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Abolish Joint & Several Liability for tenants sharing a property

Comment 7th July 2010

When two or more people rent a property together, they may (by default) find that they are "Jointly & Severally Liable" for the rent.  This means that if one tenant defaults on the rent, the landlord can demand it from the other tenants and/or their guarantors.

Why does this matter?

Joint & Several Liability can, in extreme cases, cause innocent people to be taken to court for money which is in fact owed by someone else.  This is particulary contentious in the case of students who share a house.  The students' parents agree to act as guarantors for their respective offspring, but in fact they are unwittingly committing themselves to being guarantors for all the other tenants as well.  In other words, they are guaranteeing rent for people they don't even know!  Unscrupulous landlords can therefore take Tenant A's guarantor to court for rent owed by Tenant B!  Tenant A's guarantor could then end up with a County Court Judgement, even though they are not at fault.

This loophole needs to be closed so that innocent people are not penalised in this way. 


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