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Experience:  UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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Advice on a tenancy agreement I plan to move into a rented

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Advice on a tenancy agreement
I plan to move into a rented flat with my girlfriend. The type of tenancy is assured shorthold tenancy and the duration is 12 months. I would have joint and several liability for the rent. We have verbally agreed between us that she would be responsible for paying the rent in full, as I have my own house elsewhere whereas this would be her main residence. Would this agreement be legally enforceable if the relationship ended? Would an email confirming the agreement between us be sufficient?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 11 months ago.

Hi

Thank you for your question and patience, I’m Tom and I’ll try to help you.

Obviously, you would remain liable to the landlord even if your verbal agreement with your girlfriend were legally binding with her. This is because any contract with your girlfriend is completely separate to your tenancy agreement.

This means that the landlord would be able to sue you if there are rent arrears and this will not change. So, however you resolve the issue with your girlfriend you need to ensure that the rent on the tenancy keeps getting paid.

A verbal agreement with your girlfriend that she would be responsible for the rent is capable of being legally binding provided that you both understood that it would be legally binding when you agreed it.

Therefore, you could sue her if she did not pay the rent to recover such damages as non-payment of rent causes you as a result of the landlord taking enforcement action.

You can foresee though that your girlfriend may dispute the statement or dispute that the verbal agreement was intended to be legally binding. If this happens then it’s going to simply be down to the judge to determine as best as they can whether it was intended to be legally binding.

My view is that if she resists paying all of the rent then you should posture strongly that you will sue in the hope that you can negotiate a settlement of some sort. Litigating with no evidence on a “he said, she said” basis is very uncertain and likely to become protracted.

My goal is to provide you with a good service. If you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up issues specifically relating to your question.

Kind regards,

Tom

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks, that's helpful. Can you answer the second part of my question too, which was "Would an email confirming the agreement between us be sufficient to establish that it was intended to be legally binding?" Can you suggest how it should be worded?
Expert:  Thomas replied 11 months ago.

Hi,

It would be very helpful though not, I suspect, bullet proof.

Ideally, it would acknowledge that your agreement was intended to be contractualy and binding. It neeed not (necessarily) actually refer to the agreement as being "legal".

Please remember to leave positive feedback.

Tom

Expert:  Thomas replied 11 months ago.

Hi

Is there any further information you require?

If you have any further queries on the information I have provided. If you have no further questions then please do leave positive feedback.

Kind regards,

Tom

Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7590
Experience: UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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