Types of Tenancy
If you are moving in with other people, there are various types of tenancy agreements, which all have different implications for your rights and responsibilities:
Sole tenancy: Each person signs a separate agreement with the landlord
Joint tenancy: All of you sign a single tenancy agreement with the landlord
Tenancy in only one person’s name (sole tenancy): If you personally don’t have a direct tenancy agreement with the landlord, you may be classed as a subtenant or licensee
Find out more:
Shared Accommodation – Citizens Advice
How the different types of tenancies affect your rights – paying rent, if a sharer wants to leave, or if you want to get rid of a sharer
A joint tenancy is where you and your housemates rent the whole property and all sign a single tenancy agreement with the landlord.
- All tenants have exactly the same rights
- Tenants are all jointly and individually responsible for the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement
This is called joint and several liability.
It is important that all tenants understand the meaning and implications of this clause:
- It does not mean that each tenant is responsible for an equal share of the rent/bills etc.
- It does mean you all share equal responsibility for the full payment of the rent/bills etc. (and also for any problems or damage)…
… So if anyone fails to pay their share of rent or causes damage, the landlord/agent can pursue any one tenant, or the whole group, or any guarantor for the full amount of money owed.
Only enter a joint tenancy with people you really trust!
Remember that any agreement in your name is your responsibility.
Managing bills in a joint tenancy
Set up shared bills in joint names of all tenants, so that the responsibility does not fall to just one person, otherwise they would be held solely liable and could get a bad credit rating.
Arrange a system amongst yourselves to ensure you all put aside sufficient funds for bills (e.g. individual monthly standing orders into a central bills account), because just as with the tenancy agreement, if anyone fails to pay, the rest of you named on the contract would have to cover their share.
Paying regular bills via Direct Debit/Standing Order ensures they are automatically paid on time and you avoid late payment charges.
For rent, it’s generally best to make individual payment arrangements with your landlord e.g. set up a standing order.
Find out more:
Joint Tenancies – Shelter
Rights, responsibilities & sorting out problems
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
‘A House in Multiple Occupation is a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (e.g. a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.’
This type of property will be subject to additional safety standards and regulations regarding the provision of adequate facilities. Ask the landlord/agent or your local council whether the property is a licensed HMO.
Find out more:
HMOs – Shelter
Is your home an HMO? Extra responsibilities of HMO landlords
Sources of Help & Advice with Shared Accommodation
Problems in Shared Accommodation – Citizens Advice
How to deal with housemates & money issues (rent, bills & deposit)
House In Multiple Occupation (HMO) – Citizen’s Advice
Landlord responsibilities & how to deal with problems
Shelter – Housing Advice Helpline:
0808 800 4444