You’ve moved out of the family home, bagged yourself a lovely flat to rent and have also found yourself a partner. We know it’s only natural to start thinking about living together if your relationship is blossoming but it’s not a case of simply adding another toothbrush to your bathroom when you rent privately. Here’s our advice to tenants who are thinking of moving a partner in with them.
Check your tenancy agreement
If you signed your tenancy agreement on a ‘single occupancy’ basis, the legal document will only allow you to live there as the named tenant. If you move someone else in who is not specified in the agreement, it is classed as subletting. This is usually prohibited and a reason for a landlord to take legal action against a tenant.
So, I can’t move a partner in?
Even if your tenancy agreement is single occupancy, it doesn’t mean living with your partner in the property is off the cards. Your first step will be to contact your letting agent or landlord, telling them that you would like to move someone in.
Ask them for permission first and if agreed, your agent can draw up a new tenancy agreement with both of you as named tenants in what is known as ‘double occupancy’. Be aware, however, that changes to an incumbent tenancy agreement are one of the few things an agent or landlord can still charge a tenant for.
Is that it?
It is highly likely that your partner will have to undergo the same referencing process as you, as the original tenant. If they fail to meet the necessary standards, residency for your partner may be refused. It could also be the case that your landlord will want to make a small rent increase, as an extra person in the property will lead to more wear and tear, and raise the prospect of damage.
If you’re already living with other people and want to move your partner in, an unrelated, extra person living under the same roof may tip the property into the HMO category (a house in multiple occupation). In this case, the landlord may need to apply for a specific HMO licence to operate legally and be required to make changes to the property to meet compliance standards. If this is the case, the landlord may refuse the request.
What happens if I split up with my partner?
If you are each named on the tenancy agreement, both want to move out and are close to the end of the tenancy agreement, you can give ‘notice to quit’ and vacate the property at the end of the rental term. If your tenancy agreement has some time to run, you can ‘surrender your tenancy’ by asking your landlord to terminate the agreement early – but they do not have to agree to this.
You’ll share responsibility for paying the rent and the property’s condition while you’re both named on the tenancy agreement, even if your partner moves out. It’s therefore important to request a change back to a single occupancy agreement if only one person wishes to stay in the property. If whoever stays is not on the tenancy agreement, they may not benefit from full tenant protection.
Need further information?
If you’re in any doubt about the type of tenancy agreement you have signed, or are thinking about moving a partner in, please contact us for advice.
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