Nightmare new houseshare tenant - advice?

I'm in a houseshare - the sort where the tenancy passes down a chain of tenants, each set signing a new tenancy agreement with the landlord.

My most recent flatmate moved out to live with his girlfriend abroad after many happy months living together. I found a new guy on Spareroom who seemed perfectly normal, professional job, passed the landlord's referencing, signed a new joint AST (12 months, starting 1st March 2018) and duly moved in 10 days ago. I have been away for almost all of that time on a business trip.

When I came back I discovered he'd lost his job, had a MH crisis so substantial the police had to be called to our flat, drank every drop of alcohol in the flat (none of it was his, and there was a lot, inc. several bottles of spirits), broken a piece of furniture (probably not his fault, but it happened) and announced he's going to move out (but depression has a tendency to induce inertia in people, which makes me worried). Even with 20/20 hindsight I couldn't have predicted this!

I'm concerned for a few reasons
a) if he doesn't move out, but doesn't pay the rent I'm not quite sure what I do; I can't afford the whole rent by myself (it's London) and we're jointly and severally liable
b) I'm not getting much interest on the new Spareroom advert - which is odd, as very little has materially changed and there were plenty of people queuing up to view last time. If he does move out and I can't find a new tenant he's still liable but there's no guarantor and the lazy LL will find it easier to pursue me.
c) I can't be the one to move out - I'd still be liable --and I have a conscience-- as I have a dog it would be tricky to find a new tenancy at short notice and no one is going to sign up to replace me and live with him.
d) if he was feeling vindictive he could tell the LL about my dog (please don't say I shouldn't have got a dog - he quite literally came with the house) and cause a whole host of problems (though I'm planning to leave in the autumn anyway).

If I'm honest I want him out asap as I haven't signed up to live with a jobless alcoholic in need of a carer, and think it will be easier to find a new tenant once he's gone. He won't be homeless as he's talking about moving back in with his parents. I suspect the answer is I'm legally doomed, but does anyone have any advice?
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  • G_MG_M Forumite
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    ...... signed a new joint AST (12 months, starting 1st March 2018) .........

    ........

    I'm concerned for a few reasons
    a) if he doesn't move out, but doesn't pay the rent I'm not quite sure what I do; I can't afford the whole rent by myself (it's London) and we're jointly and severally liable
    correct. Your options are
    * pressure on him to pay
    * court action by you, against him, to make him pay his share
    * pursuade him to agree to leave

    b) ...... If he does move out and I can't find a new tenant he's still liable but there's no guarantor and the lazy LL will find it easier to pursue me.
    correct. As soon as it apears he's going to leave, I would speak to the LL and explain. You'll have to tell the LL anyway once you find a replacement. Hopefully the LL will be understanding and chase the ex-tenant for the arrears, not you. But as you say, you are an easier target.

    c) I can't be the one to move out - I'd still be liable --and I have a conscience-- as I have a dog it would be tricky to find a new tenancy at short notice and no one is going to sign up to replace me and live with him.
    seems logical

    d) if he was feeling vindictive he could tell the LL about my dog (please don't say I shouldn't have got a dog - he quite literally came with the house) and cause a whole host of problems (though I'm planning to leave in the autumn anyway).
    ?? the LL does not know? How long has the dog been there (sounds like a long time). How often does the LL do inspections? What about the inventory check when this chap moved in and the new tenancy was created? Surely the dog was noticed.....?

    If I'm honest I want him out asap as I haven't signed up to live with a jobless alcoholic in need of a carer,
    err.... sorry... it actually appears that you have!

    and think it will be easier to find a new tenant once he's gone. He won't be homeless as he's talking about moving back in with his parents. I suspect the answer is I'm legally doomed, but does anyone have any advice?
    Softly softly approach with him, and pursuade him to leave.

    Aggression will exacerbate the situation.

    And I'm afraid, as a joint tenant, your legal options are limted.
  • aliby21aliby21 Forumite
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    no advice to offer OP but you have my sympathies. I ended up sharing with an alcoholic and it was horrible. He still worked so no issues with rent, but he would rummage through other people's rooms looking for booze, and made it generally not a nice house to live in. In the end the landlord gave all five of us notice, which was probably the best outcome. I hope you resolve things.
  • Thank you for the quick response, and confirming my beliefs. However, a spot of follow up advice that's only semi related would be appreciated
    ?? the LL does not know? How long has the dog been there (sounds like a long time). How often does the LL do inspections? What about the inventory check when this chap moved in and the new tenancy was created? Surely the dog was noticed.....?

