How to handle a relationship breakdown……

8 01 2013

New Year, New Start.. The start of 2013 has brought a flood of queries on how to handle relationship breakdown in a tenancy agreement. See below a couple of Q&A we have extracted for you.

Question
Got a tenancy where the couple are living together as joint tenants, and he has gone off on holiday for 3 weeks to Pakistan. When he came back to the flat and his partner, he dropped the bombshell that he had gone back to Pakistan to get married! He now wants HER to move out of the flat but the flat was hers in the first place and we only added him onto the tenancy 6 months ago. The tenancy is due for renewal and obviously she would like to stay there and revert back to being the only one named on the agreement.
Answer
You cannot simply sign a tenancy with one party in effect evicting the other. If you wish to end anyone’s tenancy it has to be via Section 21 procedure. Any notice would have to be served on both of them, jointly, as they are “the tenant”.

Question
Tenants, a couple, living at a property together but have split up. The one who moved out gave their keys to the remaining party. As they were in rent arrears, the landlord has offered mutual surrender to the joint tenants; he said he would settle for the deposit against rent arrears and waive the rest. We have not received the keys back and we have heard, but cannot prove, that a third party is now at the property and both original joint tenants have now gone.
Answer
You say that the theory regarding another occupier is just hearsay and you cannot be sure this is correct. The tenancy remains the responsibility of the joint tenants until they grant vacant possession, (i.e. you have made the usual check out visit and accepted return of all the keys). The have not executed their acceptance of the landlord’s offer of mutual surrender, they therefore remain fully liable for the property both financially and for its welfare.

Question
A situation has arisen regarding tenants having a family feud, with the result that one of the family members threw a brick through the window. This was reported to the police and a crime reference number issued. The tenant thinks he shouldn’t pay.
Answer
You say that the terms of the tenancy agreement specifically say that the tenant is liable if friends or visitors cause any damage, if this is so the tenant should pay. (Clause 4.2.4.) Point this out to the tenant and ask them to pay the cost of repair.

if you are a landlord or a tenant with a legal question on your property and/or a tenancy agreement, get in contact with us via stoke-on-trent@belvoirlettings.com for some free advice/guidance.

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