Fel­low stu­dents left count­ing the cost of li­a­bil­ity for ten­ant’s rent

Stu­dents rent­ing a prop­erty need to check the small print. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

SHAR­ING a house with friends is a rite of pas­sage for many stu­dents, but York­shire Post reader David Hodg­son has a cau­tion­ary tale.

His son Michael and four of his house mates are now faced with a bill of £2,293 and pos­si­ble court ac­tion af­ter an­other stu­dent failed to pay his part of the rent for a prop­erty in Leeds.

The ten­ant who ran up the debt has dis­ap­peared, leav­ing the oth­ers to pay and the land­lord is within his right to chase them for the ar­rears.

What seems to be un­just and un­fair on those who al­ways paid their way is, in fact, com­pletely le­gal thanks to the Group Ten­ancy Agree­ment.

These agree­ments for shar­ers are com­mon in stu­dent prop­er­ties. If one per­son de­faults then ev­ery­one is re­spon­si­ble for the ar­rears, even though the in­di­vid­ual rents are col­lected sep­a­rately by the land­lords or let­ting agent.

David, of Holm­firth, be­lieves the sit­u­a­tion is grossly un­fair be­cause in his son’s case it is eas­ier for the let­ting agent to chase other shar­ers for the debt rather than make an ef­fort to find the per­son re­spon­si­ble.

The sit­u­a­tion is com­pli­cated by the fact that one of the orig­i­nal shar­ers left and found his own re­place­ment and the change to the orig­i­nal agree­ment was in­sti­gated with the knowl­edge of only one other house mate.

“On chal­leng­ing this change the let­ting agent ar­gued that all par­ties had of­fi­cially signed the re­quired doc­u­ment. In fact, only one of the ten­ants had signed,” says David, who adds: “You will ap­pre­ci­ate why I am ex­tremely un­happy at the prospect of my son be­ing taken to court for do­ing ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong and due to cir­cum­stances com­pletely be­yond his con­trol.

“From my per­spec­tive, the whole prin­ci­ple of the Group Ten­ancy Agree­ment is legally weighted firmly with the let­ting agent, as it ap­pears to ab­solve the land­lord of any need to ac­tively pur­sue any in­di­vid­ual ten­ant for rent ar­rears.

“In this par­tic­u­lar sce­nario, the let­ting agent has made lit­tle if any real ef­fort to pur­sue the

STU­DENT LIFE: But Group Ten­ancy Agree­ments mean you could all be li­able for the rent if one ten­ant leaves.

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