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KPB01
24-05-2010, 14:48 PM
Hi all

I was sharing a joint tenancy on a flat last year. I was working and the other tenant was receiving housing benefits. He was not paying the money he received in housing benefits to the landord nor did he pay the landlord his half of the deposit.

The estate agents/landlord and this tenent came an arrangement completely seperate from me in which they agreed he would pay the remaining £600 of the deposit owed in monthly installments of £50 from his benefits so we could move in. This obvioulsy didn't happen and now the estate agent has come back to me requesting this money even tho I wasn't part of this agreement and paid my half of the deposit upfront. The estate agents have sent me a copy of a document signed by myself that does say the whole amount of deposit would be paid via this agreement.

I moved out of the property as soon as I discovered what he was doing and so left the tenancy on the 1st of September 2009, with 3 months still left to run on the tenancy. The landlord had already issued an eviction notice by this time because the rent was not being paid.

The estate agents is now contacting me regarding the £600 he owed in deposit and saying i am liable as it was a joint tenancy signed by both of us even though I paid my £800 share upfront.

Can you please advise me as to where I stand in this situation as it was not my responsibility to make him pay the rent with his housing benefits and what I can do if the estate agents decides to go through the court, surely the benefits office will have to get involved as the tenant was committing fraud? I know this other tenent will not appear at any court case if the matter does go that far so would that get the case thrown out of court or would it all fall onto me?

would it be easier to just make an agreement to pay the £600 to the estate agents and hope they leave it there? even though I had already paid half of everything and the other tenent commited fraud and got away with stealing thousands of pounds in housing benefits? the system is very wrong if this is the case!

Kind Regards

KPB

thesaint
24-05-2010, 15:03 PM
I would suggest that you go and see a housing officer at your local authority to get some advice, but it seems that the letting agent should be chasing you for the money.

From your description, you admit that you owe it as much as the person who didn't pay.

You may also owe another 3 months rent on top of that.

KPB01
24-05-2010, 15:12 PM
ok but as this was a joint tenancy surely the landlord will be chasing both of us for the arrears?

If he isnt going to turn up at court that instantly means the whole deb t falls onto me? how is that a fair system?

I don't mind paying my share of money to resolve the situation as soon as possible but want it to be fair and legal

thesaint
24-05-2010, 16:46 PM
ok but as this was a joint tenancy surely the landlord will be chasing both of us for the arrears?


The landlord can chase you, the other tenant, or both of you.




If he isnt going to turn up at court that instantly means the whole deb t falls onto me? how is that a fair system?


The landlord may not take him to court, so he wouldn't be required to turn up. It's not fair, but you signed on the dotted line saying you agree.




I don't mind paying my share of money to resolve the situation as soon as possible but want it to be fair and legal

I assume it's legal.

mind the gap
24-05-2010, 16:53 PM
You may also owe another 3 months rent on top of that.

Not if an 'eviction notice' (I assume this means a section 8, ground 8 notice) was served before the end of the fixed term, i.e. at 9 months, which is what OP implies.

OP, I think that you may be legally liable for your ex-housemate's pre-eviction debts, as you entered into a joint tenancy agreement with him. They are probably pursuing you (as they are entitled to) because they think it will be easier to get the money out of you than out of him or his guarantor (does he even have one?)

It probably is not much consolation but you may be able to sue him for the money if you end up paying more than half of the costs associated with the joint tenancy - worth getting some specialist legal help on this one.