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View Full Version : Joint AST tenancy; one of three Ts left before start



t_a_o
20-01-2009, 16:46 PM
Hi,

I need some advice on the following issue:

Three of us originally signed the agreement, one pulled out before tenancy commenced. This person then found a replacement who we (the remaining two) are not happy with. The replacement tenant was added to our agreement without our consent or updated signature.

In the agreement it states that any damage to the property or unpaid rent by any of the tenants will result in all of us being liable. As a result of this and the untrustworthy nature of the replacement tenant I was wondering if the agreement was still valid, if we could all pull out, or have the person removed.

Many thanks in advance,

Tom.

mind the gap
20-01-2009, 18:22 PM
Hi,

I need some advice on the following issue:

Three of us originally signed the agreement, one pulled out before tenancy commenced. This person then found a replacement who we (the remaining two) are not happy with. The replacement tenant was added to our agreement without our consent or updated signature.

In the agreement it states that any damage to the property or unpaid rent by any of the tenants will result in all of us being liable. As a result of this and the untrustworthy nature of the replacement tenant I was wondering if the agreement was still valid, if we could all pull out, or have the person removed.

Many thanks in advance,

Tom.

The agreement you all signed binds you all, (including the person who left) to pay the rent for the full fixed term of the AST. It's not OK for people to dip in and out as the mood takes them. It's a legally binding contract. If you all back out now the LL can sue you for the full rent for 6 or12 months.

If the 'replacement' tenant has not been approved by the LL and a new AST drawn up with his/her name on it, and signed by you all, s/he is not a tenant and cannot legally be pursued for rent. The original person can., as that contract still holds. Who added the replacement teant's name to the agreement without your consent?

Unless you can persuade the LL to release you all (which I very much doubt), then no, you cannot all pull out. What would be the point of a contract, if you could?

t_a_o
20-01-2009, 19:42 PM
Thanks for the fast reply.

In response to your question the replacement tenants name was added to the first contract by an employee of the lettings agent. As far as I am aware the original tenant was simply crossed off and the new one added. Again, this was done with neither mine or the other initial tenants presence or consent either verbal or written. My copy of the contract still holds the resignees signature and an updated one was not given to me.

Not being able to withdraw from the contract entirely is not really an issue. This was just something that was suggested may be an option by someone who didn't really know the ins and outs of the legality. Myself and the other original tenant are quite happy to fulfill the existing contract providing the other person leaves. If it means the person who initially pulled out will still be liable for rent then so be it. It's their responsibility essentially.

The main concern at the moment is that we have a unreasonable person living with us who has been aggressive and threatening. Where do we go from here? Do we have the legal right to remove this person or get them removed? What is the best way of going about this?

Thanks again.

mind the gap
20-01-2009, 19:58 PM
Thanks for the fast reply.

In response to your question the replacement tenants name was added to the first contract by an employee of the lettings agent. As far as I am aware the original tenant was simply crossed off and the new one added. Again, this was done with neither mine or the other initial tenants presence or consent either verbal or written. My copy of the contract still holds the resignees signature and an updated one was not given to me.

Not being able to withdraw from the contract entirely is not really an issue. This was just something that was suggested may be an option by someone who didn't really know the ins and outs of the legality. Myself and the other original tenant are quite happy to fulfill the existing contract providing the other person leaves. If it means the person who initially pulled out will still be liable for rent then so be it. It's their responsibility essentially.

The main concern at the moment is that we have a unreasonable person living with us who has been aggressive and threatening. Where do we go from here? Do we have the legal right to remove this person or get them removed? What is the best way of going about this?

Thanks again.

Thank you for explaining that. The letting agent was acting unprofessionally in crossing out one name and adding another. The consent of the other joint tenants to the change should have been sought and a new AST agreement drawn up and signed. The original contract you hold is still valid.

Bear in mind that although the person who pulled out is still liable for rent, it is not the case that the LL need necessarily pursue him for what you other two consider to be 'his' share (presumably one third of total). You are all three 'jointly and severally liable'; LL can pursue any or all of you for the shortfall. If your original guy disappears off the radar, LL might decide to go after you/your guarantors as well/instead.

Perhaps one of the lawyers could advise as to status of the unpleasant T whom you want to get rid of. Has he already paid any rent?

jeffrey
20-01-2009, 20:12 PM
If X (one of three joint tenants) behaves objectionably, it is L- not the others, Y and Z- who can take contractual action against X. There is:
a. no contract between X of the first part, Y of the second part, and Z of the third part; merely
b. an AST between L of the one part and X+Y+Z all of the other part.
The three are jointly and severally liable but only to L (not to each other). Y and Z's only remedies against X are non-contractual, e.g.
i. to sue X in person, if there is sufficient evidence of a tort; or
ii. to try and escape the AST entirely, either on fixed temr expiry or (only with L's consent) earlier.

mind the gap
20-01-2009, 20:24 PM
If X (one of three joint tenants) behaves objectionably, it is L- not the others, Y and Z- who can take contractual action against X. There is:
a. no contract between X of the first part, Y of the second part, and Z of the third part; merely
b. an AST between L of the one part and X+Y+Z all of the other part.
The three are jointly and severally liable but only to L (not to each other). Y and Z's only remedies against X are non-contractual, e.g.
i. to sue X in person, if there is sufficient evidence of a tort; or
ii. to try and escape the AST entirely, either on fixed temr expiry or (only with L's consent) earlier.

