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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hello, my daughter is privately renting a 4 bed house

Resolved Question:

Hello, my daughter is privately renting a 4 bed house in Bristol. She went through an estate agent and she and 2 others paid hefty deposits and agent charges, but were then told to deal directly with the landlord. The 4th person they had in mind pulled out at the last minute and the agent wouldn't allow Kate to change the name despite Kate having someone bona fide and ready to pay fees etc...said it was too late. She subsequently sublet the 4th room and no one was any the wiser. Now 6 months into the tenancy (she asked for a year but the landlord wanted 6 months), the landlord has advised she wants to sell and has given Kate and the others a month to find somewhere else. In the meantime the 4th person has left due to this uncertainty, and Kate has asked if she can get a 4th person in (above board). She has had no response from the landlord despite asking politely. The agent has told her she can't get a 4th person in...here's the response...As previously mentioned, the addition of a 4th tenant has always been subject to landlord approval. The opportunity to find a 4th tenant was initially given to you however as you were unable to find them in time, you had agreed to enter into the tenancy just the 3 off you and were explained that if you were got get a 4th person added later into the tenancy, there would be administration costs involved to start again and this would all be subject to landlord approval. Kate can't afford to not have a 4th person. What should she do? Thank you, ***** ***** XXXXX XXXXXX

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help with this.

Alex Watts :

What is the termination clause/period please?

Alex Watts :

Did she have a contract with the 4th tenant?

Customer:

It was one month, but the 6 months tenancy is up in 5 days.

Customer:

The 4th tenant did have a contract yes, but pulled out and Kate was told she couldn't change to another person

Alex Watts :

But didht she get a sub tenant? If so what was that agreement term?

Alex Watts :

Did the 4th tenant sign the contract?

Customer:

She charged a friend for rent and bills...who was not able to sign a contract because the agents wouldn't allow her to change the person's name

Customer:

Kate has been advised that a landlord needs to give good reason for not allowing A 4TH TENANT if the house was advertised as a 4 bed. My need is to understand why Kate can't have a 4th and why they wouldn't let her cahnge the name

Alex Watts :

The original 4th tenant did they sign a contract?

Customer:

Yes I believe so

Alex Watts :

Ok - that is quite important.

Alex Watts :

This means all the tenants have a claim against the old 4th tenant.

Alex Watts :

They can sue the old 4th tenant for breach of contract and any rent arrears

Alex Watts :

However the sub tenant, I do not know if they had a contract. If they did then the sub tenant would need to give notice as per any contract agreed between the main tenants and sub tenant.

Customer:

I will try to get hold of Kate to find out but in the meantime if the contract wasn't signed where does she stand?

Alex Watts :

If there was no contract between the tenants and sub tenant then the sub tenant can not be pursued.

Alex Watts :

If the old 4th tenant did not sign the contract then the parties currently there are liable for the rent, I assume tenant 1,2,3

Alex Watts :

However the Landlord can only reasonably refuse to allow a 4th replacement tenant

Alex Watts :

If the Landlord refuses then she can seek a Court order declaring whether the Landlord is entitled to

Customer:

Ok thanks. Is it true that an agent can advertise for 4 people in a hose but if the ame changes they can refuse to allow a 4th?

Alex Watts :

Clearly there is a cost for this.

Alex Watts :

The other point is that they could pay what they feel they owe and when they move out, don't tell the Landlord and agents where they are moving to - as such any debt would not be able to be enforced

Alex Watts :

They can only enforce if they know where someone has moved to

Alex Watts :

But even then if proceedings were issued one could argue that the Landlord was being unreasonable by refusing to allow a 4th

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

The trouble is the landlor is already threatebinig to keep back some of their deposits because of unpaid bills ...whic h I know for sure arent their problem because I've seen for myself that bills are all paid up

Alex Watts :

Well the Landlord can't do that as it should be protected.

Alex Watts :

If it is not protected the Landlord can not take any step to get possession

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

So if they leave paying what thy feel they owe, the landlord could keep all the deposits.

Alex Watts :

Yes the Landlord could try - but then the tenants can raise a dispute with the tenancy deposit scheme who can adjudicate on the matter.

Customer:

Sorry, missed your last comment. Thank you, ***** ***** very helpful, I think that's all...except, would it cost much to take landlord to couurt? Know you can only be vague about it, but roughly?

Alex Watts :

Fees for Court are here:

Alex Watts :

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

Thanks very much.

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