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I currently live in a house of 4 tenants. We have each signed a joint tenancy agreement that specifies our monthly rent payable. This tenancy agreement is due for renewal in 4 months from now.

One of the current tenants is to leave and be replaced by a person of our choosing. The landlord has requested that the new tenant pay a slightly increased level of rent and thus has proposed that the figure on the current tenancy agreement be amended to reflect this. He then intends to increase the rent further in 4 months when the tenancy agreement is renewed.

I expressed my reservations about this and indicated that either a new tenancy agreement should be issued to replace the current one - subject to our agreement (which would mean the tenancy agreement renewal period would reset?) or postpone all rent rises until the contract is renewed in 4 months.

What can we do in this situation? Is the landlord simply allowed to to modify the contract for an incoming tenant?

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Is the landlord simply allowed to to modify the contract for an incoming tenant?

No. When you have a joint tenancy, an end of tenancy comes in effect for all tenants. It's a single tenancy, so it can't just end for one person and leave the rest unaffected.

The end of tenancy procedure takes a slightly different route: For a fixed term tenancy ALL tenants and the landlord need to agree, if anyone wishes to move out, or if the landlord wants to change some of the terms of the agreement. For a periodic tenancy either tenant can serve a months notice and end the tenancy.

The landlord is then free to draft a new, modified tenancy agreement with the rest of you and the new tenant that comes in. The landlord is free to introduce changes to the new tenancy agreement, like increased rent, and you have two options - sign it or move out.

Signing a new tenancy means the review period will reset, however, the landlord can simply introduce an intermediary rent increase now, and then add the rest of the planned amount after 6 or 12 months, when the tenancy review date is.

Another option for all of you is to negotiate for the landlord to draft individual tenancy agreements for each of you (having their own room, I assume), which will make it unnecessary to re-draft the tenancy agreement each time a tenant wishes to move out. It's more hassle for them, but better for you individually. This will also make you not liable to pay for damages that other tenants have caused.

Here is more information on tenancy agreements.

  • You are presuming the tenancy is not a fixed-term agreement, which is neither suggested by the question nor a common arrangement. If it is a fixed-term agreement and the term is not conplete, there is zero option to unilaterally end a tenancy. They would have to unanimously agree, then apply a break clause or have the landlord's agreement. – Nij Oct 17 '16 at 9:28
  • I'm not presuming anything. I'm merely saying that if the tenancy ends for one joint tenant, it ends for all joint tenants. That's a fact regardless of it's a fixed term tenancy. Obviously, when they are in the fixed term, they need to agree for this to happen. But it was not the point of my answer. – AudreyW Oct 18 '16 at 7:41
  • "When you have a joint tenancy and one of the tenants wants to move out, the tenancy ends for everybody." - this is factually untrue when the tenancy is an incomplete fixed-term agreement. All tenants must agree to end the tenancy, and they must have either a contractual release clause or the landlord's approval as the other party to the contract, to terminate. – Nij Oct 18 '16 at 8:27
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    Okay, so my wording wasn't the best. I've amended my answer anyway, thanks for the input. – AudreyW Oct 18 '16 at 18:57

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