Thank you - but is the unpleasant one (say X) definitely a tenant?

I know he was promised and given a joint tenancy (by the agent bodging the contract) with Y and Z, (X+Y+Z), however, there was already a joint tenancy (Y+Z+W) in existence (wasn't there?) - see #1. Which one is enforceable as they both cannot be, can they?

Sounds as if W never actually moved in, though - but X did; does that change things?

t_a_o
20-01-2009, 20:25 PM
Thanks for clarifying this.

We have been in the property for four months and he has paid some rent, although I was told by the agent yesterday when I paid mine, that he was behind a month.

You said he was not actually a tenant, legally, is this definatley the case? Just to confirm, if after I tell him this he decides to leave, will he be liable for rent or is his contract invalid? This may be an incentive for him to just leave.

My guarantour has not actually signed anything, is he still liable?

Thank you.

jeffrey
20-01-2009, 20:27 PM
A contract- even an AST- can be oral. If AST1 never took effect, AST2 could well have supplanted it (as rent was paid under AST2). Both can't exist simultaneously, true; but this mess is a largely foreseeable consequence of A who ****ed-up AST1 simply to save time or money.

jeffrey
20-01-2009, 20:31 PM
My guarantor has not actually signed anything, is he still liable?
No. A Guarantor is never liable if he/she signed nothing [Statute of Frauds]; and, according to many opinions (inc. mine), not even then unless a formal Deed of Guarantee is executed and completed.

mind the gap
20-01-2009, 20:31 PM
Thanks for clarifying this.

We have been in the property for four months and he has paid some rent, although I was told by the agent yesterday when I paid mine, that he was behind a month.

You said he was not actually a tenant, legally, is this definatley the case? Just to confirm, if after I tell him this he decides to leave, will he be liable for rent or is his contract invalid? This may be an incentive for him to just leave.

My guarantour has not actually signed anything, is he still liable?

Thank you.

I'm still trying to establish his status - see what Jeffrey says in repsonse to my last post.

If he is a tenant, he will still be liable for rent even if he ups and leaves(as I described in #2), so will probably not be too thrilled about being told to go.

If he isn't, he won't be (liable). But the original three will.

If your guarantor has not signed anything, my understanding is that s/he has had a lucky escape. Deeds of guarantor, to be enforceable, must be executed as a deed, signed and witnessed.

t_a_o
20-01-2009, 20:36 PM
A contract- even an AST- can be oral. If AST1 never took effect, AST2 could well have supplanted it (as rent was paid under AST2). Both can't exist simultaneously, true; but this mess is a largely foreseeable consequence of A who ****ed-up AST1 simply to save time or money.

Is it legal for AST2 to be supplanted for X without Y or Z agreeing to it either verbally or written?

Thank you.

mind the gap
20-01-2009, 20:36 PM
OK, sounds as if he is a tenant and the second TA is valid as X has moved in and W didn't. What a mess.

To get rid of him now, you will need

(i) to get him to agree to go, and LL to let him (with no further liability for rent)
then,
(ii) presumably, unless you can afford the whole rent between you two Y and Z, find someone else.

I think you have ended up with the 'shitty end of the stick', as they say. I'm sorry.

Just seen your post above and I agree, it's a good question. However, it could be argued that by allowing him to move in, and living there for 4 months, you agreed to his being part of the joint tenancy

t_a_o
20-01-2009, 20:42 PM
OK, sounds as if he is a tenant and the second TA is valid as X has moved in and W didn't. What a mess.

To get rid of him now, you will need

(i) to get him to agree to go, and LL to let him (with no further liability for rent)
then,
(ii) presumably, unless you can afford the whole rent between you two Y and Z, find someone else.

I think you have ended up with the 'shitty end of the stick', as they say. I'm sorry.

Just seen your post above and I agree, it's a good question. However, it could be argued that by allowing him to move in, and living there for 4 months, you agreed to his being part of the joint tenancy

Ha ha... it still seems bizzarre to me that someone can be entered into a contractual agreement that has direct financial ramifications on the other parties involved without their consent. Lets just hope he doesn't trash the place and pinch the washing machine.

Thanks for your help and advice.

mind the gap
20-01-2009, 20:50 PM
Ha ha... it still seems bizzarre to me that someone can be entered into a contractual agreement that has direct financial ramifications on the other parties involved without their consent. Lets just hope he doesn't trash the place and pinch the washing machine.

Thanks for your help and advice.

You're welcome. But the more I think about it, the more I incline to the view that allowing him to join you in the property = your consent. I hope you give your original friend a lot of grief about this!

Keep a log of any aggressive and threatening behaviour exhibited by your current housemate; call the police if he is violent towards you, and continue to explore the possibility of replacing him, subject to conditions, above.

Good luck - I imagine it isn't easy living with someone you both dislike/distrust.

Rivet the washing machine to the floor!