View Full Version : Nightmare co-tenant - PLEASE help

25-03-2008, 21:13 PM
I am so glad I found this site and would greatly appreciate any advice I can get on my situation

In August I took on a 12 month tenancy with a friend who, like me, is a single mother of one on income support in receipt of housing benefit, so we could co-rent a house together.

We moved in on 1st September and by the end of October she had refound the 'love of her life' on the internet. She went to visit him at his home in Hertfordshire (we live in Essex) early November, then went back on the 15th November for a couple of days. Then she disappeared, and didn't make contact with me again until the first week of january.

Since then she has been here and paid her share of the rent (late and under protest)

The problems are that in the 7 month period we have been here she has only paid £60 towards bills (and they were only for her phone call charges to her now 'fiance') and is refusing to pay any of the utility arrears that I am struggling to pay. Not only that, but she is helping herself to mine and my son's food. The reason being that she needs her money either for her own travle to hertfordshire, or to pay her fiance's travel here cos he has no money. She currently has him coming to stay frequently, both on his own and sometimes with his 6-year old daughter, which I think is benefit fraud (?) as she is on income support and I am concerned that I could be in trouble as her housemate.

And the main problem is she only tidies up when he is coming to visit. The house looks like a pig sty as she is incapable of washing up or tidying or cleaning and its so bad my friends feel ill in the house. She is unable to do too much housework, as she is now 3 months pregnant with his child

Please please help because I realy don't know what I can do. I want to ask her to leave, but my dad is our joint guarantor and I have no idea about the legal implications for him

Any help would be very very greatfully received

26-03-2008, 09:12 AM
Her fiances visits are not fraud; as long as they are visits and he has a home to go to. So don't worry on that score.

However, he is using your utilities!!

Basically you are saddled with her for the 12 month period. You need to negotiate with her to consider your feelings and rights.

Your only leverage (apart from appealing to her better side) is that if she does not improve is you say you will give notice to your landlord that you intend to quit at the end of the 12 months and that your joint and several liability will end at the end of the 12 months when you walk away. As the tenancy will end, the guarantour should also be released from obligation.

At the end of a fixed term if one Tenant wishes to stay, but the other Tenant wants to
leave, then the Tenant who leaves has no further obligations to the Landlord. Effectively
a new tenancy is created with the remaining Tenant. A tenant does not have to give
notice to leave at the end of the fixed term. If the tenancy agreement tries to enforce
such an obligation it is likely to be unfair and therefore void. From and article by Painsmith solicitors

Obviously you will need to find new accomodation. It is also a good idea to let your intentions be known to the LL as a matter of courtesy.

The other opton is to negotiate that she moves out permanently, and assigns the tenacy to you alone. You may also need to negotiate with your LL that you have a lodger to help pay rent. You cannot force her to do this. You may need to make it worth her while by saying that you will release from paying the bills, or something.

If you take a lodger, you will be able to evict them with ease if you do not get on, because she is a co-tenant you have no right to evict her.