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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi, I have a bit strange situation now: me and my ex boyfriend

Resolved Question:

Hi,

I have a bit strange situation now: me and my ex boyfriend rented a house together, both of us working full time. the thing what happened that once before our breakup he spent a part of the monthly rent, and was late with the pay in. I said i gave my part, you got to pay it, but one month's fee was late and all the upcoming ones were paid in after. We brook up, and I moved into a house share, but the agency says they don't take my name out of the papers until he pays all the penalties and late rent. He put the council tax bill on his name after I moved. The contract is rolling and renewing every 6 months starting 1 Nov and 1 May. He has a flatmate now, but although he wanted to be officially in the house, the agency said they don't put him in before my ex pays the fees and penalties. They agreed that he pays instalments. What can I do to get my name taken off this as I don't live there with him any more? Obviously as I always paid my part to him, and his account number is XXXXX primary one for paying the rent, I wish to avoid to get into a situation if in a bad case he wouldn't pay his instalments correctly, then I should pay basically for 2 places... And I'd like my name to be taken off from there. How is it, that they didn't allow the new guy to be officially in the house, separating that fee which is not his fault?

In case he would turn to be a jobseeker for a while, getting allowance as he worked 4 years here actively, he plans to find a new job, would he get housing benefit which would help carry on paying this if I stay full time at work, and only my name is XXXXX XXXXX of all this, and I don't live there?

Many thanks and regards
Kate
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 4 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I clarify that you gave written notice to the agent that you wished to end your tenancy please?

Customer: I didn't leave written notice, I personally walked in, and told them the situation, and they kept saying they can't do anything to take my name off as there is this late fee. So even if I bring whatever paper from my new landlord there, they don't take me off as it happened when we were still together.
Customer: I see no sense as we are not married, we were in no kind of office to put it legal that we live together, so if a breakup happens, and the secondary tenant moves as logical, and the primary one stays, who's bank detalis are taken and every payment goes through that, it's impossible, I have even no chance to declare officially, that I wish to be out of the house, as the relationship ended??? They said, I got no way not even written to declare I don't wish to live there from the next 6 months period, because he didn't pay that rent once properly, and he was late with that month. Even if the upcoming ones were paid... So finally I just found a room in a house-share and moved.
Joshua :

Thanks. Just reviewing the above...

Joshua :

thank you. Agents will commonly misunderstand the contractual position relating to tenancies in the circumstances, in some cases no doubt intentionally, but in others genuinely. however, in other events, the legal position is as follows and nothing the agent can say or do can alter this position

Joshua :

the position is that cheering the fixed term of the tenancy, neither you nor your ex boyfriends as joint tenants can leave the tenancy unilaterally as you are both jointly and severally liable for rent and so on under the contract. Therefore, an agent is quite correct if he tells you that if you leave the tenancy before the end of the fixed term you will be liable jointly with your ex-boyfriend for the rent to the end of the fixed period. however, the position changes radically once the fixed period ends and this is where letting agents often go wrong.

Joshua :

once the fixed period has come to an end, one joint tenant can move out either before the end of the fixed period, owing no further rent after that fixed period has expired or they can move out after the fixed period has expired giving one clear months notice which notice must expire the day before a rent day. after this point, that joint tenant has no further liability under the tenancy and it is not a question of the agent refusing to remove that tenants name, whether the agent chooses to do so or not, there is no further contract between that tenant and the landlord

Joshua :

would you like me to apply the above to your circumstances specifically does the above give you enough information for you to work out your liability?

Customer: This means even if he didn't finish to pay all those instalments he agreed with the agency, if the rolling 6 months starting in November and May, then if I give them a month's notice any time ( or can I strictly do it in April now in my case?), then they have to remove my name for the future even if he stays there? because what they said, was it's not possible until that money is all paid with all the penalty, so until that I'm in the contract, and also for me, the 1 November and 1 May stands as only possible time to leave if i give them a month notice... So finally should I just walk in and sit down with them and fix it written that from now on 1 month notice, then I'm not responsible for any upcoming new rents, and I'm not forced to stay in contract with that landlord any more? although if he wouldn't pay the instalments they agreed for that past happening, can they say I have partly response only for that one, and not the current upcoming ones?
Joshua :

Could you tell me the start and end dates of your fixed contract - I believe I understand correctly that you sign a new one every 6 months?
Could you also tell me the date you gave written notice and the date you advised you would leave?

