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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My daughter and two other students have signed a 12 month fixed

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My daughter and two other students have signed a 12 month fixed term tenancy running July 2013-July 2014 for a 3 bedroomed flat. All parents are acting as guarantors and have signed documents stating that they will cover the rent for the year should their child opt out. Following a complete and irrevocable breakdown in their friendship, my daughter does not feel able to live in this flat. She is looking for someone to take over her tenancy and has received several offers of interest. The other 2 girls have told her that they will not live with a stranger and no matter who she shows the flat to will not agree to a different flat mate. The lettings agent has told us that we have 2 choices - advertise the flat as a three bedroomed or the other students will have to agree to any replacement. As the other tenants have stated that no matter who my daughter shows the flat to they will not agree to it. Can you offer any suggestions as to how my daughter can get out of this contract?

Can you confirm that the other flatmates are not willing to replace all three of them with three completely new prospective tenants?

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Although they have stated that they are willing to move into a 2 bedroomed flat, they are not actively looking for 3 replacement tenants for this outstanding tenancy.

Thanks for your patience.

I assume that your daughter and her flat mates have signed one tenancy agreement in which they are each listed as joint tenants (as opposed to your daughter executing one tenancy agreement with only her as the tenant).

I’m afraid that your daughter and you by extension as guarantor are in a very difficult position here.

Your daughter cannot be replaced on the tenancy agreement by another flatmate without their consent, so they can refuse flatly to another tenant. Your daughter, her flatmates and all of the guarantors would all remain jointly and severally liable under the tenancy agreement. The agent can sue all of you.

Therefore if your daughter simply did not take occupation and did not pay her rent and no other person paid either then arrears would start to accrue. This would mean that the landlord could sue them and all of the guarantors for any amounts owing. They would be able to sue the other flatmate’s parents as guarantors as well even though the arrears would be attributable to your daughter. This should be a fairly good incentive on the other guarantors to “have a word” with their children with a view to sorting this out so that your respective liabilities are minimised.

Ultimately the options are straightforward
1) Your daughter remains there, puts up with it an pays the rent
2) All three of them find three replacement tenants to take over the property with the landlord’s consent
3) The other flatmates agree to a replacement tenant, the landlord consents to this and executes confirmation of the replacement and a written release for you from your guarantee.

I find the best way forward is to cut out the flatmates and approach the guarantors. They are more mature and reasonable generally and can exert pressure on the other flatmates to a reasonable solution.

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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have asked for a copy of the contract that they signed. Apparently they each had individual contracts that all 3 parties signed. Does this sound like a joint and several tenancy?

Many thanks

Yeah, I would expect it to be the same tenancy agreement and each tenant had a copy which was signed by all.

The agent will almost have certainly ensured that joint and several liability is incoporated. It's absolutely standard.

Focus on the other guarantors, best way forward is to negotiate with them by adopting a concilliatory approach but making sure they are aware of the joint and several liability.

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