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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 823
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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My daughter aged 20 signed a assured shorthold tenancy agreement

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My daughter aged 20 signed a assured shorthold tenancy agreement in December 2014 to share a house with 5 other students. The term was from 1/9/15 to 30/6/16. She paid no bond and neither did she pay an admin fee of £120, both are payable at time of signing according to the tenancy agreement. In June 2015 she wrote to the landlord and advised her circs had change, she had left Uni, was no longer recieveing any sort of student loan, had experienced a number of personal problems ( her brother tried to commit suicide) and her only income was NMW from her job at Mc Donalds, therefore would not be able to take up the tenancy. The agent advised her the agreement was legally binding and she was jointly and severally liable for the rent. A position they continue to maintain and are now threatening court action.I a struggling to know what to do. I am a housing professional but have no experience of student tenancies albeit I can confirm this tenancy is a joint and sevrally liable AST with a fixed term and no break clause. Would appreciate any advice you can give. Holly has tried to find a replacement but is limited as is not at uni anymore and the agnets say they have advertised it with no luck
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you.
Technically your daughter , if she has signed the agreement she is liable under the contract to be a joint tenant at the address. Practically the situation is a little different.
A joint and several liability tenancy requires all the tenants to be personally responsible for the whole rent. Usually there is a separate agreement between the tenants for each to pay an agreed share each month.
The way this sort of thing is usually dealt with is by the continuing tenants finding a new person to take your daughter's place in the house.
Has this been suggested to the tenants. Although your daughter is liable to pay her share of the rent for the whole year the other tenants have a duty to mitigate their loss so they should try and find a new person to take her place. This is rarely a problem for long in a student house as long as it is an OK house.
If your daughter can do something to find a new occupier that would also help. In essence she will be liable to pay her share util a replacement is found.
If she doesn't pay then the landlord could look to her or to the other tenants to make up the shortfall in rent. He may prefer to go after those who remain as he knows where they are and can enforce against them relatively easily.
I hope this answer assists. Please feel free to ask further questions and also please rate my service to you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I understand that they have tried, but am not sure how hard. It seems so harsh that given whats happenend and the fact this was signed 9 months before the tenancy began, and she has never taken up occupation , and notified the agent in advance of the tenancy commencement date that she is held to be liable. Is it likely that the agent would proceed to court and is there any mitigation in a case like this

It is binding I am afraid. I think it is unlikely the landlord will issue proceedings It is much easier for him to say to the existing tenants that they are jointly and severally liable and need to pay up. They could then come after her but in reality it doesn't sound very likely.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your help

That's fine.