Couple tenants: how to avoid payment problems?  - Immo

Couple tenants: how to avoid payment problems? – Immo

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Is the couple, married or not, to whom you are renting a house or apartment, separating? Watch out for payment issues! These few tips will help you protect yourself against it.

If you rent a house or an apartment to a couple, the lease contract can be signed by one or both partners. If there is only one signatory, you have only one interlocutor and know, unequivocally possible, who must fulfill the commitments related to the rental (establishment of the rental guarantee, payment of the rent, reimbursement of rental damage, for example). The downside is that in case of default, you can only turn against him.

Things are however different if it is a married or legally cohabiting couple whose dwelling is the family home, since the partner is then considered by law as a joint tenant, even if he has not signed the lease. You can therefore force him to fulfill the rental commitments. However, his obligations end as soon as there is a divorce (and sometimes even separation), unless he has co-signed the lease.

Solidarity clause

If you plan to rent to a couple, it is better to claim both signatures, it does not matter whether these people are married or not. You will also consider specifying in the lease agreement that the tenants are “severally and indivisibly” bound to respect rental commitments. Perfectly legal, this clause is standard in most leases. Therefore, if you have submitted the lease to the signature of the two tenants and provided for a joint and indivisible commitment clause, you can always turn against one if the other does not pay. In other words, you can claim the full payment from each of the two parties, with the responsibility of the one who has actually paid to obtain reimbursement of the share of the other.

In the absence of a solidarity clause, each of the tenants may only be liable for half of the amounts due; if one fails, turning you against the other won’t be easy – unless, again, it’s a married or legally cohabiting couple.

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They break up, now what?

It is not because the tenants separate that the lease is struck by lapse. In all likelihood, one of the two will leave the premises, either on a decision taken by mutual agreement, or after referral to the court by the more diligent party; In the latter case, things risk getting complicated if they are de facto cohabitants who are co-signatories of the lease, because it could be that the judge refuses to appoint the person required to leave the home.

The co-signer who packs his bags does not escape his rental commitments. You can therefore continue to act towards him as if he were still a tenant. This means in particular that if the person remaining in the dwelling is in default, you can turn against his ex-partner or companionwhose liability in the event of rental damage also remains engaged.

Other agreements?

It is very likely that whichever of the two leaves will ask you to release him from his obligations. Caution ! If you accept, you will “lose” a party against which you could claim your due, which will increase the risk of default. Imagine for example that the one who leaves is the breadwinner… If you still want to grant their request, do so only for future commitments and exclude past commitments., for which he absolutely must remain co-responsible. Establish a written agreement, which you will submit to the signature of the tenant who also remains – he cannot therefore blame you for having made it impossible for him to claim from the other part of what is due to you. A more interesting solution in fact consists in informing the ex-partners of your intention to turn against the one who left the dwelling only if the other is defaulting, but do not put that on paper.

It is not impossible that the partner who is stepping aside will want to terminate the lease alone. Don’t worry: to be admissible, the termination must come from both tenants. Therefore, if the case arises, do not hesitate to let the person concerned know that you contest the validity of his decision.

The tenant stops paying

If the tenant stops paying after the breakup, you can put him on notice making sure not to delay too long. Start by sending him an ordinary letter, 15 days for example after the normal date of payment. If the reminder has no effect, send him a registered letter. Always nothing ? Then you have to go to the justice of the peace., either for the purpose of conciliation or to initiate a “real” procedure. The judge may grant you late payment of rent as well as, if you wish, the termination of the lease at the fault of the tenants.

JAN ROODHOOFT

You are the one terminating ? If you want to terminate a lease signed by two people, you must send a registered letter to each. Even if the address of the separated couple has remained common, you cannot content yourself with sending a single missive in the name of the two recipients. You are therefore required to use two envelopes. The same applies if the single person to whom you rented the house or apartment has in the meantime married or signed a legal cohabitation agreement: from the moment the premises are used as a family home, a termination letter must be sent to the spouse or partner as well. There is only one exception to the rule: the case in which you are unaware of the marriage or legal cohabitation of your tenant. In any case, be sure to comply with these provisions, otherwise the termination will not be valid and nothing says that a second notification could be made within the time limits.

