The Differences Between Shared House Tenancy Agreements

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  • The Differences Between Shared House Tenancy Agreements

Student accommodation in Brighton, whether a house or a flat, can have difficulties on tenancy agreements. Sometimes landlords and tenants struggle with it. There are complex legal frameworks relating to the tenancy to consider. These protect both the landlord and the tenants.

When renting to a group of people there are two ways of doing things: –

Joint Tenancy

This is where all the tenants share the house and its utilities. The bills and rent are considered as a house rather than individual tenants. Please see our separate article “Utility Bills and Council Tax explained” for more information regarding this –

All the tenants will sign one tenancy agreement, and all will be equally responsible for the rent as a whole. If a tenant falls into arrears, then the other tenants and their guarantors can be chased for the money. All guarantors relating to the tenants will also need to sign a guarantee agreement. This will mirror the names of the tenancy agreement and they too are held jointly liable for the rent. It is not possible to have a joint tenancy where the guarantors are not jointly liable.

These forms of tenancies joint and several contracts are common for groups. It is appreciated that sometimes they do not know each other.

Joint tenancies are advantageous to a Landlord because of the joint and several liability. The landlord does not have to chase one individual for the arrears or damage to the property. The landlord can chase all the tenants and guarantors. They therefore stand a better chance of recovering the arrears. Joint liability will also mean that each tenant will want to ensure the other tenants pay their rent on time.

An advantage to the tenants is that they have complete control over who resides in the property. The tenants can choose to replace the outgoing tenant with someone of their choice. Alternatively, the outgoing tenant can continue paying the rent until the end of the tenancy term.

What happens when a tenant wants to swap over on a joint tenancy?

Landlords must ensure that all paperwork is updated. If a tenant changes the paperwork must be correct. All the tenants must appear on the tenancy agreement. The landlord must create a new tenancy and new guarantor paperwork. Then all the remaining/new tenants must sign the new tenancy. New guarantor forms will need to be drawn up mirroring the new tenancy agreement.

Individual Tenancies

Individual rooms are let out to individual tenants on a single tenancy. The tenants are solely responsible for their room and their rent. They will, however, share common facilities such as the kitchen, lounge, and bathroom.

All the tenants will sign individual contracts and will only be responsible for their share of the rent.

A group of students will not have individual tenancies. Individual people rent out rooms.

Tenants on individual contracts are free to move in and out of a property. They have their own individual tenancy. It just depends on whether the tenancy is at the end. The landlord can then find and replace tenants as and when they leave. The only problem for tenants on induvial tenancies is who they are living with. They have no control over who moves in and who moves out.

If you are new to renting, please head over to the government website to learn more on the different types of tenancies available –

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