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
- have their name replaced 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)
- complete and send us a change of tenant form (if we hold a bond for the tenancy).
Assigning a replacement tenant
The remaining tenants may want the leaving tenant to find someone to take their place.
This is called ‘assignment’. The new tenant takes over all the old tenant’s responsibilities.
Assignment can happen if there’s only one tenant on the tenancy agreement, or if there are several.
Make sure you check your tenancy agreement, as some don't allow tenants to assign the tenancy. Boarding house tenancies can't be assigned.
If assignment is allowed, it must 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.
You need the landlord's written consent
If you want to assign your place in the tenancy, the remaining tenants must all agree. You also need to get the landlord’s written consent. The landlord can't withhold this unreasonably, and can't add unreasonable conditions to their consent.
If a landlord does unreasonably withhold consent, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to approve an assignment or end the tenancy.
It’s unlawful to assign, sublet, or part with possession of the property, without the landlord’s written consent. If you do this, you may be liable for a penalty of up to $1,000. You may also have to pay compensation to the landlord.
The landlord can find a replacement tenant
You can also ask the landlord to find a replacement tenant, although they don't have to do this if they don't want to.
The landlord can ask you to pay any reasonable costs they’ve incurred in finding a new tenant. Even if you find your own replacement, the landlord can still ask you to pay any reasonable costs. For example, fees for doing a credit check on the new tenant.
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 still need to pay any money they owe to the landlord from 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.