Evicting Tenants from Shared Houses

by propertyreclaim on July 17, 2013

Many landlords find themselves asking whether they can evict tenants from shared housing. They also question whether it is a different process from evicting tenants who have a single or joint tenancy. It is worth looking at this legal process and whether you can evict just one tenant from a shared house.

Whether you can evict one or more tenants from a shared house really depends on what type of tenancy agreement is in place.

Joint Tenancy Agreements

In a shared house with a joint tenancy, all of the occupiers have signed a single agreement so they all have the same responsibilities for paying the rent and upholding the agreement. It is known as joint and several liability so, if, for example, only one tenant is not paying the rent, you have the right to claim all of the rent from the tenant who is paying. Conversely, you cannot take action or evict just one of the tenants because the rent is the responsibility of all the tenants and they would all have to be evicted. Unfortunately, even if only one tenant is causing problems, there isn’t really an option to evict individuals from a joint tenancy. In such cases you are obliged to evict everyone if an agreement cannot be reached between the tenants.

Separate Tenancy Agreements

If your tenants in a shared house have each signed separate tenancy agreements, then each tenant is responsible for paying only the amount of rent set out in their individual agreement. The tenants may share common areas such as bathrooms or kitchens, or they may even dwell in a self-contained area, but they are still only responsible for their share of the rent. The occupants may have the same or similar tenancy agreements or they may be completely different depending on what space they are renting and when they signed the agreement. In the case of separate tenancy agreements in shared housing you can proceed with evicting tenants individually.

Tenancy Agreement with Subtenants

In some shared housing there can be just one name on the tenancy agreement despite the fact that more than one person lives and pays rent there. If there is just one name on the tenancy between the landlord and tenant, then legally there is only one tenant. The landlord can take direct action against. The other people in the property are usually licensees paying rent to the tenant and don’t have as many rights as the main tenant. Licensees can be asked to leave without formal notice. The main tenant can usually assist and decide who should be asked to leave, assuming it is not the main tenant who is causing the problems. If the landlord wants to evict any of the licensees, they would have to take action against the tenant as that is who the contract is with.

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