While the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant are clearly mentioned in a tenancy agreement, it may be helpful to have prior knowledge of them before you enter such a contract. Therefore, through this blog post, we will be discussing the rights that a tenant has if they live with their partner in rented accommodation. In addition to this, we will also explore whether it is essential for you to add your partner to your tenancy agreement when your start living together and what are the consequences of a relationship breakdown on the couple’s tenancy.

What Are Your Rights If You Live With Your Partner In Rented Accommodation?

Your rights as a tenant may vary depending on the following factors: 

  • The nature of your tenancy agreement; whether it is a sole or joint tenancy and you are listed as an occupant or joint tenant 
  • The legal status of your relationship with your partner as married couples have more rights than live-in partners
  • Whether you rent from a private landlord, council authority or housing association

However, there are certain basic rights that all tenants enjoy. These include the following:

  • As a tenant, you have the right to allow and disallow people from coming into your place of residence
  • Your landlord must inform you in advance prior to making a visit (this is usually between 24 – 48 hours)
  • The landlord must provide you with basic infrastructures such as wind and watertight accommodation, toilet, water supply, gas and electricity
  • Protection from fire hazards, a smoke alarm and a fire escape

These rights apply both in the case of a sole or joint tenancy, however, as joint tenants, both of you have the following rights:

  • Your right to stay in the property remains intact even at the end of a relationship; unless there is a court order demanding you to leave on reasonable grounds.
  • Both occupants continue to remain responsible for timely payments of rent as well as the protection of council property. 
  • If one of the partners leaves the property, the remaining partner becomes responsible for rental payments.
  • If both partners decide to vacate the premises, they will be required to pay the rent amounting to the end of the contract.

In the case of sole tenancy, where one partner’s name is on the tenancy agreement they will be solely responsible for rental payments and remain accountable for maintaining the premises, while the other partner whose name is not on the tenancy agreement, can still enjoy the rights os tenant but bears no responsibility especially if they are married to or in a civil partnership with their partner.

Does My Partner Have To Be On The Tenancy Agreement?

No, your partner does not have to be on the tenancy agreement to continue sharing your residence. Being on the tenancy agreement means that the nature of the tenancy will be a joint one and all the individuals named on the agreement are equally responsible for performing the duties of a tenant with the main one paying the rent on time.

While there is no compulsion to add your partner to your tenancy agreement even as an occupant, there may be times in the case of a sole tenancy when a landlord insists that one person is listed as the sole tenant and the remaining occupants are listed as well. In certain cases, landlords may also limit the number of occupants who can live with the sole tenant on their property.

On the other hand, there are cases (especially in the case of unmarried couples) where landlords insist on the tenancy to be a joint tenancy; with both partners listed as tenants. This serves as a matter of assurance for them that in the case of a relationship breakdown, the remaining tenant will automatically become responsible for rental payments. 

What Happens To Joint Tenancy In Case Of Relationship Breakdown?

In case of a relationship breakdown, your joint tenancy agreement will not come to an end immediately even if one of the joint tenants decides to leave the premises and live somewhere else. The departing joint tenant will continue to remain liable to pay rent and will have equal right to occupy the house until the joint tenancy agreement comes to an end with mutual agreement of all concerned parties and is replaced by a sole tenancy agreement of their former partner; should they wish to continue living in the said premises.

However, in the case of a fixed-term or periodic tenancy, if one joint tenant wishes to end the tenancy contract, it will end for all joint tenants living on the property. In some cases, a break clause allows earlier termination of the contract. In the case of a rolling tenancy, you can have the tenancy agreement transferred to your name if your partner chooses to leave the house and live elsewhere. 

Conclusion:

The above discussion makes it quite clear that whether you are married, in a civil partnership or living with your partner, your rights as a tenant tend to be stronger in the case of the former versus the latter. This applies both in the case of a sole tenancy agreement as well as a joint tenancy. However, as a joint tenant, your responsibilities as a tenant towards the place you rent will also be the same as your partner.

FAQs: What Are Your Rights If You Live With Your Partner In Rented Accommodation?

Can someone live with you without being on the lease in the UK?

Yes, someone can live with you without being on the lease in the UK. However, you will need to clarify to your landlord whether someone is staying with you as a guest or a permanent resident.

Can my landlord stop my partner from moving in with me in the UK?

You will need to check your tenancy agreement to confirm whether or not your landlord has placed any restrictions on the number of people living in the property you rent. Under normal circumstances, landlords do not stop the tenant’s partners or family members from moving in with them.

What are my rights as a joint tenant?

As joint tenants, both parties enjoy equal rights as well as responsibilities to the premises. They are equally responsible for rent payments as well as maintenance of the property that they live in. In case of the death of a joint tenant, the surviving partner becomes the sole tenant of the premises.

Do all tenants need to be on the tenancy agreement in the UK?

Yes, in the case of a joint tenancy, all tenants need to be on the tenancy agreement in the UK. However, in the case of a sole tenancy, the tenant must be mentioned in the tenancy agreement while the mention of occupants depends on the landlord.

How long can a guest stay before being considered a tenant in the UK?

Usually, if a guest stays for more than 14 days within a six month period with a tenant, they may be considered a tenant as well. However, it is best to discuss these matters with your landlord and inform them in advance if a guest will stay for a longer period than 14 days. 

References:

Renting: protect your rights to your home during separation if you were cohabiting | MoneyHelper.

Your rights if you or your partner rent your home – Shelter Scotland

Renting with other people – Citizens Advice

What happens to your home when you separate – Citizens Advice

Do all tenants need to be on the tenancy agreement? | Urban Jungle

Tenancy agreements – Citizens Advice

What will happen to our rented house if my partner and I separate? – BDB Pitmans

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