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Can I amend AST contract to stipulate that he must end contract in joint name?

Hi all,

Looking for some advice please.

I am a first time landlord and have a potential tenant moving in. This potential tenant has split from his wife and is currently proceeding with a divorce. He is currnetly undergoing reference checks, but his current landlord for the flat that he currenlty shares with his wife is refusing to provide any references. I think this is due to both him and his wife’s names being on the AST contract which started on 30 July 2020 and 6 months will bring it to end of Jan 2021.

Now, I’m confused on what options I have should he move to my flat as he is also liable for his existing contract given his wife for any reason cannot afford to pay the rent (he assures she will be able to as she is on a good salary). If this were to happen he may end up in arrears on my flat.

Potential option I was thinking was to get him to pay the deposit and the first 2 months rent up front. Request him to remove himself from the current joint AST contract at the end of the 6 months (end of Jan).

Additionally, checking with the rent guarantee scheme I intend to take out, they will only pay after 90 days on rent arrears. So this should work, if he doesnt pay for month 4. (For month 3 I could use the deposit to cover the rent if he fails to pay).

Can anyone advise if I am allowed to stipulate in my AST contract to him that he must remove himself from his current joint (with his wife) AST by end of Jan?

Also is there any other recommendations on how best to proceed with this situation?

Any advise is much appreciated.

There is no point adding unenforceable clauses to the tenancy agreement. The would be regarded as unfair contract terms.

If you take 2 months rent up front then you can’t take any further rent until month 3. If you do it will probably be deemed an unprotected deposit.

Rent guarantee insurance is regarded by most experienced landlords I know as not worth having as the circumstances in which they pay out are very limited.

I suggest that you check his finances in detail - bank and credit card statements and if you’re not convinced that he can afford the property with his other commitments, find someone else.

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Appreciate the reponse David.

Sorry for the silly question, but what do you mean by unprotected deposit? As I already have the first 5 weeks worth of rent as the deposit which will get registered with the deposit protection scheme.

Thanks.

Broadly, my understanding of this is that a payment made by a tenant can only be rent if its due and if it is for a known period. A payment of two months rent in advance is legitimate if the contract says its required and as long as its clear which months are being covered. If its not clear which months or if the landlord then takes a further rent payment covering a period which has ostensibly already been paid, then the payment can’t be rent and the deposit legislation says it must then be a security deposit. If its not protected as a security deposit, (and it can’t be if you already have the maximum deposit in protection) then you will have breached the deposit legislation and be liable for a penalty.