The differences between joint and room only tenancies

On This Page


One of the key decisions a landlord will make when letting out a property is whether they will let the property by the room, or whether they will let the whole property to a group of tenants on one tenancy.

For landlords who have previously only rented to families this question likely hasn't come up before. Families will almost always rent out the whole property together on a joint tenancy. However, if you are renting out a house in multiple occupation (HMO) then you may have to decide between both of these options.

This decision may seem relatively innocuous, but it has a number of important ramifications that change the way you manage your property. The decision changes who is responsible for paying the rent, how a deposit is protected, who can access the property, the fire safety requirements, when a landlord is liable for repairs and who should pay the council tax.

The purpose of this guide is to explain how your responsibilities change and help you to decide how you would prefer to let out your property.

Joint and several liability

Members and guests only

The rest of this page is available after registering for a guest account with the NRLA. It discusses the differences between room only and joint tenancies in relation to -

  • Accessing the property
  • Fire safety
  • Council tax liability
  • Deposit protection
  • Ending a tenancy
  • Repairing obligations
Log in to read this
Log In
Sign up for a free guest membership to read this
Sign Up

Please also find a link to our Privacy Notice.