Joint AST ended - one tenant left

I have a dilemma where the Joint AST ended in Sept. One tenant left because of domestic violence. The other is left however the rent this year has always been late and drip fed - arrears backed 4 months.

Now since the joint contract ended after 1 year and new contract not signed - as sole tenant possibly cannot afford rent. What are my rights as landlord?

Will section 21 be still be applicable ? Since the contract although states it will default to periodic ( monthly in my case) but it’s not the same terms and condition as the second named person on the joint AST has left.

Help appreciated.

Did the tenant who left serve notice or just leave? If they just left then it does not end their tenancy obligations. They are still liable for the rent, although collecting it could be a problem.

S21 is still applicable, but the notice period is 6 months. Make sure you serve the notice on both joint tenants at the property address. It doesn’t matter that one is not present, although if you have a phone number or email for him then copy it there. You can check whether you are able to serve a valid s21 notice here:

If and when the arrears get to 6 months, you can also serve a s8 notice under grounds 8, 10, 11. This is only 4 weeks/one month notice at that point.

After you have regained possession you can consider whether its worth suing the tenants for the arrears. Its relatively easy to use MCOL for this and you can cite both tenants in the claim. At the very least they will get CCJs and other landlords can be forewarned.


Thanks much appreciated - The other tenant left because of violence to the other partner - also damaged the property where locks had to be changed - left a week before the existing contract fixed term completed .There is also injunction order , a police case against my property.After injunction never stayed in the property.

Currently I am very close to hitting the 6 months arrears, so would possibly serve section 8, Although the AST states joined tenants -the rough tenant never paid it’s always been the other partner. Due to Covid I have given quite a lot of consideration to the tenant left ! Rough tenant has also left the place and relocated to another town.

Update : Tenant just left the property thanks all

1 Like

That’s good to hear that the tenant just left. How did they leave? Did they serve notice and if so is the tenancy now periodic?

No notice nothing legged it and contacted me stating they have posted the keys.

1 Like

Change the locks even if you get the keys back

1 Like

You will have to assume implied surrender as the mechanism by which this tenancy ends. If the tenant texted or emailed then keep that as evidence. If they just called then gather as much evidence as possible. Photos of keys on the mat, property empty, toothrush gone etc, then I would just take back possession as Colin says.


pity that the people who complain about landlords and their properties dont read about these sort of scumbag tenants


Firstly, get all your ducks in a row, admin, calls, emails, letters, photos (of the damage) and anything else you may have. Record them in chronological order. You may or will need them as evidence.

Check the deposit and who’s name its in.

Write to the tenant who left reminding them they are still liable for the rent, damage, repairs, upkeep, and any unpaid rental debt, sent it via first class and copy via email if you have it.

Also write to the remaining tenant clearly stating their position. Be careful they do not try to just pay half the rent stating the other person should be pursued.

Ask the remaining person to get in touch with the local benefits office to see what financial help can be given. The benefits office would rather keep someone at a property than have them in more expensive temporary accommodation. If the benefits office try to help by additionally trying to drive down the rent, you know what to say. They may try to pay some or all of the rent direct and if so make sure that it is on the condition that if the tenant is over paid or has issues with the benefits office that the recall of these funds will not be with you (as the tenant will not have money to repay it).

As Colin states change the locks and have your own keys, most AST state these may not be changed without consent. Add the cost of this to the tenancy , with receipts *(even if you have to ultimately get redress and take it out of the deposit). Get the tenant to sign for the new SINGULAR key set (all external doors and garage).

If you can visit (Covid conditions applied with) and chat with the tenant face to face to find a way forward it would help in more ways than one (the courts may ask you if you have and if not, why not), record with notice to the other parties called or if not take notes of the conversation. Also if the tenant is aware that in a couple of months a court order will kick in, their credit rating and ability to rent in the future will affect not only the next rental but be on their record for many years to come; they may do something to address the situation. Of course this has to be done in a professional non threatening manner.

If you are able to visit the property, tenant doesn’t need to be there, do an inspection and take photos and videos of the property and any damage. Any repairs, damage/replacements and costs should be notified immediately to the both tenants. Just because the other tenant did a runner will still not obviate their responsibility.

Good luck


Thank you so much for the support.( David, Colin & Brian)

Tenant is so far keen to work on repaying the arrears off has also engaged the benefits office. I will bear the pointers you have provided when I do have the conversation. I have indeed kept all the emails , receipts and invoices as evidence.


Hi, depending on the date it was issued depends on if the section 21 still valid. Before Covid came along it was valid for six months so check your dates and read up on the government website:
The original contract ie the AST is still valid whilst one tenant remains at the property, therefore you must make sure the deposit remains in the Deposit scheme, if its been withdrawn, put it back in the scheme ASAP. It’s not good news at the moment as the courts are taking ages but once the outstanding rent reaches nine months, the case takes some priority along with anti-social behaviour.
I sympathise with the situation and you may have to take a hard line as you will be substantially out of pocket so you may consider at the end of this trying to recover some of your loses from the the other tenant as liability is joint. Also you could take out a court claim (Money claims online) for the outstanding money at any point, leverage may persuade the tenant to move. Additionally, tenants rarely defend these cases so after 14 days you can apply online for judgement (CCJ). Don’t leave it to the courts enforcement officers so go to a private company and pay the fee to take it to high court (about £60) then independent enforcement officers will attend more quickly. All this takes time but I’m afraid the authorities do not side with us

Mate I complain about both. I’ve helped landlords find legal ways to get rid of scumbag tenants and been their shoulder to cry on when they were stuck in a horrendous situation in a super tenant friendly area. (there’s some places where it’s literally impossible to evict and your only option is to trick some poor sap into buying the property- and then that poor sap is left in an ugly mess… The lesson there, by the way, was don’t trust your drinking buddy hire an actual lawyer who specializes in tenancy law. Poor guy didn’t deserve it,though)

I can stand up for both tenants and landlords. I don’t like bullies, doesn’t matter where they come from.

1 Like

It tends to get overlooked here, but diplomacy goes a really long way. Cover your ass legally, keep your ducks in a row, but if the tenant genuinely seems amiable then keep the relationship positive.

You can also suggest resources that exist to help people pay back debt or to cover their rent. There are a lot of charities out there.

I’m not sure if you can use a debt collector in this instance, but it may be worth looking into just in case. I know big companies will do it, private landlords ought to be allowed to as well.

1 Like

Nandi I wish you can solve it , I’ve been reading the replies , it sounds amazing , many thanks for all of you who have knowledge of all these, and share it with us

1 Like

excellent reply, concur 100%