If there is a change of tenant during the tenancy, all other tenants and the landlord must agree.
Sometimes when there's more than one tenant on the tenancy agreement, one of these tenants may want to leave. If the tenancy is not ending, then before the tenant leaves they need written agreement from the landlord and the other tenants to:
- remove their name from the tenancy agreement, or
- replace their name with another tenant from an agreed date.
If everyone agrees:
- record the change in writing
- ask the landlord and all the remaining tenants to sign it
- make sure everyone has a copy (the landlord, the tenant who’s leaving, and the tenants who’re staying)
- if the leaving tenant has contributed to the bond, complete and send us a change of tenant form.
Boarding house tenancies can't be assigned.
Landlords must consider all requests for assignment
From 11 February 2021 (when this phase of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 comes into force), landlords must consider all requests from tenants to assign the tenancy and must not decline unreasonably. This does not apply to a tenancy granted before 11 February 2021 if the tenancy agreement prohibits assignment.
When giving written consent, the landlord can include reasonable conditions for the assignment. Alternatively, if the landlord does not want to accept the assignment, they can allow the tenant to end the tenancy.
If an assignment occurs, this should be recorded in writing and signed by the landlord and all the tenants. This includes the tenant who's leaving and the new tenant. The landlord, the leaving tenant, the new tenant and any remaining tenants should all have a copy.
If a landlord unreasonably declines the assignment, the tenant can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to approve the proposed assignment or to end the tenancy.
Tenants need the landlord's written consent
A tenant can make a written request at any time to assign their tenancy to someone else. The request should include the contact details of the person being proposed to take over the tenancy. Alternatively, the landlord can find a replacement tenant, although they don't have to do this if they don't want to.
The landlord and all remaining tenants must agree to the assignment in writing.
It’s unlawful for the tenant to assign, sublet, or part with possession of the property without the landlord’s prior written consent.
Subletting rules remain the same – a landlord can still prohibit a tenant from subletting the premises during the tenancy, provided it is included in the tenancy agreement.
Landlords can charge the tenant for assignment expenses
Landlords are entitled to recover reasonable expenses that came up during the assignment process. Even if the tenant finds their own replacement, the landlord can still require the tenant to pay any reasonable costs incurred. They must first provide the tenant with an invoice that has a breakdown of the costs.
The original tenant must pay what they owe
On the date the new tenant takes over, the original tenant is no longer responsible for the tenancy. They will remain liable for anything done or owed before that date.
If you're in a periodic tenancy
The information above applies to both fixed-term and periodic tenancies. But if you're in a periodic tenancy, you can also just give notice to end the tenancy.
If there’s more than one tenant named on the tenancy agreement, the landlord can take the notice of one tenant as ending the tenancy for all of them.
If the other tenants want to stay they should contact the landlord and reach an agreement about this.