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shared tenancy

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831 views 1 replies latest reply: 15 February 2016

Hi everyone

I hope that there’s someone who can help with regard to shared tenancies. 

I was given notice from my landlord at the beginning of the year for the flat I’ve lived in for 10 years as he is selling the house. He’s managed to find me somewhere else so the move is going to be fairly straightforward, apart from the increase in rent!

My friend has lived with me on and off for 6 years…he’s permanently disabled, classed as vulnerable, and hasn’t really had a permanent home for about 8 years now.  However he had a heart attack a couple of years ago and has been here ever since so it has become more permanent.  He contributes to household expenses with his small amount of sickness benefit / miniscule war pension (which is deducted from his sickness benefit!).  He doesn’t currently claim housing bernefit as an advocacy worker told him he wasn’t entitled.  I have lost my single occupancy council tax because he’s here so it costs me financially but I would not dream of kicking him out, he’s my friend and I don’t mind caring for him, even though it is a thankless task sometimes.  I guess I’m his unpaid carer but it’s reassuring to have a male around where I live.

Moving to a new place gives us a chance to formalise the living arrangements, ie him claiming housing benefit and council tax help, which will contribute financially to the running of the house.  Rental values have increased so much in the last 10 years I have been here, and the rent in the new place is £200 a month more expensive than what I way currently, but it is in line with rents in the area.  I work full time but don’t earn a massive wage (about 18k) but enough to get by.  His mental health worker has passed a form for him to complete HOUSING BENEFIT AND LOCAL COUNCIL TAX SUPPORT form.  I am supposed to complete this form (including my living expenses/income) apparently.  We are not in a relationship and what I earn is none of his business, never mind the local council.  I don’t want to not complete the form if it jeopardises his chance of claiming housing benefit.

I guess what I want to know is (a) what kind of tenancy agreement should the landlord give us, should it be a joint one, with us both paying a share of the rent? (b) do I need to complete this form with the information they need to know about me (c) do the council need to know what I earn to determine his entitlement to housing benefit/council tax relief?

I feel a bit aggrieved because he has worked most of his adult life, and his disability is a permanent one and he is unable to work.  I feel he has earned the right not to worry about having his rent paid, and if he didn’t live in my house, the council would then have a duty to house him and provide for him, plus pay for his care, as he could not manage on his own.

Any adice anyone has would be much appreciated.


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Hi Debs

Unfortunately I don’t think we are in a position to give you advice on the benefits side of this and what forms you should or should not be filling in – you can get some help from Citizens Adivce and Shelter have a lot of information on benefits and should also be able to give you some guidance. If you get to the point where you need a legal brain then there are law centres all over the country that should be able to assist.

In terms of the tenancy, it depends. I’m not a lawyer but I would imagine if your friend is living there permanently then the landlord would want them to be on the tenancy agreement as this would make them responsible for rent and bills if you are unable to pay and would also give them responsibilities to pay for any damage if you don’t/can’t. From your friend’s point of view, it gives him a right to be there and if he is mentioned on the tenancy then the landlord can’t suddenly demand that he leave. My only concern is whether he would pass the credit checks that they carry out on new tenants – but if you can prove that you can cover the entire rent yourself then hopefully that will be ok.

You’re doing a wonderful thing caring for this person, it’s kind, compassionate and really impressive.


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