Names on Agreement – Should I have the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement in one or both of my tenant’s names? They are a married couple and have asked for it to be put in her name only. They also have a child aged 14.
My view is that all adult residents should be on the tenancy agreement as joint tenants. Children do not need to be on the agreement but anyone who is likely to be 18 years old during the course of the tenancy should also be included.
Landlords should always hope for the best but plan for the worst case scenario.
There could be various reasons why one tenant does not want to be on the agreement, one of which could be that they fear a bad credit check result or they are unable to obtain good references.
Surprisingly, scores may not be as badly affected as most people think because of, for example, a CCJ, providing there is evidence that any outstanding debt is being paid off regularly. Assessment of potential tenants should be taken in the round, taking all risk factors into account.
There are two very good reasons why landlords should insist that all the adult occupants are included:
First, imagine the scenario where the couple split, leaving the non-signed up non-working spouse in the property with the child, with no rent being paid – certainly not beyond the realms of possibility in these days of high divorce rates.
Technically, this is no longer your tenant’s main residence so it is no longer an AST. This will not only mean the landlord is responsible for paying the Council Tax, the situation becomes more difficult regarding possession proceedings, dilapidations etc.
Secondly, as joint tenants they would be jointly and individually responsible for paying the rent. If one tenant moves out or is not paying their share, the other one will be responsible for paying it for them.
If neither is paying, the landlord is free to pursue one or both for the full amount of rent or arrears. In practice, you will probably go after the one who is easiest to find or who has the most money, is working, or is just more likely to pay.
When you are anxious to get your property let it’s so easy to bow to the demands of potential paying tenants, but in my experience when you relent on things like this, you generally live to regret it – stick to you guns.
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