Customer: we moved in 2 Nov 2012, signed only once, never had to return to sign anything again, they said it's renewing automatically every 6 months without going in and sign new papers again.
Joshua :

Thanks was the original agreement you signed a 6 month tenancy?

Customer: I didn't leave a written notice because I walked way before the end of a 6 months, so day in August this year, that we brook up, and I'm looking for a room, so how can I be out from here, and they said I got no option for this until he pays all the late rent and late fee. they said after it's cleared, I can give notice, and only that case will be my name taken out
Joshua :

thank you. On what date did you leave the property and did you return your keys?

Customer: We had option to choose rolling 6 months, or rolling 12 months
Customer: I moved 15 september, but actually the keys are back to my ex, as the agency said I must stay officially in the house on paper.
Joshua :

So to be clear your tenancy began 2 Nov 2012 and you moved out on 15 September 2013 but gave no written notice and did not return your keys to the agent. Is that correct?

Customer: Currently I'm renting from a private landlord, so for him basically the only thing mattered that I paid deposit and rent
Customer: That's correct as they said I can't give notice and officially leave before they get the late rent, and couldn't answer anything when I asked how would it be possible then for me not to be responsible for any upcoming rents after I moved
Joshua :

Thanks. And finally at the point you moved out was rent in arrears and if so by how much roughly?

Joshua :

Would you like to continue?

Customer: one second please, yes
Customer: one month rent was late £650, and they put on penalty fee, as they took every upcoming rents for the current month, and that one which was late they said they left it blank, and put a lot late fee, although from the next month on they always got the rent in time
Customer: He walked in and made an agreement with them, and pays £150-£200/month extra now, for me surprisingly it's a bit open with the sum of £50 but they said to him it's fine, but whenever I ask him mostly I hear he paid £150, not 200
Joshua :

Thanks. the position is that a tenancy does not automatically renew unless you sign a new tenancy. At the end of the six-month initial period, unless you sign a new tenancy, the Housing act intervenes and provides that the original tenancy will continue to run on a month-to-month basis whereby the landlord can end the same subject to 2 months notice and the tenants can end the same subject to one month's notice. in order to end your liability, you need to serve written notice on the agents or at the very least return your keys to the agents. I'm concerned that you have done neither and therefore the agents may seek to claim that you continue to be liable under the tenancy. you may wish to consider serving a written notice on the agents that you moved out on the 15th September. Strictly speaking the agents could seek to continue to charge you rent for one clear month after that until the next rent day - presumably 1 january 2014.

Customer: My biggest question would be how to separate my name in the future from the further rents as I don't live there any more. They don't contact me at the moment because of the money, as he is paying, but in case he changes his mind and doesn't wish to stay there, my name doesn't stay then. Technically they get every month's rent from his account from the beginning, as we could decide who will be the primary and who the secondary tenant. In fact they have my bank details, but they get the rent always from him.
Joshua :

providing you serve written notice, this is sufficient to end the contract and it is not a question of the agents not taking your name off the contract. In law, your written notice ends the contract as above and should the agents seek to demand further liability from you in the future, you would retain a copy of your written notice and this would form a defence against any further claims

Joshua :

if you experience issues with the agents, many agents are members of the property ombudsman service. you can use this website to find out if your agent is or not:
http://www.tpos.co.uk/find-member.php

Customer: On the other hand they said as we first rented it jointly, if once ever I will be out they said strictly after he paid every late fee, then they make a new decision if he wishes to stay there alone, if he can or not (credit check or so, considering his salary), that's why I wondered why they didn't put in that new guy, who wished to be in the rent officially and wanted a paper from them for his employee. They said it's impossible until he clears the late fee totally.
Joshua :

if they are a member, you can raise a complaint in respect of any issues you are unable to resolve between you and if you remain unsatisfied, you can refer your complaint free of charge to the property ombudsman for a determination. if they're not a member of the ombudsman service, then it is up to the agent to issue proceedings against you in the County court if they claim that you owe monies to them following your written notice and you would defend such a claim on the above basis

Customer: so basically I can give my notice from now on any time, bring my keys, and that's it? Do I need to bring a copy of my current contract?
Customer: and what would happen if he just wouldn't pay those agreed instalments any more?
Customer: probably they could claim that money as that's within the period I was officially there, but nothing more in the future?
Joshua :

the agents can require you to give one clear months notice which notice must come to an end the day before a rent day. In the assumption that rent is payable on the second of each month, providing you give notice before first December, this would bring your liability to an end on 1 January 2014 and you would have no further liability for future rent or penalties or any other form of costs in respect of the tenancy beyond this date. it is irrelevant from this point as to whether the agents refused to remove your name from the tenancy or not is your liability under the contract ends irrespective

Joshua :

is there anything else I can help you with in respect of the above?

