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Is this joint tenancy agreement void?


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Bare with me on this as it's my first ever post.

 

Having some problems with my current place. Me and my house mate (we'll call him Joe Bloggs) signed a Joint Contract in March to be the new tenants on the place till September (6 month contract). It's a two bedroom apartment both for me and him. We both signed ONE contract to pay for the apartment with totalled to £750 a month (Joe £400 & Me £350) to the landlord at the end of each month - that makes it a Joint Contract.

 

During April, Joe had a few problems (in fairness he couldn't afford the place) but he claims that it's personal life etc etc and wanted to move out. He advertised HIS room out on gumtree and found a person who was willing to take the room.

 

Me on the other hand did have genuine problems (death in the family which forced me to look after my family). I went to the landlord hoping he could release me from my 6 month contract - but no surprises there, he did not.

 

Cutting it short, the new tenant moved in on 30/5/09 when I was still in the property. Joe went through the whole referencing procedure. Joe told me that the landlord agreed to a new tenant moving in and was fully aware of the situation. I saw the contract in his empty room at the time, it wasn't new, it was basically a sheet of paper saying "I Joe Bloggs agree to ***** ***** to move in and take over the property" etc etc it was all witness signed etc etc and was stapled over the original copy contract (which was originally signed by me and Joe when we moved into the place - you sign two, one you keep and the other the landlord).

 

What I want to know, after some research and claims by friends of friends landlords and a University Law Student (who has a 1st in Contract Law), is if the original contract that me and Joe signed back in March is now actually void?

 

There is no subletting on the place what so ever and we were made clear of that when we first moved in. So that can't be used.

 

They were saying that because the landlord agreed to a new tenant moving in and taking over Joe's room the original contract, which has my name and Joe's name on, is now useless and legally holds me to no place as there was a change in the contract that I did NOT agree to and no new contract was made up that I signed or the new tenant signed.

 

Now the landlord is threatening me to take me to court if I don't pay rent or stay in the place. I moved out as soon as the new tenant moved on 30/5/09 as I was not willing to be in a place with a complete stranger and I refuse to pay him anything, unless the law states I have to, I will.

 

I just want to know if all the above (if it makes sense) is valid and that the contract is now void and that I am legally not binded to any Tenancy agreement because of the recent change of tenancy?

 

Thank You

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Hi Izza

 

2 questions: Is there a clause in the contract that covers the joint tenancy and what happens when one of the parties leave?

 

Is there a clause in the contract about assignment? Your joint tenant may have had the right to assign his part of the lease with the consent of the landlord.

Please note that I am not a solicitor or legally trained. The advice I give is from my own personal experience based on my own personal circumstance. If you choose to follow any advice I may give, please make sure you understand the implications of following that advice. :-)

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Hi Izza88,

 

Firstly, sorry to hear about your recent family tragedy.

 

I'm afraid to have to say that in my mind the original signed contract is good. I hear what you say with regard to no sub-letting etc signed by you, the LL and Joe Bloggs (I'm sure I know him!!). The Landlord and Tenant Act 1988 (section 1) places a (qualified) statutory duty on a LL not to unreasonably withhold consent to the assignment, sub-letting etc of a residential premises held on a tenancy or even a license. It is not possible for the parties to a contract, even when by mutual consent evidenced in writing, to contract out of a statutory duty.

 

It may be worth looking at the contract as a whole to try and establish whether or not there were repeating arbitrary clauses that generally favoured the LL. Were this the case it might be possible to argue that the tenancy agreement amounted to a 'sham' tenancy and as such could be declared null and void. This is a complexed area of law and perhaps your university friend could assisst you in that regard.

 

It seems to me that you had the right to sub-let your part of the agreement before you left to mitigate any losses on your account. Were that right to be unreasonably denied to you, under section 4 of the same Act you could seek to claim civil damages for any losses incurred.

 

Is the LL seeking from you just your portion of the rent?

 

No pain no gain

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Hi all,

 

as some of you will know my foot is out of plaster as of today, so back to the day job as of tomorrow. Will not have much time to spend Cagging. Will log in every few days. If you need my help PM me.

 

Best of luck

 

No pain no gain

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