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Should I sign this contract?

(26 Posts)
SteadyHand Sat 23-May-15 18:17:33

My husband and I have lived in a house owned by his parents for 2+ years. We never had a tenancy agreement during this time.
My husband has recently left me and moved out. I have asked for a rental contact to offer me and the dc some security.
His father has now supplied a contract in both our names (husband and I). I'm not happy to sign this because:
A) husband doesn't live here, I am the sole adult occupier.
B) I claim a single person's discount on my council tax- this contract would suggest otherwise.
C) I believe that my husband would have the right to terminate the contract and force me to move out if we are both tenants- is this right?
Any thoughts- I am being pressured to sign this but can't get an appointment at the CAB for advice.

nightshade Sat 23-May-15 18:19:40

I wouldn't sign. ...tenancy should be solely in your name...

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 23-May-15 18:22:06

Talk to Shelter but I wouldn't sign it no.

SteadyHand Sat 23-May-15 18:23:00

That's what I think, but FIL reckons they received advice saying to have his name on it too- for whose benefit I'm wondering?

LotusLight Sat 23-May-15 18:25:45

The question though is whether you should be allowed to live in that house now that you have both split up - so you need solicitor to advise on whether you currently have some kind of licence and they can turf you out pretty sharpish or else you have some kind of indefinite secure tenancy.

Have you paid rent up to now?

RandomMess Sat 23-May-15 18:28:54

I would talk to shelter, in many ways continuing to live there could make your life more difficult and stressful tbh.

You may have certain rights as a sitting tenant regardless of not have a contract.

SteadyHand Sat 23-May-15 18:30:29

LotusLight- please could you explain in a bit more detail? They are ok with me staying here with the dc it would seem, hence the contract.
Yes rent is up to date (husband paid this month's) but FIL won't give me the bank account details until I sign the contract, so paying June's will be a problem if I don't move quickly and I don't want to rack up arrears.
I can't afford a solicitor- I haven't got tax credits coming in yet, I'm struggling to buy food and pay childcare at the moment.

SteadyHand Sat 23-May-15 18:31:27

RandomMess- I know what you mean. If money was no obstacle I would move.

RandomMess Sat 23-May-15 18:35:46

Hmmm but if they give you notice of eviction then you may become eligible to bid for council/HA properties...

titchy Sat 23-May-15 18:57:35

Why do you need his bank account to pay rent? Give him a cheque.

DinkyDye Sat 23-May-15 19:01:48

Don't sign it OP. Give chq for next month and seek advice. It isn't right to have your ex listed when he doesn't live there.

Dietagainmonday Sat 23-May-15 19:06:20

Don't sign it. If your going to be claiming benefits especially housing benefit and council tax the they will take his wages into account if he's in the tenancy. Ask for it to be solely in your name or you may have to find somewhere else to live

LotusLight Sun 24-May-15 07:18:40

I am not a property lwayer but there are a few ways people occupy property - a licence to stay like my adult children have when they are here - no rent or an over night guest. Secondly the most common - an assured shorthold tenancy - is that what they have given you (and it is in joint names with their son)? That will allow them to remove you after the end of the term eg it may be for a year's term or two years. It is not unreasonable to want you to have one of those and I bet that place is heaps better than any local council housing or bed and breakfast the council would offer you so I am not that sure refusing to sign and getting kicked out to the mercy of the council would be a great idea.

If the agreement is in your son's and your name both of you are liable to pay the full rent so that benefits you as he has that legal liability to pay and if I were his parents I would want that. On the other hand he also has a right to stay there if he wants which is obviously not the reality if he has left.

If there is no assured shorthold tenancy and you are not just a licensee (you won't be as you are paying rent).
This Shelter Link says usually even for tenants a written contract is better

You might find if you want to stay that your other half being liable with you for the rent is a huge bonus, your children get stability and you don't end up in a local council rough awful place. However read the agreement carefully eg it is likely to be for a year and I would imagine they will extend it for another year and perhaps amend it so that it includes a clause saying although their son will pay (whatever amount of the rent he is to pay all or a % or whatever and write that in) he has no right to occupy the property unless you become reconciled. I presume no deposit was paid so make sure that is clearly stated too. Ideally get a lawyer to look it over, perhaps the CAB or any legal advice you might have which comes free with home insurance if any.

