View Full Version : Low-income new co-tenant... or permitted occupier?

10-02-2010, 08:58 AM
I'm probably about to offer an AST to a 'new' couple; he earns enough to cover the rent alone but she certainly doesn't.

I know there's the possible guarantor option to consider; but failing that, in terms of covering my back against the possibility of them splitting and him moving out leaving her in the property, is there any value to me in offering the tenancy to him as a sole tenant with her as a permitted occupier, as opposed to offering them a joint tenancy? ie, would it be easier to remove her that way?

Any other considerations here?

10-02-2010, 10:23 AM
If she is on as permitted occupier, as I understand it, it won't be any easier removing her if she decides to stay put. You'd still have to obtain possession through the normal channels. Unless you could "persuade" her to leave because she has no tenancy rights?? If she's earning at all, then best give them joint tenancies.

10-02-2010, 10:31 AM
Perhaps you should look particularly carefully at the womans background.
Has she a good rental history etc.?
You will only have a problem if the man (following the anticipated breakup) gives proper notice to leave and she decides to stay on as long as possible.
If you think this is a possibility but you still want to accept them as tenants, then you could ask for nearly two months deposit and/or a Guarantor.
I think I'd feel slightly safer with him as sole tenant rather than joint tenant.

10-02-2010, 18:41 PM
Thanks both. So that's one-all for joint tenant vs permitted occupier! Any legal eagles have a view?!

For sure I'm currently vetting them both, as I always do. They have no renting history as they are youngsters setting up their first home, which being realistic, is obviously a little different from letting to a couple who've been married 20 years. That said I have a good 'gut' feeling about them and provided the refs pan out I'm happy to take them on.

She does have an income, but just not enough to afford the rent alone.

10-02-2010, 18:44 PM
I'd lean towards letting to both of them. Why would two joint and several debtors be a weaker 'covenant' than only one of them?

10-02-2010, 18:53 PM
I vote for joint tenants if she has any kind of income/is a worker; can't hurt to have someone else to claim against (for up to 6 years later), and it might help reinforce their sense of being a couple blah blah. Love is...individual and joint liability for the rent <3

And eviction is...eviction - much the same whoever it is you want rid of.

Mind you, in her shoes I wouldn't want to be JT in case the boyfriend did a runner (but I'm sure neither of them have any inkling that young love is not always forever).

10-02-2010, 19:27 PM
they are youngsters setting up their first home.
They are both aged 18 or over, are they?

10-02-2010, 20:04 PM
I too would lean towards a joint tenancy.

The question is a good one, though, because there are circumstances when a sole tenancy might be better. For example, if you think the main earner is likely to leave very early on in the tenancy (long before the end of the initial six months in the case of a typical AST) leaving someone in situ who simply cannot afford the rent but who nevertheless enjoys a high degree of security. Or conversely, you think they may split up and you want the main earner to be in a stronger position to remove the other party (this assumes that they are not married).

These situations are reasonably common in the social housing sector where secure or fully assured tenancies are granted and secruity of tenure is much greater. It is not unusual for the landlord to require the relationship to have subsisted for a reasonable period of time before granting a joint tenancy.

In the case of assured shortholds, though, the issue is far less significant. It would be rare for such problems to arise right at the start of the tenancy.

As a result it is, generally, best to go for joint tenancies on the principle that, as others have pointed out, you have two people to sue rather than one.

10-02-2010, 21:17 PM
Thanks very much people, I think that settles it then!

(and yes, both are over 18)