This is a question to the blog clinic from Bianca (not her real name) who is a landlord.
I am a landlord renting to a couple (not married but co-habiting) together with a daughter of the lady tenant all as joint tenants. The fixed period has expired and the tenancy is now continuing as statutory periodic.
The daughter produced some offspring and eventually moved out. The son of the Male tenant seems to be now a permanent resident.
None of this has been officially declared to me so no change has been made to the tenancy. I am not particularly bothered by the events.
My concern is that although I understand that in the above situation the daughter is still legally a tenant, could at any time move back in and still is jointly liable for the rent, if she officially serves a notice of leaving then I understand that that would end the tenancy.
My question is – “what happens then”? What is the legal situation regarding the remaining tenants? Can I evict the remaining tenants? Should I continue to accept rent?
Any advice would be most helpful.
At the moment, as you rightly say, the daughter is still officially a tenant. So, for example, were you to serve a possession notice, she would need to be named on it.
If she serves a tenants Notice to Quit, then this will end the tenancy completely. The situation regarding the remaining tenants will depend on whether they pay rent and if they do whether you accept it.
If they pay rent and you accept it, then a new tenancy will be created under s54(2) of the Law of Property Act 1925. This is the section which says that, although in most cases you need a written deed to create a ‘legal interest in land’ this is not the case for a tenancy with a term of three years or less where the tenants are in occupation and paying rent.
If you did not want the tenancy to continue you would have to start proceedings fairly soon and you would need to be careful about accepting any rent. These proceedings would be on the basis that they no longer have a tenancy.
If you decide to end the tenancy and evict them, then either you should not accept rent at all or payments must only be accepted on the basis that they are an occupation payment only and accepted without any intention to create a new tenancy.
It sounds to me though as if you would be happy to let the tenants stay.
My advice then – unless perhaps there is a particular reason why you want the tenancy to continue as a periodic – is to get a new tenancy agreement signed with the current occupiers. It is never a good idea to let things drift if the people named on the tenancy are different from the people living there after the expiry of the fixed term.