This is a slightly unusual problem (for me anyhow)
I have two tenants 3 months into a 12 month AST. The tenants are in the process of separating, the man has physically left the property, the woman remains.
The woman has admitted she can't afford to stay and wants to end the tenancy. She tells me she'll be in arrears within 3 months. The man has stopped contributing financially, but he want's to maintain the tenancy (he claims he's looking for a reconciliation, but refuses to pay for a property he doesn't live in). The man does short term contract work and seems to roam the country staying for a few months at a time in temporary accommodation. (or to put it another way, he's hard to serve notices on!)
The woman (who seems a lot more genuine than the man) can't cover the rent with her wages (this is true, I've seen her payslips) and is currently topping up with her savings to pay the rent. She claims (and I tend to believe her) that her ex-partner wants to keep the tenancy going for the full year to bankrupt her.
The man still communicates with me (via phone and email) but refuses to pay and refuses to contemplate any negotiated early surrender (which is what the woman wants and I'm prepared to accept). It's also obvious that the man knows the system, and knows how hard it will be for me to pin him down to one place for long enough to serve any notices on him.
To summarize, the tenant who's left wants to maintain the tenancy, but the tenant who's stayed wants to end the tenancy!
I'm not sure what the best way to end this as cleanly as possible. I'm prepared to accept an early surrender, but don't believe I can do this unless the request comes from both tenants.
I'm tempted to suggest that the woman simply abandons the property and lets me know so I can take possession - but I'm not sure how this would work if the absent tenant insists that the tenancy remains. The other option is to suggest that the woman simply stops paying her rent - that way as soon as two monthly payments are missed I can take action to remove her and with her co-operation I can get her out relatively quickly and before she actually becomes bankrupt.
The woman has a permanent job and roots in the area, the partner continuously moves about. He knows damn well that she'll be one who ends up actually suffering when it comes to claiming money in the courts.
I've seen the woman's finances, if the tenancy can be ended quickly (within 3/4 months) then she has enough money to pay her rent and remain solvent. If the tenancy drags on more than 4 or 5 months then she'll end up broke and I'll end up with unpaid rent.