To remember

If you rent a house or an apartment to a couple, do not hesitate to provide in the lease a clause by which the partners undertake, jointly and severally, to pay the amounts due. Do this even if it’s a married couple or legal cohabitants.

The separation of the tenants does not lead to the termination of the lease. Whoever leaves the home remains liable to you. It is better to refuse to exempt him from his commitments.

If the departing tenant wants to terminate the lease alone, the procedure is not valid. You don’t have to take that into account.

If you are renting a house or an apartment to a couple, the lease contract can be signed by one or both partners. If there is only one signatory, you have only one interlocutor and know, unequivocally possible, who must fulfill the commitments related to the rental (establishment of the rental guarantee, payment of the rent, reimbursement of rental damage, for example). The downside is that in case of default, you can only turn against him. However, things are different if it is a married or legally cohabiting couple whose home is the family home, since the partner is then considered by law to be joint tenants, even if they have not signed the lease. You can therefore force him to fulfill the rental commitments. However, his obligations end as soon as there is a divorce (and sometimes even separation), unless he has co-signed the lease. If you plan to rent to a couple, it is better to ask for both signatures, regardless of whether these people are married or not. You will also consider specifying in the lease contract that the tenants are “jointly and indivisibly” bound to respect the rental commitments. Perfectly legal, this clause is standard in most leases. So, if you have submitted the lease to the signature of the two tenants and provided for a joint and indivisible commitment clause, you can always turn against one if the other does not pay. In other words, you can claim the full payment from each of the two parties, with the responsibility of the one who has actually paid to obtain reimbursement of the share of the other. In the absence of a solidarity clause, each of the tenants may only be liable for half of the amounts due; if one fails, turning you against the other won’t be easy – unless, again, it’s a married or legally cohabiting couple. It is not because the tenants separate that the lease is struck by lapse. In all likelihood, one of the two will leave the premises, either on a decision taken by mutual agreement, or after referral to the court by the more diligent party; In the latter case, things risk getting complicated if they are de facto cohabitants co-signing the lease, because the judge may refuse to designate the person required to leave the home. The co-signer who packs his bags does not escape his rental commitments. You can therefore continue to act towards him as if he were still a tenant. This means in particular that if the person remaining in the dwelling is in default, you can turn against his ex-partner or companion, whose liability in the event of rental damage also remains engaged. It is very likely that the one of the two who leaves will ask you to release him from his obligations. Caution ! If you accept, you will “lose” a party against which you could claim your due, which will increase the risk of default. Imagine for example that the one who is leaving is the breadwinner… If you nevertheless wish to grant his request, do so only for future commitments and exclude past commitments, for which he must absolutely remain jointly responsible. Establish a written agreement, which you will submit to the signature of the tenant who also remains – he cannot therefore blame you for having made it impossible for him to claim from the other part of what is due to you. A more interesting solution in fact consists in informing the ex-partners of your intention to turn against the one who left the dwelling only if the other is defaulting, but do not put that on paper. It is not impossible that the partner who is stepping aside will want to terminate the lease alone. Don’t worry: to be admissible, the termination must come from both tenants. Therefore, if the case arises, do not hesitate to let the person concerned know that you contest the validity of his decision. If the tenant stops paying after the break-up, you can put him on notice, making sure not to delay too long. Start by sending him an ordinary letter, 15 days for example after the normal date of payment. If the reminder has no effect, send him a registered letter. Always nothing ? You must then go to the justice of the peace, either for the purpose of conciliation, or to start a “real” procedure. The judge may grant you late payment of rent as well as, if you wish, the termination of the lease at the fault of the tenants. JAN ROODHOOFT

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