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Joint Tenants – What to do if Only One Tenant Wants to Leave?

Posted on 06th November 2018 in Property Litigation

Posted by

Josh O’Neill

Trainee Solicitor
Joint Tenants – What to do if Only One Tenant Wants to Leave?

A common issue facing landlords is one tenant in a joint tenancy wanting to leave whilst the other wants to stay. A landlord facing this situation needs to know the rights and obligations of both tenants.

What happens if one tenant leaves the property without giving notice?

The outgoing tenant will continue to liable under the tenancy agreement until terminated or varied by the agreement of both parties. The landlord does not have to remove the outgoing tenant from the tenancy agreement early and it is unusual for them to do so unless there is a guarantor.

Can one joint tenant terminate tenancy agreement?

Unless otherwise stated in the tenancy agreement, a valid termination notice from one joint tenant will end the tenancy for both tenants.

What happens if one joint tenant stays after the tenancy ends?

All tenants must leave once the tenancy has ended and the landlord can commence possession proceedings against anyone who stays. The outgoing tenant will be released from their obligations under the tenancy agreement once the tenancy has ended*.

Can the Landlord accept rent after the tenancy has ended?

A landlord can accept payments from a former tenant for their continued use of the premises at an equivalent rate to the rent the former tenant was paying. These payments are known as mesne profits and do not count as ‘rent’ so the landlord is not creating a new tenancy by accepting the payment. A landlord needs to take care to classify any payments taken as mesne profits to avoid any suggestion a new tenancy has been created.

Conclusion

Landlords are advised to regularly review their tenancy agreements and take legal advice if they have concerns that their joint tenant’s interests are not aligned. Contact us for more information on how Tozers can help protect you.

*except for liabilities incurred before the tenancy ended e.g. rent arrears, damage etc.

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