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Ban Group Tenancies for Properties with Over 4 People

Comment 25th July 2010

I believe a ban should be placed on group tenancies for properties with over 4 people.

 

The idea is given birth from a situation I experienced as a student renting for the first time at university. In order to find accommodation at a reasonable price and in time for the following year, myself and three friends rented a 10 person house with a few unknowns and another group that we were briefly acquainted with.

Much to our surprise when it came time to signing the tenancy contract (by now it was too late to find alternate accommodation) we realised that the contract was worded for a single tenant and that simply by placing the names of all tenants on this one contract, we became treated as a single entity by law. We confirmed that this was common practise so thought nothing of it.

Later I left university during the middle of the year. Following my contractual agreement continuing to pay rent for the entire year and I paid off any outstanding and statutory bills out of good will to other housemates.

It turned out that a housemate had failed to pay rent and bills for many months and that several thousands of pounds were now being asked for from the other tenants, including myself, by the estate agent that managed the property.

Why does this matter?

  • To acknowledge that it is not possible for a group of people to reliably act as one entity or collective
  • To reflect that fact by upholding INDIVIDUAL rights for tenants, thus preventing within reason, the actions of one tenant affecting the other, which by current law could allow another tenant to run up a bill of thousands that you would be responsible for, even if a concern had been previously voiced
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