One tenant leaving on a joint ast

Hello All
I have one tenant wishing to leave a joint tenancy which runs for a further 6 months. The remaining tenant is in agreement and happy to remain in situ at the property and is able to pay the rent (he was the lead tenant initially). Fortunately all the bills are solely in the remaining tenants name except, which is easily sorted.
Can I just allow him to leave (I have several emails from him) and which inc the remaining tenant in these emails of the situation without having to surrender the current AST.
I of course want the easiest and simplest route to take.
Also how would his name be removed from My Deposits as the remaining tenant is happy to give him half of the deposit back out of his own pocket so that the current deposit can remain in situ for ease
Any advise would be welcome.

Redo the paperwork and start again putting everything in the remaining tenants name notify utilities and council etc
You tenant will get a single person discount
You will have to refund deposits and start again ( speak to my deposit. DPS request it all new if names change)
Don’t cut corners

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Mmm. This seems time consuming and will cost £49 again with Anne’s AST via open rent and new inventory etc. Surely there is another way…?


With a joint tenancy there is effectively only one ‘Tenant’ and if that comprises more than one person, they are indivisible. That means that you can’t give permission to one of them to leave. The cleanest solution is to end the tenancy and begin a new tenancy with the remaining person. The alternative is to do nothing and the one who is leaving will remain liable. That doesn’t mean you have to enforce against him if the rent is in arrears, but you have the option.

Of the many problems that could occur if you leave it as is… one is the deposit
If there is a dispute and you are in an insured scheme you have given half to the tenant that left
Worst case scenario it goes to an adjudicator it will become really messy
If it’s a custodial scheme you can’t release half a deposit

I know it’s a headache but better safe than sorry
Amputations are never painless

I am happy for the one tenant to leave as is the remaining tenant so it’s amicable. Will an email from the one that wants to leave not be sufficient if the remaining tenant is stating he will take full liability should he fail to pay


The remaining tenant would give the leaving tenant half the deposit out of his own pocket and the leaving tenant would ask he be taken off the deposit ( surely this is possible if everyone is agreeable which they are?


I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve had bad experiences
I winged it when I didn’t know better
I ended up paying a solicitor to communicate with a tenant and it cost me hundreds of pounds
Never again
I have done it by the book ever since
If anything goes wrong you are covered
If there is ever a problem you don’t want to add to your legal cost because you thought it would be ok and you are paying more for solicitors to clean up your mess
The sun may be shining today but there may be a storm tomorrow

My advice will always be to do it correctly

Yes of course I want to do it correctly I pride myself also on doing everything by the book. So if an email saying he wants to be taken off the AST and that’s not good enough how do I go about legally surrendering a contract. What does he need to sign for it to be legal. Sorry about all the questions. First time in 10 years this has happened and it’s already taking up a lot of my time trying to liaising between two tenants that have parted company


The tenant remaining needs a contract etc etc
For the tenant the email correspondence should be sufficient but for belt and braces the tenant that has departed needs to wet sign a deed of surrender witnessed ( this is normally done real time).
I have posted regarding how to do this in the link below

Regarding the deposits,
I am in a custodial scheme so we have to start from scratch as DPS hold the money ( that is refund to the tenant and he pays us again).
I would advise you to speak to your scheme so you do it how they accept it.
Even if you hold the money if you don’t refund it and reissue a certificate could he argue that his actual payment date was the time he first gave it to you ( which was more than 30 days ago) which would create another Pandora’s box…

You will need to serve a new certificate, prescribed info and terms and conditions again for the new contract

Neither you, nor that individual can legally end the tenancy for one joint tenant. The only way a tenancy can end if they’re in the fixed term is for both to offer a surrender and you to accept. That would legally end it for both of them. If they’re in a periodic tenancy, either one can serve notice and that will also end it for both of them.

If you tell the one who is going that he is released and you will no longer pursue him for rent, then you will likely be held to that by a court, but the person will still be a tenant, so you wouldn’t, for example, be able to bring a new person into the property without having two tenancies running together, which will cause enormous problems. If things turn bad with the remaining tenant, they may try to claim in court that you should not have forgiven rent from the outgoing tenant while the tenancy is still running. I have no idea whether this argument would be listened to by a judge.

Just issue a new AST - you don’t need to use Open Rent

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Thanks Caitlin
But how to I close off the AST that is currently running. How does that cease, or get surrendered so I’m covered. Will an email suffice from the one wishing to leave.


I would advise you to use a deed of surrender in both names if you want belt and braces
These can be purchased from a solicitor for £50 plus vat and you will get 20 minutes of legal advice for in your phone call free
I can’t remember the fee if the solicitor does it all for you (I use Hibberts )
David Smith of JMW is well spoken of

You could ask the tenant departing to pay for it as part of their deed terms as they are leaving their AST early
Open rent have their own deed too
You can also get free legal advice from the NRLA if you are a member or Landlord Law

I think this is good advice to use a solicitor if you are unsure. I wouldn’t have, but that’s probably because I tend to work on instinct, so if I had a good relationship with the new tenant and I can’t see any reason for the tenant moving out to be disingenuous.

I would ask the tenants to write me a joint letter, signed and witnessed that says they wish to end the tenancy early on xyz date.

I would issue a new agreement to the tenant who is staying, and request a deposit which I would lodge with My Deposits

I would then return the original deposit through My Deposits.

Does the staying tenant intend to sub-let? If so and you are happy with this then you need to add a clause to the AST to allow this - but be aware it will probably invalidate your insurance.

You need to draw up a surrender document that all parties sign. Tye Contract has to end as one leaving. You have to do another Contract with the remaining name. Speak to OpenRent as sure they wont charge for this as you are continuing contract with one. Make sure you collect keys from the one leaving and just be sure the remaining can afford to take on. Hope helps.

Its a minefield, I would do nothing leaving them both “on the hook”. As someone said you cant simply end a contract all parties have to agree, even yourself. If they are adamant they want it all redone then they should be liable for any costs, its their request, why should you pay.