Dear Ethel | Issue 16

Dear Ethel | Issue 16

Keep up with the Rent

OUSA’s Student Support Centre wants to help you with your issues: from dodgy flatmates to unfair grades, email your questions to and she will respond to them for you each week, right here in Critic.

Dear Ethel,
It’s us again. So, the rogue flatmate has moved out of the flat and he hasn’t paid his rent this week. We are trying to find someone to take over the room, but what will happen if we can’t find someone?
Will we have to pay his rent?

I’m sorry to hear that. I was hoping you might have come to a mutually happy arrangement whereby a paying replacement (and not a random cousin) was found to take over from the rogue flatmate. 

Since that hasn’t happened, you’re in a tricky situation. With a jointly and severally liable lease, you are all responsible for any monies owed to the landlord. In short, the landlord doesn’t give a toss who it is that owes money, just that the flat owes money. The landlord can take all of you, or some of you, to the Tenancy Tribunal to get the money back. So, yes, you may end up (one way or another) paying his rent.

That’s pretty crap news for you. There is some recourse. You can take the flatmate who owes you money to the Disputes Tribunal. However, this is a bit of a drawn-out process and often isn’t an instant fix. You might get drip-fed the money owed over a period of time. Some people who owe money are slippery customers and manage to avoid paying altogether, even when the court has ordered them to. 

So, the long and the short of it is, you want to get that room filled as quickly as possible by someone who will pay their rent. Advertise widely. Maybe think about offering an incentive if you’re in a position to do so. And now would be a good time to make sure your records of rent payments are in order, just in case the landlord takes you to the Tenancy Tribunal and/or you take the rogue non-paying flatmate to the Disputes Tribunal.

Best of luck. Let’s hope next time we hear from you it’s with some good news!

This article first appeared in Issue 16, 2015.
Posted 2:33pm Sunday 19th July 2015 by Student Support.