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Exploitative Tenancy Contract ?

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354 views 1 replies latest reply: 30 March 2016

Please can you advise on a tenancy agreement signed by my nephew which I believe may be exploitative. He moved in to a shared house let by a Cardiff letting agency. The agreement states “Where there is more than one tenant, all obligations, including those for rent and repairs can be enforced against all of the tenants jointly and against each individually.” Within a few months, his three housemates moved out for different reasons (e.g. one of them turned out to be a drug dealer who left without paying some of his bills). Now the agency are pressuring my nephew, who is only 21 and a student living for the first time away from home, to pay all of the rent. The contract runs until June. It’s not my nephew’s fault that his housemates left and he had no power to prevent them. He did not realise that this clause would be used to try and force him to pay the full rent for the whole house, which is completely beyond his means. Why isn’t it up to the landlord to find new tenants, or forego profiting from their own property?

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Unfortunately this is standard for a house let to multiple people. Whoever is left after the others move out is responsible for all of it. I agree it is not fair but it is what usually happens. The agency is trying to do as little work as possible; actually they are all like this. It is almost as if the agency is trying to get your nephew to do their job – find new tenants for the landlord!

Your nephew could do this – new housemates would help share the rent. If he can’t or doesn’t want to he could try and challenge it with the agency – I think you can challenge unfair terms in tenancy agreements under the Trade Descriptions Act. Shelter, Citizen’s Advice and/or a tenancy relations officer (TRO) at the council may be able to help. Also do some internet research on similar cases. But I’m pretty sure the first thing the agency will do if he challenges it is issue him with notice. He could then refuse to leave and let them take him to court and try and defend it that way. It depends how much he wants to stay in the property.

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