The point I implied above is whether you have more rights to stay if you don't sign. I just don't know enough about property law to know if that is still the law.

SteadyHand Sun 24-May-15 08:13:09

LotusLight- thanks for your time to reply.
Yes it's an assured short hold tenancy, for 12 months. My husband won't be paying any of the rent, nor will he be staying here.
I am very grateful to have the house, I've been down the homeless route with the council before, and whilst we were lucky then with the property we were given, it was a stressful and uncertain time.
I'm not opposed to signing a contract, it was me who requested one, but I just don't see how I can knowingly sign a document that I believe isn't the truth. I am still waiting to hear back from FIL.

LotusLight Sun 24-May-15 11:53:35

See what he says back.
If your husband is not paying then it seems a bit strange to have him as a tenant except I suppose the parents might be able then to go after him for the rent if he's named as joint tenant. Does the agreement say only you have to pay rather than him?

SteadyHand Sun 24-May-15 13:12:55

No the agreement is a standard, 'both parties are liable for rent'. My husband has offered to give me some maintenance but is now paying rent on his new place.
He came round today and informed me that FIL has said if I don't sign the tenancy in both names, he'll increase the rent.
I haven't heard from FIL directly but I'm feeling really upset and pressured today. My husband was unfaithful and walked out on us, yet it's me that's dealing with all the aftermath on my own.

LotusLight Sun 24-May-15 13:17:04

It seems to me to advantage you to sign it because your husband is liable to pay the rent if you fail to do so unless you think they have a cunning plan to move you out and your husband in and the children say with him?

If there is no written agreement you might legally be in a stronger position although there woudl be no obligation on your husband to pay the rent in that case - I just don't know enough about lettings law to know. It all sounds very difficult.

FenellaFellorick Sun 24-May-15 13:21:07

If he is named on the tenancy then I believe legally you cannot keep him out of the house.
That would worry me.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sun 24-May-15 13:25:01

What does Shelter say?

I think some of the advice on this thread is very poor indeed.

SteadyHand Sun 24-May-15 13:44:05

I will try and call Shelter today. I've been busy with the 3 children, my youngest is only 10 months, but I need to get this sorted ASAP.
MovingOn- which advice do you think is poor?

LotusLight Sun 24-May-15 15:11:23

Yes tell us if it's poor? I haven't said whether to sign or not. I've said if you have no written agreement possibly you have stronger rights (unless it's just a temporary licence). I have said if the husband is obliged to pay the rent with the wife then that's probably a good thing rather than him not being on the document in which case she's stuck with the legal obligation to pay it all and I've said ideally add a clause saying that he has no right to live in the property and I gave a shelter link above.

I do not agree with putting yourself on the mercy of council housing and staying in family owned property as few grandparents want to see their grandchildren on the street (most people aren't wicked) so I don't see in principle why it's going to be wrong to rent from them.

PleasantSpecimen Mon 25-May-15 12:20:31

Hmm. I have no legal knowledge to give but my thinking on this matter is that no matter how fab your inlaws are to you - blood is thicker than water. I would be worried they are leaving their sons name on there for some reason not neccessarily to my advantage.

I would want proper legal advice.

Google local solicitors that give free half hour/hour long appointments in your area and get booked in pronto.

LotusLight Mon 25-May-15 13:03:41

Yes, it's tricky. Years ago if you had no written contract but paid rent then you had more rights than if you had a contract but I am not sure if that's still the law.

It may just be that they hope the couple will reconcile and the husband will move back in during the year's period.

deckthehallswithdesperation Mon 25-May-15 16:30:29

As a previous landlord myself I'd say be very wary continuing to stay there. An AST might well say it's for 1 or 2 years, but most are breakable by either party after the first 6 months. I'd be very careful.

SteadyHand Mon 25-May-15 18:00:53

Deckthehalls- what would you suggest I do, if I'm not happy to sign? I'm still waiting to hear from FIL...

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