One of the tenants is not paying rent?? Pulls out of the agreement, what in that case

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Adaaa
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#1
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#1
Hi,
One of my flatmates had moved out out of sudden and doesn't want to pay their part of rent. We have a joint and several agreement. Does that mean we have to pay for them?
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Reality Check
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Adaaa)
Hi,
One of my flatmates had moved out out of sudden and doesn't want to pay their part of rent. We have a joint and several agreement. Does that mean we have to pay for them?
Yes, that's what 'joint and several' means - you are each individually liable for the whole.
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Adaaa
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Reality Check)
Yes, that's what 'joint and several' means - you are each individually liable for the whole.
So I don't have the right to expect him to pay the rent?
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MaleMan
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#4
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#4
I need to know this too.
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Reality Check
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Adaaa)
So I don't have the right to expect him to pay the rent?
Yes, you do have that right - you have agreed as tenants to share the rent, and you should pursue this errant tenant if he is refusing to pay. However, this is a separate matter to your position with the landlord - your 'joint and several' liability to pay the rent means that the landlord can pursue each of you individually for the full amount.

Do you see the difference? As far as the landlord is concerned, he can enforce the agreement against any one of you individually, regardless of your arrangements to share the rent. He isn't interested in pursuing a tenant who has gone AWOL, because he can get the rent another way - i.e. the remaining tenants!
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MaleMan
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Reality Check)
Yes, you do have that right - you have agreed as tenants to share the rent, and you should pursue this errant tenant if he is refusing to pay. However, this is a separate matter to your position with the landlord - your 'joint and several' liability to pay the rent means that the landlord can pursue each of you individually for the full amount.

Do you see the difference? As far as the landlord is concerned, he can enforce the agreement against any one of you individually, regardless of your arrangements to share the rent. He isn't interested in pursuing a tenant who has gone AWOL, because he can get the rent another way - i.e. the remaining tenants!
But what if the remaining tenants can't/won't pay, then what? Surely it's in everyone's best interests to find a replacement.
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Reality Check
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#7
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#7
(Original post by MaleMan)
But what if the remaining tenants can't/won't pay, then what? Surely it's in everyone's best interests to find a replacement.
Of course - and in practice, this is what probably would happen. But from a legal point of view, the landlord can enforce the agreement against any one of you individually. In other words, if tenants A, B and C promise to pay £1000 to D, then A, B and C have a joint obligation to pay it, but also an individual obligation to pay too. D can make A, B or C pay the £1000, and payment by any one of these people discharges the obligation.

If A and B have to pay the whole £1000 because C has gone AWOL, it is up to A and B to seek redress and reimbursement from C.
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Adaaa
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#8
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#8
(Original post by Reality Check)
Yes, you do have that right - you have agreed as tenants to share the rent, and you should pursue this errant tenant if he is refusing to pay. However, this is a separate matter to your position with the landlord - your 'joint and several' liability to pay the rent means that the landlord can pursue each of you individually for the full amount.

Do you see the difference? As far as the landlord is concerned, he can enforce the agreement against any one of you individually, regardless of your arrangements to share the rent. He isn't interested in pursuing a tenant who has gone AWOL, because he can get the rent another way - i.e. the remaining tenants!
Ah got it, thank you. So when it comes to any legal action I am not able to do anything? Because I don't think I'll be able to get the money from him, unfortunately.
Last edited by Adaaa; 4 months ago
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Reality Check
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Adaaa)
Ah got it, thank you. So when it comes to any legal action I am not able to do anything? Because I don't think I'll be able to get the money from him, unfortunately.
You can attempt to pursue your errant joint tenant for his share - but if you don't think that you will be able to get the money from him, then your options are limited. Your landlord will expect the remaining tenants to pay the full rent, and that is in line with your agreement. It's obviously in your best interests to get a replacement tenant, pronto - but I"m sure that's what you are doing.
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Adaaa
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Reality Check)
You can attempt to pursue your errant joint tenant for his share - but if you don't think that you will be able to get the money from him, then your options are limited. Your landlord will expect the remaining tenants to pay the full rent, and that is in line with your agreement. It's obviously in your best interests to get a replacement tenant, pronto - but I"m sure that's what you are doing.
Thank you for the help
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Reality Check
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Adaaa)
Thank you for the help
No problem
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Wired_1800
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Adaaa)
Thank you for the help
In the future, try to sign individual contracts by renting a room in a flat rather than a joint contract for the entire property. Some landlords don't do it but this is one of the safest ways to avoid unfortunate circumstances where one can leave during the contract and cause issues for other tenants.
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Adaaa
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Wired_1800)
In the future, try to sign individual contracts by renting a room in a flat rather than a joint contract for the entire property. Some landlords don't do it but this is one of the safest ways to avoid unfortunate circumstances where one can leave during the contract and cause issues for other tenants.
Yeah, I'm learning from this mistake... thank you
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GMDB
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Adaaa)
Hi,
One of my flatmates had moved out out of sudden and doesn't want to pay their part of rent. We have a joint and several agreement. Does that mean we have to pay for them?
Adaaa MaleMan

So the advice above about finding a replacement is a good idea, but while that is happening you need to act and get legal advice.

