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What To Do When A Joint Tenancy Splits

Property Technology Blog

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This guest blog is brought to you by Gill Johnson of GKJ Consultancy.

Joint tenancies often pose many issues for landlords. One area of dispute is the issue around giving notice. Can one tenant give notice if the other or others don’t want the tenancy to end?  Well, that depends on the circumstance!

During the fixed term, no break clause.

No right exists for the tenant to end the tenancy early and the landlord does not have to permit this.  You will often hear a tenant say that the landlord is obligated to mitigate the tenant’s losses – not in these circumstances!

Any tenancy can end with mutual agreement including any particular conditions agreed by the parties – the issues around early termination are another matter and often a bone of contention especially if the landlord is looking to making a claim on the deposit for early surrender and the agent has not been very clear and specific about the terms!

During the fixed term with a break clause

In these circumstances even if one tenant properly submits notice in line with the break clause in the tenancy agreement, if the other tenant or tenants do not want the tenancy to end it will not do so. During a fixed term one tenant cannot end the joint tenancy against the wishes of the other or others

Of course it may be possible for the parties to arrange a tenant swap – however this obviously should only be done with the consent of the landlord as he/she may not wish to commit to a further term.  Remember that any tenant under an Assured Shorthold tenancy has the right of occupancy of six months.  Procedures have to be followed regarding the surrender of the original tenancy and the arrangements for the deposit.  

At the end of the fixed term

If one of the tenants writes to the agent or landlord giving notice for the tenancy to end at the end of the fixed term it will be treated as valid and will in effect bring the tenancy to an end.  The notice will be valid even if the other tenants are unhappy about this and don’t want the tenancy to end.  If one or more of the tenants fail to leave, all the joint tenants will remain liable until possession is granted.

During a periodic

Again if one tenant writes giving notice to end the tenancy it will be regarded as valid and binding on all the parties.  The notice period should be in line with the usual time frame for a tenant to serve notice in a periodic, i.e. in line with the period of the term to end on the last day of the period.  If a tenant refused to leave at the end of the notice period the landlord would have to seek possession through the courts as they would for the previous example and, as before, all tenants will remain jointly liable until possession is obtained.

In either of the two above circumstances the landlord could counter serve a notice.

GKJ Consultants Limited is an independent training and consultancy company for the property professional.  For information about our courses and services visit our website: www.gkjconsultants.co.uk

 

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Written by GKJ Consultancy

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