How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70198
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
12826847
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

My daughter "was" a second year student, had signed a joint

Resolved Question:

My daughter "was" a second year student, had signed a joint tenancy agreement with 2 other students. The landlord nor the lead student mentioned historic problems with the neighbours and 3 weeks in, my daughter gave notice of her intention to leave, quit University and is now back home. All this due to stress brought on by the neighbours (which was reported on several occasions to the landlord and local authorities). The initial rent cheque covers rent until January 15th 2015, at which point a second cheque, and then finally a third (both post dated) would have been presented by the landlord to cover the terms rent - broken this way to coincide with student loan payments into my daughters account.
A clause in the contract (which we have) states that "Tenants are individually and jointly responsible for abiding by the terms of this contract, paying the rent and any other charges arising. This means that should one or more of the tenants leave the tenancy then then remaining Tenant(s) is legally responsible for paying the rent in full and meeting all other obligations under the contract".
So - my daughter received an email from the Landlord stating that she was responsible for her rent still. To which she replied that she was no longer a student, had no student loan arrangements, had cancelled the two remaining cheques (given they would bounce anyway) and then sited the above clause in the contract. She had no response to that email (sent two weeks ago).
Now however the remaining two student are messaging her and txting her, stating she must pay.
We do not know where to turn and need help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I presume this is an AST?
If so, it is bad news I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Page '1' states "Joint Tenancy in the form of an assured shorthold agreement for self-catering accommodation relating to:"

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
That is bad news I'm afraid.
Is there a break clause at the sixth month point?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There is no break clause stated that I can see.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry but its bad news although the liability may not be as bad as you think.
I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.
Unfortunately ASTs are very hard to escape. You pretty much have to show that the property is gutted by fire damage or flooding and so you cannot live in it. Another acceptable reason would be that a person's life is in immediate danger like a gas leak.
I'm afraid that things like change of circumstances of the tenant or the fact that the premises is not salubrious is not sufficient.
You could try to negotiate with the landlord. Sometimes they will agree to allow tenants to leave as its in their interests too on occasions.
If that is not possible here then I'm afraid she is acting unlawfully if she leaves early. However the landlord is under a duty to mitigate his loss by seeking a replacement tenant and he will not get forever to achieve that. Realistically, if a landlord is really trying, most properties can be let to another tenant comfortably within a month. You will only be liable up until the time that the landlord is able to replace you which will be nothing like the remaining months due under the contract. The only difficulty here is that letting one room in a property is harder generally than letting an entire property.
Of course, there is a risk that the landlord will not be able to find a replacement. If so, the Court will ask him to prove that he has looked for a replacement. If he is able to do so to the Court's satisfaction then you would be liable for that period but that is very unlikely.
Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

All that even given the contract states the remaining tenants are liable?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, it doesn't.
It says that all tenants are jointly and separately liable.
Although they could pursue the remaining tenants but then they would have a claim against your daughter and they would get costs and interest.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Jo, very much appreciated and it does put this into perspective for me. Appreciate your candid and honest approach.

Enjoy the rest of the evening and thank you again.

Best regards, Rob.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you