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Tenants splitting up leaving single mum to pay rent


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Hi All,

Looking for a bit of advice on this one...

A family with 2 kids have been my tenants for a number of years without trouble. They have just signed a new 6 month agreement but one month into it they both tell me that they are splitting up and can I remove him from the agreement as he has already moved out.

I'm only worried because that would leave her with two kids and the rent to pay and she's only got a part time job. I never credit checked her, we used his income instead but I'm pretty sure she won't be able to make ends meet.

Both have reassured me that he will support her and that she can pay on her own if he doesn't, but he's admitted he wants to get his own place and taking him off the tenancy would relieve him of any obligations there.

Should I take him off it, or can I say no on the grounds that he signed the tenancy in the first place?



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Dont do it until you have proof the wife has the ability to pay the rent herself or/and she gets a good guarentor in place.

You can also take out RGI for her alone but it may not pay out for the first 3 months as she is a exsisting tenant.

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In the AST they will be 'jointly and severally' liable - DO NOT alter that status. If she does not pay - he has too - keep it that way.

He will have to pay child support etc. etc. but by taking him off the tenancy you will be chasing social services forever and a day for money to support her.

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Thanks guys I had thought of suggesting a guarantor myself.

Something just doesn't add up here, if she's right she can pay the bills herself then there is really no need to take him off as I would never need to come to him for the rent.

It's time to have a chat and thankfully I think we are still getting along fine which helps!

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The way I see it is .... you've had good tenants for a number of years ... they are splitting up now .... but they have assured you that they will continue to pay you the rent ......

They are fully communicating with you .... and they seem decent enough people to me ....

HOWEVER ..... a single mother with a couple of kids will be fully entitled to Housing Benefit as long as the HUSBAND is removed from the tenancy agreement ..... if his name remains on that agreement ... then the Council are absolved of any responsibility .....

Given that the tenants have been so open and honest with you ... and given they have been good tenants to date .... I don't see the problem with removing the husbands name from the agreement so that the wife can then claim Housing Benefit (to top up her part time income) and pay you your rent.

I appreciate the legal argument of "jointly and severally liable" etc etc ... but we are talking about decent tenants who communicate with their landlord ......

IMO .. the most likely reason for this tenancy to fail in the future is because the landlord failed to help the single mother claim the benefits that she was entitled to.

In summary ... take the husband off the tenancy!


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May be worth checking what the HB/LHA rates are in your area first for the number of bedrooms in the property.

http://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx Remember the rates are weekly so you need to x52 divide by 12 to convert to monthly equivalent.

If for example HB only pay £850 pcm for a 3 bed and the rent of yours is £900 that will be a £50 per month shortfall which the tenant will have to make up from other means. From my own experience 99% of the time this doesn't work out and you spend nearly every month chasing the short fall.

As a general rule I try not to rent to HB tenants unless the HB covers the full amount. But remember if the tenant has any other income they may not get the full HB allowance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Trenners..........Your back then. :D

Don't forget my bottle of Port for saving you a shed full of money.

Just to let everyone know that today I received my bottle of cooking sherry from Trenner's. :P

I will donate it to the Village fete raffle on Monday Trenner's. :D

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