Reply To: Common Household & Joint tenants

Andy Thurman

“they themselves have not chosen to sign a joint tenancy with those resident with them”

If that is the case, there is a very strong argument that these are not joint tenancies after all! Is it really an HiMO (even if not a large enough one to trigger HiMO regulations)? Do they have designated bedrooms? Does the landlord impose any house rules/interfere with arrangements for “communal areas”? What would happen if one of the tenants left/died etc?

If you accept they are joint tenants (they may not have initially “chosen” the arrangement but consciously agreed to it when it was ‘suggested’?) you are stuck with deciding on the shared household. This will be tricky (and may well even vary from case to case) but you are on the correct lines in considering it.

What do council tax records show re their joint liability for that? How are utilities paid? Do they eat together? What is their relationship to each other? I strongly argue that the rule should apply to most joint tenancies between friends but more unlikely if they didn’t know each other previously.

Utilising the common household ruling is, btw, a legitimate way for people to afford private rents within LHA (imho) so, as the £1000pcm total rent quoted seems aligned to market rates (not inflated to “take advantage”), the only consideration would be that genuinity of them “living together as a family would”.

Are you able to call the claimants for an informal chat?

I would consider the credibility of each case on its merits.