Joint tenancies

What is a joint tenancy?

Joint tenants are equally responsible for things like rent.

You have a joint tenancy if:

  • you and the other tenants all signed a single tenancy agreement

  • your tenancy agreement has other tenants' names on it

Not everyone in shared housing has a joint tenancy. You could be a lodger or have a separate tenancy for a room.

Before you sign a joint tenancy agreement

Discuss things with the landlord and other tenants before signing a joint tenancy agreement.

For example, you could try to agree what happens if:

  • there are unpaid bills or rent

  • someone causes damage to the property

  • one tenant wants to leave before the tenancy is up

  • the tenancy deposit scheme returns the whole tenancy deposit to the lead tenant

Record any agreement in writing to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

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

Video transcript

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

You'll be jointly liable for rent

This means that if one joint tenant doesn't pay their share of the rent, you'll all be in rent arrears.

The landlord can ask all or any of the tenants to make up the shortfall.

You have joint control over the property

If another tenant wants to have visitors or overnight guests, you can't really stop them. It's best to sort out some 'ground rules' when you first move in.

It can be hard to get out of a fixed term contract early

You could try to find someone to replace you in the tenancy but the landlord and all the other joint tenants must agree.

Even if there's a break clause in your contract all the tenants must agree to use it.

Find out more on Shelter's website.

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

Last updated: 30 September 2022

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