Why do people do it? Why do they sign up for joint tenancies with private landlords together with people they have only just met?
I’m sure it all seems terribly exciting, but what are you letting yourself in for with your shiny new shorthold assured tenancy?
You and all the joint tenants are ‘jointly and severally’ liable for the rent. This means you are each liable for all the rent. If your instant friend stops paying rent, the landlord can come after you for it, even if you have been ‘paying your share’. The Landlord can claim it from you, all the tenants or any of the tenants, whichever option seems to offer the best option of getting the money back. This is entirely legal. Fancy getting a County Court judgement for several thousands of pounds?
And then what if you or your joint tenant brand new buddy wants to leave? Do you just walk away? Then you remain liable for the rent. Do you give notice? Then the whole joint tenancy is ended, for everyone, whether they agree or not.
Surely it will be OK if someone else is found to replace you (or your errant erstwhile friend)? Has the landlord agreed a whole new tenancy agreement for all joint tenants, including the new person? No? Then the new person is the sub-tenant of the existing joint tenants.
Does your tenancy agreement allow subletting? Probably not. Maybe the landlord has condoned it. If not, you are in breach of your tenancy agreement. But in any case you and the joint tenants remain liable for the whole rent to the landlord. Any problems with the new person/sub-tenant are your problems, not the landlord’s.
And then, when it has all gone pear-shaped and to your astonishment you find yourself facing a money claim for thousands of pounds and/or the sudden and unexpected end of your tenancy, you call me and make me feel like I am trampling on little kittens when I tell you there is nothing we can do.
For the sake of the kittens, don’t do it.