While many rental properties are taken on by single tenants, some qualify as being rented by joint tenants. In this case, one tenancy agreement is signed by two or more parties depending on the individual situation.
This form of tenancy is frequently used by couples. It ensures that if one partner dies, the property automatically passes to the other. If only one partner had signed the tenancy agreement and that partner died, the surviving partner would have no claim to remain in the property. There is a chance they could come to an agreement to continue renting it from the landlord, of course. However, this would create additional stress and worry at a time when neither would be wanted.
A joint tenancy can also be taken on by other groups of people. However, it is very important to consider this carefully before signing as a joint tenant. There are risks involved if one or more other tenants in the same property should disappear or fail to pay their part of the rent. If this occurred, the landlord would be able to seek the outstanding monies from you and from any other tenants in the property who had signed that agreement. This may leave you in financial difficulty and you could not refuse to pay since the terms would have been clear in the agreement.
The same applies if one tenant causes damage to the property or invites someone to visit who does something similar. The landlord could again seek compensation for the damage caused – again from the other tenants in the property.
The alternative to joint tenants is Tenancy in Common.