Here is a question to the blog clinic from Glyn, who is a tenant:
I was recently evicted from property for rent arrears, which is not my question as I acted pretty badly and accept that.
But, it was a joint tenancy with my ex partner. She moved out before the rent arrears were accrued and the landlord was fully aware of this. We informed the agent for the landlord in writing and the landlord via email. A new tenancy was drafted to reflect the fact my step sister was going to move in, but was never signed and another tenancy was not drawn up to reflect me living in the property alone.
Once the eviction process began, I again informed the landlord in writing and via email that my ex partner had vacated some time ago, but she was still named on the claim form and they are still pursuing her for the rent arrears.
My question is, are they able to do this and surely it should not be allowed as we informed the landlord of her vacating the property a long time before the rent arrears?
I am afraid the answer to this is ‘yes’.
A tenant’s liability under a tenancy agreement is not dependant upon whether they are living in the property or not. The tenant is liable because he or she has signed a tenancy, a legally binding agreement, to pay rent.
This will only end if:
- The landlord signs a new tenancy agreement which does not include the outgoing tenant (in which case they will only be liable for rent up to the time the new agreement starts)
- The tenancy is ended by a court order (eg evicting the tenants) in which case the rent will be due up to the date the remaining tenant is evicted, or
- If the tenant serves a formal ‘notice to quit’ on the landlord. This will end the tenancy and the tenants liability under it, but this can only be done after the end of the fixed term.
So from what you say, it looks as if your partner will be liable.