Business & Finance Sharehouse protocols when someone leaves.

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Aristotle Pickett

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Oct 19, 2020
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I'm in a 3br long-term sharehouse.
I'm the only one on the lease.
Someone moved out but we can't find another tenant.
My other tenant is refusing to contribute to the rent of the empty 3rd room saying legally she doesn't have to.
Isn't there a verbal agreement to share all bills and rent even if not on lease?
She pays 1/3 rent and bills even though legally her name is not on anything.
I have lived in share houses for years and this is the first time someone has taken this position.
I offered to pay the first week and go halves after that but she refused that, I have now asked for a third of the extra rent which she has also refused.
 

utility

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Sep 26, 2003
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I assume there's some government body that can provide tips but don't know exactly which one.

I'd give her an ultimatum of paying 1/2 instead of 1/3 until you rent out the room, or you kick her out (assuming you can afford increased costs for the short-term).

Contract law is murky when you don't have a written contract, as agreement can be implied through behaviour.

I thought the standard lease agreement says you cannot sub-lease without approval from the owner. Was that the case for you?

I'd say whatever happens you'd be better off getting rid of her as she's shown her true colours and not someone you want to be renting with.
 

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kaiserchief13

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Legally I think she is correct, but she is a campaigner to not help out in this situation, it's not like it's your house and you are living there renting out 2 of the rooms
 

Kram

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Living in a house with only 2 people instead of 3 is a lot more comfortable. Unless I really couldn't afford it I'd just pay half, especially if it was good place to live.
 

Sterge

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It really depends on the circumstances, when i lived with a mate and our 3rd moved out yeah we went halves.

If i answered an ad for a room then nah i wouldn't do it
 
Last edited:

kickazz

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Apr 12, 2010
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Moving forward I guess you have two choices.

1. Have everyone living there co sign the lease, risk is spread.

2. Bear all of the risk yourself, but to compensate I would up the rental contribution from the others.


You could even offer prospective housemates a choice, with a lower rate if they agree to go on the lease.
 

Stratton_Gun

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She sounds like a bit of a w***er but it's not her fault someone else left(not saying its yours) . I wouldn't be volunteering to pay an extra $100 or so a week either.
There are advantages and disadvantages of having your name on the lease and I reckon you may have to take this one on the chin
 

SSwans2011

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That's pretty shitty, mainly from the person that left, but also your current roommate. I think unless you're leaving at the end of the lease, the onus (unfortunately, obviously not legally if they're not on the lease) is on a leaving tenant to continue paying rent until the room can be filled.

The owner of the previous share house I lived at with 2 other people gave us about two months notice that he was intending to move back in. Ended up moving into a new place with 1 of my previous housemates, but took us 2 months to find a 3rd person. We both signed the lease, and paid halves until then, and that sucked (it is what we'd ideally like to do long-term, but neither of us were in a financial position to do so after moving costs), so I can't imagine how sh*t your situation must be.

I agree with the suggestion of getting both the current, and future co-tenants on the lease. On one hand, it would make sense to give your housemate an ultimatum of either getting on the lease, or leaving, if they don't think it's their problem, but if they leave, that also obviously doesn't help you out in the short term.

Is the lease directly through your landlord or with a real estate?
 

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Scotland

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May 5, 2006
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Legally I think she is correct, but she is a campaigner to not help out in this situation, it's not like it's your house and you are living there renting out 2 of the rooms
Why is that so different? Some people have mortgages that are $600 a week and supplement them by renting out rooms for $200. Whether it's a $600 lease or a $600 mortgage payment you are still on the hook for the $200 if someone leaves.

The big difference with the lease is when and how it was taken out. If I rented a room somewhere where the person (or people) on the lease had had it for years I wouldn't expect to keep paying rent and bills for weeks and months after I left. Give decent notice, offer to help out financially for a short period then done.

We had a share house back in the day that half a dozen friends all lived in at various stages. I was one of the people never on the lease but at no point were there ever any 'I'm not on the lease so I don't have to XYZ' arguments. Nobody that left paid more than a couple of weeks of their share of the rent after leaving. Given most leases are 12 months it's good etiquette to plan around renewals. If you know you are moving somewhere in March then don't commit to a 12 month lease in January without telling anyone your plans, that's a dick move. If circumstances change they change and you try and do what you can to help out.

If you are in the position as the sole lessee then you run the legal risk of the sh*t hitting the fan if other people bail but by the same token the lease lives and dies with you. If it's up for renewal and you want out then everyone else ends up out on their date unless they want to transfer the lease into their name(s).

Tough situation to be in. Regardless of the financial hit I wouldn't want to stay living with someone who killed the vibe of the house by being selfish and petty.
 

dumb

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Jul 12, 2008
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I'm in a 3br long-term sharehouse.
I'm the only one on the lease.
Someone moved out but we can't find another tenant.
My other tenant is refusing to contribute to the rent of the empty 3rd room saying legally she doesn't have to.
Isn't there a verbal agreement to share all bills and rent even if not on lease?
She pays 1/3 rent and bills even though legally her name is not on anything.
I have lived in share houses for years and this is the first time someone has taken this position.
I offered to pay the first week and go halves after that but she refused that, I have now asked for a third of the extra rent which she has also refused.
sounds like she was interested in offering you 'other arrangements' but she didn't know how to bring it up.
 

Biggy_Boy

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Aug 8, 2007
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Should have got the person who left to keep paying for their room until they found a replacement for you
Why should they have to bear that burden? It's natural that people are going to come and go, and that's the risk you're taking when you're looking to have a lease you've taken on alone covered by sharehouse tenants. If not on the lease, they're not legally compelled to really do anything and nor do they enjoy the same rights that normal tenants do. It would be fair and reasonable to expect the outgoing tenant to give about 2 weeks' notice. Anything more than that is unnecessary.

It's also not reasonable to ask other tenants to cover additional rent because someone chose to move out. I assume they moved in agreeing that the rent would be a specific amount for them. It's not really fair to ask them to pay 50% more rent when they're not actually gaining anything. They're not responsible for other tenants' decision. The leaseholder is solely responsible for paying the full rent amount and should understand the risks that come with offsetting it through renting rooms of their own accord.

In matters such as this the protocol is to do what is lawful so you then can follow the prescribed procedures in place and there are courses of action that can be taken if they're not followed. At the very least, some form of written agreement is a good idea. I don't know why you'd trust a verbal agreement to hold up down the line.

How this is all negotiated between parties probably depends on how the arrangement is entered into and the relationships they have. If it's friends moving in together, maybe it's more reasonable to expect that everyone always contributes equally (but then they should all be on the lease to start with), but as Sterge said, if it's someone who came along because they wanted to rent a room, responding to an ad or the like, then they'd expect to only pay what they agreed to and not have their rent affected by other housemates' decisions to leave.
 

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