Change of tenant

Question from Hannah updated on 3rd October 2014:

I have moved into a flat recently and have been asked to sign the change of tenant form. I have not seen a tenancy agreement, should there be one for me to read before I sign this form? What are my rights in terms of if I wanted to get out of my tenancy? Would I have to find someone else to fill my place? Does signing the 'change of tenant' form, make me a tenant, or keep me as a flatmate? And is it normal for my bond to have gone to an old tenant? Do I need to sign a bond lodgement form? Or is that already stated in the change of tenant form?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

By becoming a tenant where there is an existing tenancy agreement in place, you become a party to any terms and conditions contained in the original agreement, and become liable for performing the obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. You should ensure that you are aware of what you are agreeing to and you understand the terms and conditions of your tenancy. If there is any uncertainty about your tenancy agreement, you should discuss this with your landlord. Your landlord may provide you with a copy of the tenancy agreement before you undertake the tenancy. A change of tenant form is designed to be used where an existing tenancy is continuing, but there will be a change to the tenants named on the tenancy agreement and the Bond record. This form can only be used where one or more of the original tenants’ remains. When a change of tenant form is completed, the new/incoming tenants effectively replace the outgoing/departing tenants on the bond record. In this situation, the incoming tenants’ portion of the bond is generally paid to the outgoing tenants. The outgoing tenant’s names are then removed, and the new tenant’s names added to the bond record. For more information on the rights and responsibilities of a tenant, you can visit our website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or you can speak to a member of our Tenancy Advice team by calling 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262), between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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