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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13640
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I would like to ask you the following: I rented a flat with

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Hi Pearl, my name is ***** ***** I would like to ask you the following: I rented a flat with my girlfriend in May but she suddenly left the place while I was abroad, taking all her stuff with her. Is there anything I can do from my side to ensure that she keeps paying the rent? Thanks
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: No
JA: Where is the flat located?
Customer: London
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not really

Good morning. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore maybe delayed in replying.

how long is the contract for?

is her name on the tenancy?

do you know where she is?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The contract is for 12 months, with a 6-month break clause. Her name is ***** ***** tenancy. I don't know where she is, she wouldn't tell me. Hope this helps.

A person is not responsible for the mortgage or rent or the bills of a house that they do not live in although they remain liable to the lender or landlord if the other person stays in the property and doesn’t pay the mortgage.

In that case, the non-occupier would be entitled to recover any mortgage or rental payments made by the non-occupier, from the occupier within the finances of the breakup of the relationship/marriage.

So whether she is liable for the rent within the finances of the relationship depends on whether you remain in the property or not. She remains liable to the landlord regardless until the tenancy ends.

There is a practical problem of course in that although you may be entitled to recover some rent from her (subject to what I said above) if you don’t know where she is you are going to have to find her and that would need using a tracing agent.

You can always use a tracing agent such as this who will do no find no fee for solicitors for GBP50 plus VAT although if you are a private individual they want payment upfront.

They also do international searches for GBP150 plus VAT but that is not no win no fee.

We have used the firm on numerous occasions and found the service excellent.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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Thank you.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks for your response, much appreciated.
Just a small clarification based on what you said.
I intend to say in the property, at least for the next few months. Does this mean that she is entitled to pay, even though she doesn't live in the property?
Is there any way that I can make this clear to her, ie writing a letter or something like that?
Many thanks in advance for your help.

If you intend to stay in the property, then you are responsible for all the rent.

As I said earlier, she is not responsible for the rent of the property that she does not live in (within the finances of the relationship) but she remains liable to the landlord if you don’t pay. If you stay in the property and don’t pay, and she does pay, she would be entitled to recover that rent from you.

You can make it quite clear to her I by just showing her this thread.

Before you go (you can come back here at any time as the thread stays open), please do not forget to use the Rating Service because that gives me credit.

You may need to login again to use the rating service.

It doesn't just give me a pat on the head!

The thread remains open, and we can still exchange emails.

Kind regards.


F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok a small detail that I didn't mention is that both our names are ***** ***** contract but the money for the rent is taken from my account, and then she gives me the money through bank transfer from her bank account to mine.So what you advise me to do is to stop paying her part of the rent, which would make her liable to the landlord, right?Thanks

I’m afraid that’s wrong.

If you are in the property you are liable for 100% of the rent.

She has no liability because she has no benefit.

If you don’t pay all or part, but you stay in the property and she doesn’t, and she has to pay the landlord because the landlord chases her, she is entitled to recover that money from you.