The landlord can pursue any joint tenant or guarantor for the shortfall. But you don't have to pay anything right away. To actually get the money, the landlord would need to obtain an (expensive for the landlord) county court judgement against you - this would take months to even be allocated a hearing so you have time on your side. The landlord could decide you are in breach of your tenancy by not covering the shortfall, but that would mean the landlord would have to try and end your tenancy which again requires waiting months for a court order permitting your eviction. Until the court's decision came in they couldn't legally evict you.

I hope it is clear that this is now a legal matter, and none of us are lawyers so we can't give legal advice! So I strongly suggest accessing some free legal advice from a solicitor experienced in tenancies - try your SU, or any trade union membership or home/contents insurance policies you or your immediate family have for free legal advice. Make sure you confirm at the start of the conversation that the person is a solicitor and is giving free legal advice - as this is now a legal matter and likely beyond the pay grade of a standard "tenancy support" staffer. If they aren't a solicitor and aren't giving legal advice, then ask to speak to someone who is or go somewhere else for proper advice.

If those sources of free legal advice aren't available to you, contact some local solicitors by phone and ask for a free consultation on the situation and what pros/cons are for not paying the shortfall yourself. Many will be happy to offer legal advice in a 15-20 minute chat for free over the phone. The Law Society website has a Find a Solicitor tool that will find all SRA-regulated solicitors in your area. You can then filter by specialism to ensure they are experienced in tenancy disputes.

I would suggest the landlord takes the departed tenant's share of the security deposit to cover some of the shortfall. They may just then give up, but in any event don't let yourself be a cash cow for your departed tenant just to appease your landlord - it's not your fault they moved out and the landlord should exhaust every opportunity (including County Court Judgements against the departed tenant) to get the money from the departed tenant before they come to you begging for money. They could also apply for a Third Party Debt Order to get the money from the departed tenant (means they can still get the money back from even if the departed tenant can't immediately pay by taking a portion of future salaries etc.) so the landlord has options here.

Basically don't go feeling sorry for the landlord and impoverishing yourself as a result - your household's monthly energy Direct Debit alone is going up by 50% in April (never mind the increased share of all bills you have until a replacement is found) - your responsibilty is being able to pay your own rent and larger share of the household bills first before covering the rent of the departed tenant.

My guess here is the landlord will just try to use the whole household's deposit to cover the shortfall (deposit is typically 5 weeks from each tenant, and this should go a long way), so getting your legal advice AND a replacement in ASAP is key to reduce the shortfall. Then dispute any unreasonable deposit deductions that may arise when you move out (take lots of photos as evidence when you move out to ensure they aren't able to line their pockets by another route e.g. charging £400+ for repainting a wall!).

Good luck, let us know how you get on.
Last edited by GMDB; 3 months ago
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Adaaa
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#15
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#15
(Original post by GMDB)
Adaaa MaleMan

So the advice above about finding a replacement is a good idea, but while that is happening you need to act and get legal advice.

The landlord can pursue any joint tenant or guarantor for the shortfall. But you don't have to pay anything right away. To actually get the money, the landlord would need to obtain an (expensive for the landlord) county court judgement against you - this would take months to even be allocated a hearing so you have time on your side. The landlord could decide you are in breach of your tenancy by not covering the shortfall, but that would mean the landlord would have to try and end your tenancy which again requires waiting months for a court order permitting your eviction. Until the court's decision came in they couldn't legally evict you.

I hope it is clear that this is now a legal matter, and none of us are lawyers so we can't give legal advice! So I strongly suggest accessing some free legal advice from a solicitor experienced in tenancies - try your SU, or any trade union membership or home/contents insurance policies you or your immediate family have for free legal advice. Make sure you confirm at the start of the conversation that the person is a solicitor and is giving free legal advice - as this is now a legal matter and likely beyond the pay grade of a standard "tenancy support" staffer. If they aren't a solicitor and aren't giving legal advice, then ask to speak to someone who is or go somewhere else for proper advice.

If those sources of free legal advice aren't available to you, contact some local solicitors by phone and ask for a free consultation on the situation and what pros/cons are for not paying the shortfall yourself. Many will be happy to offer legal advice in a 15-20 minute chat for free over the phone. The Law Society website has a Find a Solicitor tool that will find all SRA-regulated solicitors in your area. You can then filter by specialism to ensure they are experienced in tenancy disputes.

I would suggest the landlord takes the departed tenant's share of the security deposit to cover some of the shortfall. They may just then give up, but in any event don't let yourself be a cash cow for your departed tenant just to appease your landlord - it's not your fault they moved out and the landlord should exhaust every opportunity (including County Court Judgements against the departed tenant) to get the money from the departed tenant before they come to you begging for money. They could also apply for a Third Party Debt Order to get the money from the departed tenant (means they can still get the money back from even if the departed tenant can't immediately pay by taking a portion of future salaries etc.) so the landlord has options here.

