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ZTA said: Posted on: 13/06/2013 10:10

This is a question regarding the 5th tenant on an AST having no liabilities.

This whole business regarding the 5th tenant having no liabilities is strange to me [well it is based on the Property Act 1925] and I have various questions regarding this.

1. Firstly, besides for the permitted occupier not having rental liability, are there any other liabilities that he will not have?

2. If I put 5 tenants on the AST is it the last named tenant that can claim to be the 5th tenant or can each tenant separately claim to be the 5th tenant or claim that the AST is void as it has 5 tenants on it?

3. If it is only the 5th tenant that has no liabilities – but is a permitted occupier – [I presume this is the case] then that must mean that this tenant cannot be chased for any rent or arrears, as they have no liability. Do they need to be listed separately as a permitted occupier or can they be listed together with all the other tenants, but in affect will be considered legally as just a permitted occupier?

4. If this tenant is listed with all the others, then when you ignore the 5th tenant for liabilities, does the rent then get divided into 4 instead of 5 or does some of the rent become non enforceable?

5. I presume that this 5th tenant should also not be able to claim HB as they are not actually a liable tenant. However, if they are named as a tenant together with the other 4 and considered a permitted occupier, then I presume that HB will not be aware about this and will ignore this problem? Could HB then later ask me to repay this should they become aware of this ancient archaic law, or could I at least protect myself by advising that as this permitted occupier was named on the AST, it should still be considered a legal document even if not a legal AST regarding the 5th tenant.

6. How would this permitted occupier be evicted from the house? Would this permitted occupier have any bearing on the s21 or court papers – if they were [wrongly?] included in the list of tenants or if they were just listed as a permitted occupier.

7. Finally, even with 2 tenants - although I have had some councils asking for separate AST’s and I know many landlords do this, if I am renting out the house as one unit [not by bedroom and communal areas] then is it even legally possible to give 2 separate AST’s for half the rent each – in effect this is 2 AST’s for the same house – but different tenants!

I look forward to getting a bit more clarity regarding this, as would always prefer to have 1 AST for everyone as opposed to having separate AST’s.

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