Vacating a Joint Tenancy: What Happens Next?

When one tenant wishes to leave a joint tenancy while others want to stay, or indeed move someone else in, several steps must be followed to ensure a smooth transition. This process involves legal, financial, and logistical considerations.

Variation of Contract

Firstly, the outgoing tenant must request a 'variation of contract,' which comes with a £50 fee. This fee is typically paid by the outgoing tenant. The tenant must put their request in writing and, if a replacement has already been found, provide their full name, mobile number, and email address.

Referencing the New Tenant

Before the new tenant can move in, they must undergo a referencing process. This checks for credit history, affordability, landlord references, and the right to rent. A new tenancy agreement, typically with a minimum of 6 months, is then drawn up.

Deposit Handling

The deposit is registered with the TDS custodial scheme. The outgoing tenant is entitled to a portion of the total deposit, which is usually shared equally among all housemates. The incoming tenant pays an equivalent amount at the start of the new agreement, which is then used to top up the original deposit.

Inventory Check-In

As the new tenancy agreement starts during occupancy, the original Inventory Check-In report is used as a reference for the property's condition. New tenants will be provided with a copy of this report and will have the opportunity to make any amendments. Any discrepancies in property condition not listed in the inventory should be negotiated between the new and outgoing tenants.

Utilities and Responsibilities

Transferring responsibilities like utility bills is generally arranged between the tenants themselves.

Late Rent and Penalties

The existing agreement remains in place until the new one is signed. Therefore, the outgoing tenant must continue to honour their responsibilities, including rent payments, until the process is complete.

Final Steps

Once all these steps are completed, the outgoing tenant confirms with the deposit scheme that they have vacated, and the new tenancy agreement comes into effect.

By following these steps carefully, tenants can ensure a smooth transition and avoid any legal or financial complications.