Joint tenancies

Joint tenants are equally responsible for paying the rent. Only sign up to a joint tenancy if you are confident the other tenants will pay their rent.

3 things you need to know before taking on a joint tenancy

Our adviser Jayne explains what you need to know before you sign a joint tenancy agreement.

What is a joint tenancy?

You have a joint tenancy if you and the other tenants all signed a single tenancy agreement with a landlord when you moved in.

If your tenancy agreement has other named tenants on it then it will be a joint tenancy. 

Use Shelter's tenancy checker to check what type of tenancy you have.

What can you be asked to pay for?

You have joint responsibilities in a joint tenancy. 

Your landlord can hold you responsible for:

  • rent arrears caused by yourself or the other joint tenants

  • damage to the property caused by any of the tenants or their visitors  

This is called joint and several liability.


You must pay your share of the rent but if another tenant doesn't pay, the landlord can ask any of you to make up the shortfall.


You are jointly responsible for taking care of the property including communal areas. 

Tenancy deposits

Your landlord may ask for a single tenancy deposit and can use this to cover things like damage or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy.

If you replace another tenant in an existing joint tenancy, you should usually pay your share of the deposit to the landlord or agent, not to the outgoing tenant. 

Ending a joint tenancy

It's a good idea to discuss your plans with the other tenants if you want to leave. Your actions will directly affect them.

Find out how to end a joint assured shorthold tenancy. Most private renters have this type of tenancy.

Break clauses

Your agreement may say you can give notice if you need to move out early. This is called a break clause.

It's a good idea to check whether your joint agreement has one before you sign. If it doesn't you could ask for one. 

Break clauses are a useful safety net in case things don't work out. 

All joint tenants need to agree if you want to use a break clause

Relationship breakdown

If you have a joint tenancy with a partner or ex-partner but your relationship has ended, you'll need to discuss what happens to the tenancy.

Last updated: 23 August 2019

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