Joint Tenancy Dispute

I’m an Australian. I finished postgrad study in the UK last year and am now working before beginning full-time study again, later this year.

In early Jan 2021, I signed an ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY AGREEMENT that runs through till 31/8/21. There are four names (incl mine) on the lease, for this four-bed house.

Prior to moving in last month, three of the four tenants vacated the property, leaving only one other person. The joint tenant I’m left sharing with, (Suze), has now decided to vacate the property for a few months, to move to Africa, leaving me alone in the house, to live and work from home with no family support in the UK.

This aloneness is a daunting prospect for me and, to make matters worse, the now-vacated tenants tell me that Suze has blocked every new tenant they have put forward.

  • Does Suze have a legal right to block tenants because she ‘doesn’t like them’?
  • If she does, does that right continue if she leaves the property and … pays the rent…does not pay the rent, perhaps???
  • Do I, and the absent tenants, have any rights in this…now?

Your advice and suggestions would be appreciated.

There isn’t an early termination clause in the lease and, even if I could find a tenant who is ‘acceptable’ to Suze, that would not start until 1/4/21, which seems to be caught by the clause ‘A surrender of part of the Tenancy will only be permitted if the Tenancy has 6 months or more until the Tenancy End Date’.

Please help. Do I have any rights?

Ideas? Suggestions?

Named tenants have a right @ so Suze can block them whether she is there or not whether she pays rent or not
Until the AST is changed to exclude her she has rights until she leaves
You all have equal gravitas
The only time Suze has no weight if she rented a room in a house rather than renting the house as a group
As I write this I realise it will actually be how is your contract worded.
Are you all named as renting a house or are you named as renting rooms in a house with designated shared areas?
The latter would give you autonomy.
Also if you have a replacement for Suze speak to your landlord . I don’t think he will care too much if he is getting rent

Are you in a joint tenancy with the ones who have left? If so then each tenant is responsible for 100% of the rent. People can leave but their liability doesn’t end. When new people move in, what happens to the contract? Does the landlord get involved?

Yes, joint tenancy. All four of us are named on the lease. The other two who have left are left, literally paying their share of the rent because Suze won’t allow others (unfortunately, I won admission) into the property. The landlord is a rental company and I wanted to get more info from the internet before I approach them.

@A_A Shared tenancy…does this clarify that?

The Tenancy Agreement will be drawn-up in the names of all Tenants and will be for a fixed term. If you wish to surrender part or all of the accommodation you should notify us as soon as possible offering to terminate the Tenancy Agreement on the understanding that;

  1. (i) You remain fully responsible under the terms of the existing Tenancy Agreement until a suitable new Tenancy has commenced and
  2. (ii) That in the event that such a new Tenant is found there will be an early termination charge of £50 including VAT. A new fixed term Tenancy Agreement will be drawn up with any tenancy changes and must be signed by all parties. The agreed rent is subject to an annual review. Please provide us with the contact details (including email address) of any replacement tenant at the earliest opportunity and ensure that we are given at least three weeks’ notice of any change of Tenant. Please note that mid-tenancy changes will only be possible if there is 6 months or more left to run on the Tenancy.

So these terms give @Suzie rights but they also give all of you the chance to change named parties on the agreement ( ie the opportunity to change if all parties are willing) but this with six months left to run with at least three weeks notice so actually you are TOO LATE if your six months start in March ( your contract terminates at the end of August)
You could have an informal chat with the landlord after you have found a replacement that Suzie agrees too
You will need to give them six months of an agreement ( that is an insurance issue and they are unlikely to waiver from that. I wouldn’t )
Speak to Suzie and put it to her that she could ( this is now questionable) in light of the clause be removed from her fiscal responsibility ( spin in a positive light and say other parties will cover cost of change for agreement as a goodwill gesture)

Regarding my point of the contract on the front page it tell you the property address and how it is let.
I am referring to that clause

@A_A Suze wants to keep the house on (ie go to Africa but keep paying rent) and then return in a few months. She doesn’t want to be taken off the lease.

Looking at the front page of the lease which names all four tenants including me, it says ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY AGREEMENT.

My questions really relate to the maliciousness of the person, her unwillingness to relieve others of their rental payments by allowing them to let their rooms out. Is there no way to deal with this unreasonableness in law?

No she has full legal right
I am asking what it reads on the front page where the address is
What is the clause where it documents the definition of the premises
eg The Premises’: the house known as ** xxxx Street xx4 4xx**
The Premises’ : the house known as High Street, xxxxxx xx5 6xx

which comprises each numbered room and the Shared Parts

Unfortunately the landlord won’t be able to do anything even if they want to unless ALL tenants agree to offer a surrender of the tenancy. If Suze won’t agree then it binds everyone for the duration.

If the Government were serious about giving tenants a better deal in the Renters Reform Bill, they would focus their efforts on reforming such things rather than trying to prevent landlords from evicting tenants for genuine reasons.

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Thanks David. This is my thinking but I wanted to see if anyone had a different ‘take’ on a bad situation.

@A_A It says Property address/ The dwelling-house situated at…and then it states the address.

Then she has as much right as everyone else
This is now about diplomacy I’m afraid