Arresting agreements

Kawhena asks:
(updated on Monday, March 20th 2017)

Can a property manager end a fixed term tenancy containing two tenants on one agreement if one of the tenants has been arrested and the other tenant wants to end the tenancy? If so, what is the legal time frame to do so?

Let's say the arrested tenant was arrested on November 8 and a basic written agreement of a couple sentences between the other tenant and the prop manager was signed on November 10 - and then sent for processing with a bond refund form with only ONE tenants signature (existing tenant). The arrested tenants was released on November 10.

Also, the existing tenant's bond was not even lodged.


Our Experts Answer:

You have given some conflicting information.

Firstly, you say that a bond refund has been applied for with only one tenant’s signature, and then you say that the bond has not been lodged. If the landlord has not lodged the bond with Tenancy Services, a Bond Refund form is of no use. At the same time, the landlord may have a case to answer if he has not lodged the bond as required by the Residential Tenancies Act.

You say the tenancy agreement has two tenant signatures, and that the landlord has agreed to end the tenancy with the other signatory. That is really a difficult situation. Both tenants are liable under the fixed term tenancy agreement, and a landlord may pursue either or both to enforce the agreement. The landlord should not simply re-let the property unless one tenant assured the landlord that both were in no position to carry on living at the property.

This sounds like a domestic disagreement. I suggest that you call the Tenancy Services advice line 0800-TENANCY and get further advice.

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