OpenRent Community

Change/update the contract during the fixed term

Can we change/update the tenant in the contract during the fixed term. I rented my house to a couple about 3 weeks ago and now one of them (lead tenant) wants to move out and other one wants to stay in. What is the process on OpenRent and what are the implications for me as a landlord ? I don’t know yet, if someone else will be moving in or not but most likely I will need someone in the contract to cover the rent I guess .

You can change tenant but most importantly would you have given a sole tenancy to the remaining tenant, ie can he/she afford rent on own? If not then I would say the lead tenant needs to stay on the agreement and be liable for rent if remaining tenant doesn’t pay or they both need to agree to leave and the tenancy is surrendered.

I wouldn’t take a relatively new tenant off thecagreement in the hope that at sometime someone will be added who can afford to pay you.

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What do you want to do?
What does the remaining tenant want?
They signed to a contract and thus they are liable for the term
Whether one person leaves or not they are all liable for rent for the term
This is about what you want not what they want. The law is in your favour.

If you want to change liability you have to start from scratch. serving notices. Refunding deposits and resubmitting deposits and a new contract
Depends on your goodwill and how much of a headache you want

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Can the remaining tenant afford it on their own? If not are they planning to bring someone else into the property? Your best bet for the moment may be to do nothing. The person who leaves is still a tenant and still liable for the rent so if the one who remains doesn’t pay the full rent, you can go after the other too.

If you are concerned about whether the one who is remaining can/will pay all the rent, then I would offer them the option of both surrendering as an alternative.

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Well this is interesting as I’ve recently had this too. From bitter experience surrender the contract with them both signing this, regardless of what you want if one wants to leave there is little point forcing him to stay or pay even if the law is on your side. This can be costly to
Enforce and a headache especially if the relationship has broken down which is what happened to my tenants. You can download one of these.
Then set up a new contract in the remaining tenants name (check the remaining tenants affordability as he may not have passed previous referencing for affordability on his own) If not I would ask for a guarantor as with one sole income and current job situations he may struggle to pay should he lose his job and you then have no backup. You should be able to still use the same inventory. Ask if he intends moving someone else in as surely you would want to meet them and reference them
I would also ask for half the deposit to be returned to you and the other half to the leaving tenant. You can then Re register it in the remaining tenants name once he gives you a further half otherwise for a period of time you may not have any deposit or a smaller amount.
Don’t be too accommodating as from experience I’ve done this and it has always backfired on me.

Thanks all for your advice on this so far. I like the idea of surrender of contract.

I have had a written notice from one tenant willing to leave and other wanting to stay. Still awaiting further information from them about the remaining tenant’s affordability and if someone else will be added to the tenancy agreement.
I have clearly mentioned to them I am unable to accept their notice until I have got the information above. It’s been a few days since then, and still awaiting fa response from them. Until then I guess I need to sit tight and wait.

You may not get a further response from them and if so, then the existing tenancy continues whether the tenant is living there of not.

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Right, I have finally had a confirmation the the remaining tenant cannot afford the property on their own. So we are now going to end the tenancy with mutual agreement.

Get a deed of surrender signed so it’s formalised

How does the returning of deposit work in this scenario. The deed of surrender template seems to suggest that deposit has been returned already at time of signing . Any one can share a template that ensures we promise to return the deposit if all is ok after an inspection ?

A deed of surrender is a real time process.
It is in effect once it is signed.

The only option would be that you do not sign if the property is not returned in the condition it was given to them.
I have used them in hostile situations so my solicitor has said stop worrying about what the condition of the property looks like as you are getting your property back. He always reminds me to look at the bigger picture!
The other option is you just don’t sign the surrender, but then you risk dragging the process out.
The tenant cannot afford the property and you need it back to let out again asap so you are not losing revenue.
In reality terms of the surrender need to be met before it is signed (we ask for the deposit -the tenant releases it before hand- and a months rent as compensation for releasing the tenant from the contract.)
My solicitor drafts the deed and we pass the cost onto the tenant in advance of the surrender as part of the terms ( that is written in an email ).

You’re right PatS. By default, a deed assumes that no further monies are owed by either party at the point of its execution. I have read that the NRLA have a model deed of surrender that allows for funds to be exchanged, but I have not used it myself. You might enquire with them and if so, for the cost of membership it might be worth joining. Alternatively, you can settle the deposit before they leave and sign the document.