Here is a question to the blog clinic from Bev whose son is a student tenant
My son is renting a private flat with 8 other students on a joint tenancy running from 1/9/2012 – 31/7/2013.
One student has failed a retake and has to leave Uni and therefore leave the flat immediately. Because term has started it has so far been impossible to find a replacement.
Father of student refuses point blank to pay any more rent. They had paid one month in advance and paid September. 3 months rent now due from October to December. Landlord has now issued a letter to each of the remaining tenants demanding they each pay 1/8th of the outstanding rent immediately.
What are their rights: if they refuse, can he then chase one for it – I have a feeling it would be my son he would chase, not because he has money, but because he found the flat for them and has had most dealings with the landlord. What happens if no-one pays. Will they be evicted? Will they get a court order? Presumably it will affect their credit ratings (could it also affect ours as parents)?
As this girl had paid the landlord a month in advance and a month on deposit, should he not be taking this money first before chasing anyone else?
Help please – this is now seriously affecting our son and his friends’ ability to concentrate on their exams.
I am afraid Bev that if someone signs a tenancy agreement with another person you are automatically responsible for their share of the rent as well as your own.
This is in the nature of ‘joint and several liability’. ALL of the tenants are liable for ALL or the rent. So the landlord can sue each of them or all of them for any rent outstanding.
If the total rent arrears reach two months worth, the landlord will also be entitled to evict them through the courts – however I suspect he would not do this as he also will find it difficult to find a replacement tenant at this time and he is after all receiving most of the rent. Also the eviction process can take up to six months or more.
He is more likely to bring a claim for a CCJ for the rent. However he can only do this on a month by month basis – so at this moment will only be able to sue for the unpaid rent due at this time (taking into account any rent paid in advance).
Again he probably won’t want to go to court and so will try to persuade you all to pay up by making threats.
So far as the deposit money is concerned, this cannot be taken into account until the tenancy ends, but if there is rent outstanding at that time, all of the deposit money (including other tenants’ share) will be withheld to cover this.
I would also mention that the non payment of rent could be putting the landlord into financial difficulties as he will have to pay his mortgage payments on the property whether all the students pay rent or not.
He will naturally be annoyed about this, and of course it is not his fault that the tenant has left and caused this problem.