    The LL does not know about the dog.
    The dog has been there c. 9 months and predates me in the flat. He has now belonged to three successive tenants, which is why I say he came with the flat. I will be taking him with me when I leave.
    The landlord has never inspected. I have been there since August but the previous housemate was in there since about June 2016 and was never inspected. There was no inventory taken either when I moved in or when the new tenant moved in. Luckily the dog is not a nuisance to neighbours or causing damage to the flat.

    When I moved in, the LL took the first months rent and last months rent, and hence I will stop paying rent a month before I move out. This is, according to him, not a deposit and hence not in need of protection. Is this correct?

    One clause in the AST (which is frankly a mess of an AST) states
  • Sorry pressed send too soon

    The clause states that
    The tenant agree to fully indemnify the landlord and pay all costs and expenses, including any legal costs and profession fees incurred, in relation to any matter, proceedings or notice for any breach of the tenancy agreement herein. The tenant shall also pay the landlord or his agent reasonable costs for the tenants failure to adhere to the terms of the tenancy

    I suspect the landlord thinks this clause is an alternative to a deposit - i.e. take the tenant to court if there's a breach (or threaten it and hope they pay up). My response would be "sod off, see you in court" but is this actually an enforceable clause?
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
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    It IS a deposit whatever LL says. You could take him to court for not protecting it (1-3 times the deposit, I assume you have a receipt for monies paid?) . It is at least something to give you wiggle room to pressure the LL.
  • CakegutsCakeguts Forumite
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    Don't buy any alcohol to drink in the flat go to the local pub for a drink. If he has any other mental type breakdowns call an ambulance not the police. Mental health problems are dealt with by the NHS just like any other illness.
  • mollycatmollycat Forumite
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    Cakeguts wrote: »
    Don't buy any alcohol to drink in the flat go to the local pub for a drink. If he has any other mental type breakdowns call an ambulance not the police. Mental health problems are dealt with by the NHS just like any other illness.

    Depends on the context and apologies if you do not have a full appreciation of the range of crises that MH difficulties can bring, but....

    In my 30+ years in working in mental health, it's nearly always been more appropriate to contact the police for assistance than an ambulance for the type of MH crisis that needs urgent intervention, (other than an overdose or other type of self harm obviously).

    Someone delusional or hallucinated to the extent they have become violent are beyond the remit of the ambulance service.

    Anyway, OP.....you have my sympathy.

    Well done on adopting the dog though! :T
  • Cakeguts wrote: »
    Don't buy any alcohol to drink in the flat go to the local pub for a drink. If he has any other mental type breakdowns call an ambulance not the police. Mental health problems are dealt with by the NHS just like any other illness.
    Oh dear.

    If you feel threatened, or at risk, call the police. The NHS are unlikely to send someone out anyway, but even if they did, they would not be there to protect you.
  • edited 17 March 2018 at 2:25PM
    CakegutsCakeguts Forumite
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    edited 17 March 2018 at 2:25PM
    John-K wrote: »
    Oh dear.

    If you feel threatened, or at risk, call the police. The NHS are unlikely to send someone out anyway, but even if they did, they would not be there to protect you.

    The police don't want to deal with mental health issues. They are not doctors.

    Threatening behaviour is a police matter. Depression and mental breakdown is an NHS matter or the local crisis team.
  • mollycatmollycat Forumite
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    Cakeguts wrote: »
    The police don't want to deal with mental health issues. They are not doctors.

    You are seriously misinformed; but I do understand why :)

    Like a lot of people, you are probably translating "mental health crisis", exclusively as Snowflake Johnny telling his student mates he feels like killing himself, said mates then call an ambulance. Not always a good use of ambulance service time, but appropriate (rather than phoning the police).

    Many true mental health crises are of a much more serious nature and police involvement is essential and not resented by them at all. Indeed a failure to contact the police in those instances leads to the judgement of the professionals involve being questioned.

    Anyway, this isn't helping the OP :)
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