Customer: Hold on a second: this means they couldn't even claim me to pay those instalments what he is paying now for that one rent which was late, after I give notice?
Customer: and if I only can give the notice on any weekday bit later than 1. december? Let's say 4-5. december?
Joshua :

consider that youhave a joint liability with your ex partner for any rent and reasonable fees incurred under the tenancy up to the point your notice expires (1 Jan 2014). once notice expires, whilst you will not be liable for any future rent or fees, this does not mean that you are not liable potentially for any rent and so on before that date. The agents could pursue you for such monies even after 1 Jan. it is simply that they cannot hold you liable for any rent and liabilities incurred after 1 Jan 14.

you can give the notice at any time but it can only come to an end the date before rent is payable.

Joshua :

accordingly, if you wish your liability to come to an end as soon as possible, you will need to ensure that you give your written notice before 1 December. Therefore consider giving it today or tomorrow as presumably they are closed on Sunday.

Customer: But as he is the primary tenant, and he is paying via net bank everything, if he is sending the instalments correctly, possible, that they don't contact me at all, after I give my notice period, only if he stops paying them? the one before January 2014
Joshua :

Quite. They cannot charge you rent as well as him. If there are no arrears at the point your notice expires, then there is no further liability to pursue you for. There is only an issue for you if there are any arrears owing up to the point your notice expires.

Customer: or once I give my notice, they obviously claim the half of it from me? or for them irrelevant which tenant pays - or is it a must in case of giving notice that they claim 50-50%?
Joshua :

It is irrelevant which tenant pays from the agents point of view.

Joshua :

If your ex pays then the agents can demand no more from you.

Customer: I see, but if I give the notice now, he didn't finish those instalments yet, so there would be sg not totally paid. currently he pays any actual rent fee in time anyway
Joshua :

He is still liable along with you for the rent. You notice changes nothing other than ending your liability after your notice expires.

Customer: and I can give my notice now any time, not necessarily before the end of the 5. month of each rolling periods as they said? I'm sure we were only once in for signing any contract, and we didn't go back 6 months later again to sign a new one. If that would be the case, then I could give notice only before the end of the 5 month of every period?
Joshua :

Providing you have not signed a new contract then anytime. You have to give one months clear notice and the notice must expire the day before you are supposed to pay rent. Those are the only requirements.

Joshua :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer: so this 6-6-6-6 months doesn't work like if you don't go in before the end of any 5. month, then you are automatically stuck for another 6 months if we didn't have to sign brand new papers? but if they ask you to come back and sign a new paper every 6 months then this would be the case?
Customer: the contract was from 2 November originally
Joshua :

No. The Housing Act provides that it renews month to month not for 6 month periods. If you had signed a new tenancy after the first expired then the above is possible.

Customer: in this case i should have signed one this November the 2.
Customer: but I didn't
Joshua :

Quite so there will be no further 6 month tenancy - just month to month as above.

Customer: for him neither basically
Joshua :

in deed

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer: so if I see it right, after the notice I give as you mentioned above, 1 strict month before any next rent fee would be due, I'll be only responsible for the period of 2Nov2012-end of notice time, contract is monthly now for both of us, and if they can get those instalments from him as the primary tenant, they may not contact me at all, only if he doesn't pay them? and after I leave finally and they said it's necessary to check his credit ability to stay in the house without me, they really can't put that new flatmate into the contract to help him to carry on and staying there until he pays that late rent and fees totally?
Joshua :

That is exactly right. After 1 Jan whatever arrangements they do or do not come to with him is a matter between them and irrelevant to you.

Customer: from the view of any new joint tenants this story is obviously irrelevant, but they should be able to separate them, shouldn't they?
Joshua :

Any new joint tenants is a new matter and has no relevance to you. You need not worry about it after your notice expires.

Customer: I see. Thanks for your kind help.
Joshua :

A great pleasure

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