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Ports01
14-12-2011, 12:31 PM
Hi,

I have a group of student tenants who are all on one AST for the whole house, contracted until June 2012. One of the students is leaving this month and wants me to help find a replacement tenant. This means registering with the uni and getting the room on the uni student accommodation list, which I don't have a problem with in theory.

But, where I do need a bit of advice is what the repercussions on the the existing contract.

How do I integrate a new tenant into the existing contract?

Do I need to draw up new contract for the remaining 6 months?

The existing deposit is held by DPS which can only be handled as a single unit, so will need resubmission?

I dont mind helping where out I can but this is leading to a lots of effort on my part because the tenant obviously wants get out of paying 6 months rent.

I have a good relationship with my tenants so don't want get all draconian just yet and force the other tenants to pay the other share of the rent. But, if it comes to that, what route should I take to recover the lost rent?

Many thanks for any advice.

MrJohnnyB
14-12-2011, 12:41 PM
Have you told T that wishes to move out that it is his/her problem and he/she will be liable until the end of the fixed term?

If you do end up taking action against remaining T's as jointly liable, I would also advise them that they are able to persue the vacating T.

mind the gap
14-12-2011, 13:24 PM
I agree with MrJohnnyB, except that the problem is not just the departing student's problem - it's the problem of all of them, as legally they are jointly 'The Tenant'. From a practical standpoint, it makes more sense for them (rather than you) to source a new T - ideally, one of their friends. Filing that, someone local who's lived at home so far but would like to be more independent? An international student arriving after Christmas to study here for a semester? Someone who's been living in Hall but hates it? You could find some randomer (try accommodationforstudents.com), but you cannot impose anyone on them if they don't like the sound of them. (If they refused your choice, of course, you could sue them for the shortfall in rent).

Presumably these student tenants have guarantors? If you have made your Gs liable for any debts arising from the tenancy it might be an idea to inform them what's going on so that they canput pressure on their sons/daughters to act quickly to find a suitable new housemate. Otherwise, ultimately, the Gs are the ones who may end up paying...

Make sure you charge the tenants the cost of the admin. generated by having a new contract produced/Deed of assignment drawn up. You can't just cross out one name and add another.

Just out of interest,do you think your departing T understood the concept of a legally binding contract when she/he signed it?

Ports01
14-12-2011, 14:14 PM
Many thanks for your input on this.

T is aware of her responsibilities, whether she chooses to honour them is another question. Being a relatively new landlord, what is the process of pursuing the vacating tenant/guarantors for rent arrears?

mind the gap
14-12-2011, 16:17 PM
Many thanks for your input on this.

T is aware of her responsibilities, whether she chooses to honour them is another question. Being a relatively new landlord, what is the process of pursuing the vacating tenant/guarantors for rent arrears?

Well, if you have asked in writing at least twice for the overdue unpaid rent, but to no avail, moneyclaimonline is probably the simplest. It's worth filling in the claim form and attaching it to a Letter Before Action to the T/G so they can see you're serious abut it. This site explains the process:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingDebt/Makingacourtclaimformoney/DG_195688

It's worth pointing out to the T/G that a court claim on your part can result (assuming they don't pay up) in a County Court Judgement against them, which may seriously affect their credit status for years to come. This often makes them (or their parents) see sense, if nothing else does.

If/When you do find a suitable new tenant, the process for including them in the tenancy is described in this thread - see especially Lawcruncher's #3:

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?22472-change-of-tenants-during-period-of-agreement&highlight=tenant+leaving