Joint Tenancies

Definition of Joint Tenancy:

Joint tenancy is where you have a several Tenants under the same tenancy (and tenancy agreement), with all of the Tenants having exclusive possession of the entire property together.

Joint Tenants take tenancy of the property as a group at a single rent for the whole property, with each Tenant's interest in the property being exactly the same as that of the other joint Tenants.

A joint tenancy is not the same as a 'tenants in common' or a 'licence to occupy property'. 'Tenants in common' is where there are several Tenants under the same tenancy, where each of the Tenants has the exclusive possession of a specific bedroom in addition to the use of the other communal areas of the property. A 'licence to occupy property' is the right to possession of the property without any of the legal rights in the property.

Requirements for Joint Tenancy:

There are the following requirements for a joint tenancy:

  • All the Tenants must hold the tenancy under one legal document;
  • The commencement and termination dates must be the same for all the tenants;
  • All the Tenants must be entitled to possession of the entire property; and
  • All the tenants must have equal interests in the entire property.

Liability of Tenants:

The Tenants in a Joint Tenancy are usually jointly and severally liable for any rent arrears and/or damages to the property. This means that should either one or some or all of the joint Tenants breach any of the terms of the tenancy agreement, or where there are rent arrears and/or damages to the property, the Landlord can elect to claim against all of them jointly or against each one individually for the full outstanding amount. This provides enormous security for the Landlord, as well as additional risk for the joint Tenants, as well as any Guarantors that the tenants may have.

Changing Joint Tenants:

Where one or more of the joint Tenants wishes to leave the property, and/or there are new joint Tenants wishing to occupy the place of the old joint Tenants, a new tenancy agreement will need to be concluded. This can be done either by way of a Deed of Variation that will be attached to the Tenancy Agreement, or a new Tenancy Agreement can be concluded.

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