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Advice on changing from single to joint tenancy due to sickness


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Hi All,

I could do with some advice. My tenant (very good tenant and never defaulted on rent) has asked that I change the tenancy agreement (currently a rolling month by month) to include his friend who has lived at the property as long as he has. The reason the tenant wants the change is because the other person has become seriously ill (had a stroke I have been told) and not cannot work. He also asked that I back date this agreement which I know is not possible.

I understand that one person being ill would put a strain on the other person to pay the rent and maybe if the other person were on the tenancy then there may be some "benefits" available - I really don't know.

Also if I were to get the lettings agency to draw up a new tenancy agreement I am not sure the new person would meet the criteria in terms of references and checks etc.

I don't want to be awkward as I am happy with the tenant so far, and I want to ensure the rent continues to be paid, but I don't know what is going on, and where to get the best advice. The lettings agency has not come across this before and highlighted the checks they do as a net to catch any problems.

Look forward to thoughts on this.

Thank you


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If you are happy for the tenants friend to stay at the property I would probably just give the tenant permission to sublet (to this person only) and let the current tenancy continue as it is.

Job done.

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Yes you are correct you cannot legally back date the contract.

Don't overcomplicate things for yourself. As Grampa has said you permit a sublet tenancy situation with your main tenant for the second occupier.

DSS benefits may be what the 2nd tenant is looking to claim for but this mainly does not concern you other than you are going to permit it to happen to ease their living situation.

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Be CAREFULL.....its NOT necessarily that easy!!!!!!!

* Make sure your mortgage provider permits subletting.....some ONLY allow AST's.

* Make sure you inform your buildings, contents, landlord insurers.

* Its unlikely that you will be able to take out rent guarantee insurance.

* If you have a leasehold property its almost guaranteed that the freeholder or their managing agents WILL NOT allow this.

I wouldn't touch it with your bargepole.

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I would not change anything. They are both jointly and severally liable to pay rent and bills.

The stroke patient may well qualify for pension credit, and other benefits including the higher rate of attendance allowance for his friend to care for him. This latter payment is considerable and you don't have to be a pensioner to get it - I know as I have had a parent and others in the family claiming it.

If the stroke patient genuinely cannot pay his rent the social will step in and cover it.

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PLEASE NOTE :- Party pooper here......

* Most mortgage lenders don't allow lettings to people in receipt of benefits.

* If its leasehold property there is often restrictions on who you can let the property to and it often forbid tenants in receipt of benefits.

If either applies to you please note that if you proceed you will be in breach of your mortgage terms &/or lease......both can result in penalties.

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