Dual liability

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    We are getting recurring requests for overlap on an HMO property. The HMO is for young people who are vulnerable so there is a degree of support with the aim of moving them on to be independent. Many of the youngsters when offered new accommodation have little or no time to give notice so end up with a dual liability.

    Our problem is the vacant room, the landlord will often move another resident into the room (if it is bigger or nicer than the one they have) but still charge the vacating person their months notice because they still have a “void” room in the establishment and it takes them time to arrange for a new person through their referral system.

    Is it the person moving from room to room that should be requesting the overlap (in which case there would be a question on avoidability) or is it OK to consider the overlap for the vacating tenant?

    Any suggestions?

    Kevin D

    It depends on how you look at it.

    If the two dwellings were entirely separate properties, it would be a nonsense for tenant A to be held liable for rent in respect of a dwelling that was already occupied by tenant B. It would be wholly unreasonable for the L/L to expect two rents for the same period on the same dwelling.

    Quote from [b:1107cc50ed]CH/4465/2002[/b:1107cc50ed]:
    [quote:1107cc50ed]It is absurd for the landlord to argue that it was entitled to continue receiving HB for two different tenants at the same flat so long as the authority did not discover its error. [/quote:1107cc50ed]

    However, where you have rooms in the same property, I suppose the L/L could argue that they’d simply swapped rooms and the remaining “empty” room was still Tenant A’s. But, the clmt hasn’t in fact ever occupied Tenant B’s old room and never will, so the “room swap” argument is really nothing more than a device.

    I’d probably refuse the overlap for Tenant A on the grounds that his L/L has already re-tenanted that same dwelling AND Tenant A never had liability for Tenant B’s old room.

    Although, I accept that if Tenant A’s room had remained vacant, 2 homes would be payable (subject to the usual 2 homes criteria).

    A very narrow view, so subsequent posts are going to be interesting…. 🙂

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