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 –

Looking for houses to rent Brighton? We can help. Contact us today to find your student accommodation in Brighton for the next academic year!

Individual tenancies.

We can confirm that at Harringtons Lettings we don’t deal with individual tenancies in relation to properties. Ie where there is a house of say six people and we individual let them out and then deal with the common ways ourselves.

When dealing with student accommodation or any form of property that has multiple people in it we will always require a joint tenancy. A joint tenancy means that all tenants are fully liable for the full rent not the amount they are currently contributing. You may be in a house that is £3,000 per month and six of you contributing £500.00 each. However, you are still liable for the £3,000 because you are singing a contract that is joint and several. We suggest to tenants that they should have one person make payment of the rent and everyone else pay that individual. This allows tenants to understand exactly who has not paid their rent as it will effect everyone.

When signing documentation the contract will be signed by every tenant and then the landlord or Harringtons Lettings or their behalf. This is a long term fixed contract. There are no break clauses in this agreement and it is legally binding. When you enter into an assured short hold tenancy it is for the term of the tenancy ie 6 or 12 months and cannot be broken in between. Without landlords consent and costs being incurred.

There are various types of shared accommodation.

Such as student houses and buildings but when we let property we only let them on a fully joint and several contract.


When taking a property from Harringtons you will need a guarantor. The guarantor is there to ensure that you pay the rent all the way through the term and there are no problems with noise/complaints etc from your neighbours. The guarantor not only has to guarantee your rent but also the rent of other people in the building. Ie your joint and several contract.

We therefore, ensure that all tenants have a guarantor when entering into a property. The only difference would be if one of the tenants wish to pay upfront but we only allow this on multiple tenancies not individual.

It is important you are aware that you are entering into a long term agreement and you should speak to your guarantor before such time as you decide to take the property. You are not in effect renting a private room or having a separate agreement.

In the event that the rent has not been paid then your guarantor may be asked to make payment. If for instance there are six of you in a property and five of you have paid whilst we endeavour to ensure that we contact not only the tenant that hasn’t paid (and this depends on whether you pay the rent as a group and informing us who hasn’t paid) and their guarantor. In the event the guarantor doesn’t make payment it would then fall on all the other tenants and their guarantors in order for them to pay.

It is critical you understand what you are signing as it is a legally blinding contract with the landlord.

Why not read our article on how to pick tenants when dealing with shared accommodation here.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact our lettings team on 01273 724000 or

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google-review Review
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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