"Joint and several liability"- the basics

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Jeffrey Shaw

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#1
Start with the fact that 'several' in this sense means 'separate'.

If L lets to T1 and T2, and if they're jointly and severally liable, it means (in the context of rent, for example) that:
a. T1 is solely liable for the WHOLE rent (not just part of it);
b. T2 is solely liable for the WHOLE rent (not just part of it); and
c. T1 and T2 are together liable for the WHOLE rent.

So L could sue either one or the other or both of them (but, of course, cannot receive > 100% of the rent!)
Between T1 and T2, however, each can try to make the other pay part (prob. half)- but L has full rights against them together and individually.

The Association of Residential Letting Agents defines it like this:
Jointly, the tenants are liable for the payment of all rents and all liabilities falling upon the tenants during the tenancy, as well as any breach of the Agreement..
Individually each tenant is responsible for payment of all rent and all liabilities falling upon the tenant, as well as any breach of the Agreement until all payments have been made in full.

And saying 'joint and several' is effectively shorthand for all that.
 
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