New contract for additional tenant moving in

My tenant’s gf is moving in, and I’m going to issue a new contract, adding her as a tenant.
Two questions:

  1. Can anyone advise how to best manage this process please?
    (e.g. Can I just issue a new O.R AST template with them both on there?)

  2. And are there any watch outs with using the template?

Why are you doing that? Even if the tenant has suggested it, its not necessarily in his interest. I don’t know how long this relationship has been running, but are they ready for a legal entanglement where he will become liable for her rent debts and vice versa? Does he understand that in a dispute, he could lose his home to her. In most cases I would suggest its better to make the incoming partner a Permitted Occupier and then if the relationship should come to an end, your tenant has some protection.

Just issue a notice that the gf is a permitted resident for the duration of the tenancy. Do not accept any rent from her - only the main tenant. If they insist on a joint tenancy then it is a longer journey and with several hurdles - your are best off starting from scratch.

thanks both- that’s really helpful, and echoes some advice I already had on here.
I spoke to the Simply Business free legal advice line and they recommended putting her on the contract, so I thought that was the best way forwards- it seems not.
It’s worth mentioning that she’s actually moving in because he has been struggling with the rent.
With this in mind, does your advice remain the same?
thanks again

I have a 2bed 2bath suitable for renting in London. Need repainting though, Is anyone interested to rent it?

not sure what you’re doing in this conversation, Jide1.

Any rent arrangement is between them. Just dont accept rent direct from her and dont refer to her as a tenant in any official document. You should also check first with your insurer and lender to make sure they dont have rules about any adult occupant being a named tenant.

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hi again David.
Sorry to keep on this subject, but just looking for clarity, given the slightly odd situation.

So, my tenant is a couple of months behind on rent, but is slowly getting there in dribs and drabs. (He’s my decorator and handyman, so I know him, to a degree).

His GF is in full time work (probation officer) and is expecting to pay half the monthly rent when she moves in.

I have two questions:

  1. Given that she’s in regular employment, would it in fact be better to add her as a named tenant and have her liable for the rent?

  2. If I draw up a new contract, what happens to the outstanding debt from my tenant, in legal terms? I’m hoping that my patience and his good faith will result in debt being repaid, but should I need legal recourse, will I be able to get it, if a new contract has been put in place?

Sorry for the complexity- your help much appreciated.

If you are keen to add her to the tenancy now, then its possible and not necessarily a terrible decision. Its just that if living together doesn’t work out, then they are both likely to lose the property.

One alternative is to offer to make her a permitted occupier initially and if they are still keen for her to be on the contract in 6 or 12 months, to draw up a new agreement then.

Any arrears should ideally be cleared before a new agreement is given. Once they are joint tenants, each will be individually responsible for all the rent. Do you have legal fees insurance with someone? If so, then you should check whether this will make a difference.

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Thanks again for your time and advice.

There’s a legal helpline with my policy, so I’ll take some more advice.

My feeling is that the best way forward is to actually make the GF the lead tenant and to supersede the current contract.

Unlike my tenant, she’s in regular full-time work, so is more likely to have the funds every month.

I will, if necessary, be more likely to get ‘unpaid rent compensation’ through the policy if she is the lead tenant, as she’s likely to pass initial credit check. (I didn’t formally credit check my tenant, so don’t imagine I can claim for his unpaid rent).

So, in short, I think it may be better to have the GF as lead tenant, (with her attendant responsibilities and my safeguards) asap, rather than wait more months for my tenant to pay the outstanding.

Does that make sense?

Just so that you know, the concept of “lead tenant” was invented by the deposit schemes as a convenience for them and has no legal basis. All tenants are equal.

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Thanks for that.
With that in mind, should I then propose/insist that he become the permitted occupier and the contract just be in her name?
I’m on good terms with my tenant, so it’s going to be a hard sell, but that feels like the only way I could get my rent protected under my insurance, should the shortfalls continue.
Thoughts welcome- sorry for protracted messaging. It’s my first time with a tricky situation, after 8 years of letting two properties.

You have no basis to do that and it would be unlawful to end his tenancy without due process and I can’t see him giving up his tenancy rights freely. Your only option if you want her to clear the arrears, (and there are no guarantees of that), may be to start a new tenancy with both of them as tenants. I would never personally offer tenants a new tenancy whilst they’re in arrears and you could easily find that neither of them pay and you’re stuck with a new fixed term.

So to sum up:

  • keep her as a Permitted Occupier till the debt goes away
  • move to joint occupancy after that
  • hope for the best!

And, just to say once again, very good of you to reply to all this, with concision and accuracy: appreciated.