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Can I Leave a Joint Tenancy Agreement?
With the number of students rising from approximately 19,000 in 2011 to just under 30,000 in 2021, joint tenancies are seeing a wider application than ever before. But with joint tenancies having some key differences many first-time renters may overlook, here we explain if you can leave a joint tenancy early.
What Is a Joint Tenancy Agreement?
Simply put, a joint tenancy agreement is when all the occupants of a rental property are asked to sign a single tenancy agreement with the owner after moving into the property. This means that all of those renting the property are equally responsible for covering common expenses such as rent, council tax, bills and repairs; commonly referred to as “several liability”.
Whilst this is likely to become a point of frustration amongst those in the property, because of this joint liability if a tenant fails to pay their rent and begins to acuminate arrears, the other occupants will be expected to pay for this amount, not just the party that missed the payment.
What Happens if One Person Leaves a Joint Tenancy?
As the name suggests if an occupant decides to leave the rental property and therefore the tenancy, this will not bring the agreement to an end. Providing that at least one of the tenants that formed the original agreement is still residing within the property the joint tenancy will be maintained. This means that the tenant that has vacated the rental could still be pursued for any rental arrears or damage caused to the property if the joint tenancy is still active.
How Can I Get Out of a Joint Tenancy Agreement?
As mentioned, a joint tenancy will not come to an end simply because a tenant has vacated the property. If the tenant that wishes to leave is able to negotiate with both the other occupants and the owner of the rental then they may agree to bring the agreement to an end and form a new tenancy, but this is uncommon as it will often require finding a replacement tenant.
How Do You End a Fixed Term Joint Tenancy?
Providing that the joint tenancy is still within its fixed term, typically anywhere2 between six and twelve months, then the occupants of the property are only able to bring the agreement to an end through enacting a break clause, or by a mutual surrender of the tenancy.
Tenants will be able to check the terms of their tenancy agreement to see if it contains a break clause, as this is not always the case. In order for the break clause to be effective not only must all occupants of the rental property agree on its use, but also comply with the conditions of the clause detailed within the agreement. Whilst it is worth noting that every break clause will be different as there is no standardised format, each will clearly detail when the clause can be used by the landlord or tenant, and how much notice they are required to give before the tenancy comes to an end.
Alternatively, all parties could come to a mutual agreement to surrender the tenancy. As long as all occupants of the property and the landlord are all in agreement to bring the tenancy to a close a surrender can happen at any point, even during the fixed term. In some cases, the occupants may have to pay a small fee to the owner of the property to cover any losses they may have incurred. Once the surrendering of the tenancy has been accepted by the landlord the tenants must return the keys to the rental property and they will no longer be liable for any payments relating to the tenancy.
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