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Tenants share of the rent

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Hi all,

Juat wanted your advice on this one before I proceed...

One of my tenants who lives with her partner called to say she has been made redundant. She has applied for housing benefit but says the council need it in writing what her share of the rent is.

The rent is £650 (standard AST now periodic tenancy) and when we did the credit referencing we put £325 on each due to their wages, and she is wanting a letter to say she is responsible for £325. But as far as I'm concerned I get £650 each month and I don't know how they split it between them.

They have both been a good tenants, and I'm happy to help although strictly speaking I'm not supposed to accept housing benefits. I'm just worried if I put it in writing that she is only responsible for £325 she may use it against me in the future to only pay half, for example if her partner moves out.

I advised her to say she was responsible for all the rent, but she said the council won't accept that as the tenancy agreement is in both names.

Any comments or suggestions...

Many thanks!

Trevor.

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Tread carefully, even if they have been good tenants. It does seem reasonable to charge £325 for her share of the rent, but check with the housing office and solicitor about the implications of acceptance

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Why not ask both tenants to put their agreed share arrangement in writing to you first as a condition of your then writing to LA to help the redundant one, stating that otherwise you would (reluctantly) have to consider giving them due notice due to the unfortunate change of circumstance.

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Thanks for the advice, but the plot thickens...

I was puzzled because in the past when one tenant has gone on benefits, I haven't been asked to confirm the split, so I spoke to the council who explained that they needed to know this time because she has told the council she is not related to the otehr tenant and that they sleep in separate rooms (!) Not really sure if that's the truth or she's discovered she gets more benefits this way.

I'm a bit more concerned now that if it is the truth and they have split up that she may use the letter to stay on and pay half rent :angry:

Anyway the council are sending me through a form so we'll see what that says.

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If it were me I would write a 'cold' factual letter along the lines of:

"[Tenant name] holds an Assured Shorthold Tenancy at [address] and is jointly and severally liable with one additional tenant for the monthly rent of £650 pcm"

If they want to infer that she is responsible for 50% of that rent then that is down to them. As far as the legalities are concerned, however, she remains jointly and severally liable for the whole amount. I'm not sure if there are any implications regarding putting a nominal split down in writing, but I would suggest that it isn't your responsibility to second guess any agreements that your tenants have between themselves. You can only be expected to provide factual information relating to a legal agreement.

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