Basically don't go feeling sorry for the landlord and impoverishing yourself as a result - your household's monthly energy Direct Debit alone is going up by 50% in April (never mind the increased share of all bills you have until a replacement is found) - your responsibilty is being able to pay your own rent and larger share of the household bills first before covering the rent of the departed tenant.

My guess here is the landlord will just try to use the whole household's deposit to cover the shortfall (deposit is typically 5 weeks from each tenant, and this should go a long way), so getting your legal advice AND a replacement in ASAP is key to reduce the shortfall. Then dispute any unreasonable deposit deductions that may arise when you move out (take lots of photos as evidence when you move out to ensure they aren't able to line their pockets by another route e.g. charging £400+ for repainting a wall!).

Good luck, let us know how you get on.
Thank you so much for your response.
As of now, we are trying to end the tenancy agreement earlier and our agent (we are renting through an agency) is looking for new tenants. Thankfully, the agent has been helpful during this whole thing and is trying to contact the departed tenant and his guarantor. I will ask about the deposit, because to be honest I doubt that the departed tenant will pay his part. But maybe he will surprise me. I will try to get some legal advice form the sources you recommended. I already asked Citizen Advisor office about this matter. They said it might be easier for the landlord to take actions against us, who are still living in the property, even though the departed tenant is still liable for the rent.
Once again, thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
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GMDB
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Adaaa)
Thank you so much for your response.
As of now, we are trying to end the tenancy agreement earlier and our agent (we are renting through an agency) is looking for new tenants. Thankfully, the agent has been helpful during this whole thing and is trying to contact the departed tenant and his guarantor. I will ask about the deposit, because to be honest I doubt that the departed tenant will pay his part. But maybe he will surprise me. I will try to get some legal advice form the sources you recommended. I already asked Citizen Advisor office about this matter. They said it might be easier for the landlord to take actions against us, who are still living in the property, even though the departed tenant is still liable for the rent.
Once again, thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
Adaaa

No problem at all. I'm glad the agent is being helpful, but don't forget they work for the landlord and will work to get the best outcome for the landlord. This may involve unreasonable deposit deductions as per my previous message - so don't forget to take lots of pictures when you move out and contest any unreasonable deductions that arise.

I've protected others from having to pay unreasonable deposit deductions. So if you do get a demand for deposit deductions when you move out, just send me a DM or reply here and I can advise on whether the deductions look reasonable and are worth contesting or not.
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HoldThisL
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Adaaa)
They said it might be easier for the landlord to take actions against us, who are still living in the property, even though the departed tenant is still liable for the rent.
this usually the case since you guys are still in the property so its easier for the landlord to make you answer the demands of the contract

that said, if you end up paying the absentee tenant's rent, you are at every freedom to pursue a small claims order to get them to pay. if the deposit is returned to you guys and not him, you could also use his part of the deposit to cover your own loses although i don't know the legality of that - if you did so he may try to pursue a small claims order against you
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GMDB
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Adaaa)
Thank you so much for your response.
As of now, we are trying to end the tenancy agreement earlier and our agent (we are renting through an agency) is looking for new tenants. Thankfully, the agent has been helpful during this whole thing and is trying to contact the departed tenant and his guarantor. I will ask about the deposit, because to be honest I doubt that the departed tenant will pay his part. But maybe he will surprise me. I will try to get some legal advice form the sources you recommended. I already asked Citizen Advisor office about this matter. They said it might be easier for the landlord to take actions against us, who are still living in the property, even though the departed tenant is still liable for the rent.
Once again, thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.
Adaaa how did you get on?
Last edited by GMDB; 3 months ago
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Adaaa
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#19
Report Thread starter 3 months ago
#19
(Original post by GMDB)
Adaaa how did you get on?
I asked about the deposit, but we are not able to use it instead of rent during the tenancy. In a few days, we have to pay the rent for February and there is still an outstanding part of the departed tenant from January and tbh I don't know if I should just pay more, which would be challenging or wait or what. The departed tenant is not replying and from what I know his guarantor isn't either soo.. I will try to get some legal advice
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GMDB
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Adaaa)
I asked about the deposit, but we are not able to use it instead of rent during the tenancy. In a few days, we have to pay the rent for February and there is still an outstanding part of the departed tenant from January and tbh I don't know if I should just pay more, which would be challenging or wait or what. The departed tenant is not replying and from what I know his guarantor isn't either soo.. I will try to get some legal advice
Adaaa

Don't worry, the security deposit can be used to cover rent arrears. The LL may not want to, but the option is there.

Definitely get that legal advice ASAP, hopefully before you have to decide whether to cover the departed tenant's next rent payment or not.

I should have mentioned that Shelter can provide free legal advice on issues like this over the phone, and they are usually excellent. Their lines are busy (you may have to wait on hold for about an hour or so), but their staff are amazing. So I strongly advise you to get in a queue to speak to Shelter ASAP

If you then need further legal advice, see my prior post for other sources
Last edited by GMDB; 3 months ago
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