancy agreements last year named all 4 and wasn't for a room.
        If the remaining 3 stuck it out wouldn't the landlord need to go to number 4 just seems strange number 4 can just walk away as if this is the case why can't my daughter simply do the same.
        Appreciate your help


          Is this the set up where the students sign a joint tenancy, occupy the property for the university term, move out over summer but still pay rent for the unoccupied property, and sign a new fixed term for the start of the new academic year?

          At present there appears to be a joint contract between your daughter & friends and the landlord. As nukecad points out the tenancy doesn't start until the tenants take up occupation of the property. Once a tenancy starts it is possible for the tenancy to be assigned so that instead of the original 4 tenants the tenancy is assigned to the 3 original + 1 new tenants. However, until there is a tenancy in place that can't happen.

          Your daughter and her friends have a contract that gives them exclusive occupation of the whole property, not the property minus the room that will be let to a random so in my opinion, and I will caveat this by saying I am not a lawyer, cannot let the 4th room separate from the rest of the property.

          Equally the landlord does not have to release the 4 of them from the existing contract. That means the tenancy would go ahead as planned and the 4 would remain jointly and severally liable for the whole rent. Your daughter and the two who aren't trying to back out of the contract would then have to try and extract money from person who backed out.

          If I were your daughter I would step up my efforts to find a new 4th Musketeer and I'd be engaging with the university's student advice and support service. There will be people there who can advise students on housing matters.


            Originally posted by Mike777 View Post
            If the remaining 3 stuck it out wouldn't the landlord need to go to number 4 just seems strange number 4 can just walk away as if this is the case why can't my daughter simply do the same.
            Based on what you've said, the agreement is a joint and several tenancy (it should use those words somewhere) with all four students being named as the tenant.

            If that's the case, it's not possible for one of the four to "walk away".
            Each person named as tenant is liable for all of the rent and meeting the contractual obligations - how they divide that liability between them is a matter for them to sort out.

            The person who wants to drop out has the contractual problem, not the remaining three - she's about to break her own agreement with the other three, who have made a decision based on her commitment to be one of the joint tenants, and, if they suffer a loss, could reasonably expect to recover it from her.
            You can't simply make a contractual commitment and then decide not to honour it.

            As the landlord has an agreement with all four people as a joint and several tenant, there's no need for them to do anything or go after one of the four (if they wanted to make a legal claim, it would pretty much have to be against all four of them).
            It's the four who have a problem to resolve, not the agent

            If the four proposed tenants all decide to break the contract, the landlord can claim compensation for the losses that they incur as a consequence, which are limited to those that are reasonably foreseeable by the party who is in breach and have to be kept to a minimum (technically "mitigated".
            If one of the four moves into the property that's the subject of the agreement after the start date, the actual tenancy will begin and the four will be liable for all of the rent for the initial term.

            As as seperate issue, if the property that is the subject of the agreement is the whole of a house or flat, it's not possible for the agent to let one room in it separately.

            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).


              This situation is simpler than it first looks.

              Think of this way (this is simplified, there are legal nuances):

              They are a group, call them "The Tenants", which is one entity that is renting the property from the agent/landlord. (and in this case has agreed to rent it again next year).

              It doesn't matter if "The Tenants" are 1,2, 3, or 4 persons - "The Tenants" have to pay the full rent agreed for the tenancy.
              They are all (should be) named individually on the tenancy agreement.

              What share of the full rent each person pays, however many there are, is then for them to agree between themselves.
              (Someone with a big bedroom might pay more than one with a smaller bedroom, etc).

              You shouldn't normally change one of those persons during a tenancy period, (but it is often done).
              If it is done without starting a whole new tenancy then legally the names on the tenancy agreement are no longer correct, that could cause problems later because the original named person is still liable for paying their share of the rent.

              In this case though it seems simple enough - person #4 wants to leave at the end of the current tenancy fixed term.
              They are still liable to pay their share of the rent until the end of the fixed term.
              (If the 4th has already left then they are still liable for their share of the rent to the other 3 - but the other 3 are still liable for paying the full rent to the agent/landlord).

              Once the current tenancy Fixed Term ends the remaining 3 can either start a new tenancy (as they have already agreed/contracted to do) each paying a bit more to make up the full rent, or they can find a fourth and put the new sharers name on the new tenancy agreement instead of the person who has left.
              It's a new Tenancy Agreement so they can be a different set of "The Tenants". (Just as if the landlord was renting to a totally different set of 4).

              The agent/landlord can't simply force a 4th person on them, but the agent may be willing to help them find a suitable 4th.


                Thanks you all for your replies they are very much appreciated and thank you for the time taken.
                l think we all need to review things based on the information given and discuss things with the agent and landlord to see the best way forward for all concerned. We let you know who it goes ..regards Mike


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