Change of tenant

Question from Rebecca updated on 12th August 2019:

When a remaining tenant refuses to sign a change of tenant form for a tenant who has moved out and wishes to assign a new tenant to her lease, what constitutes reasonable refusal when a third tenant, and the landlord are happy to sign and all police checks, etc are fine?

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants named on the tenancy agreement are jointly responsible for the tenancy, including rent, not just their own share. All parties must agree to any changes to the agreement. Talking again with the tenant who is refusing to sign, to identify their objections, is worth considering before taking more formal action.

If the tenancy agreement you have allows for the tenancy to be assigned to another tenant, and you as landlord agree to the new tenant, another option is to make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal. Tenancy Services manages the application process and will schedule a mediation or Tenancy Tribunal hearing. Applications to the Tenancy Tribunal can be made through the Tenancy Services website (

For more information on disputes, mediation and applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, go to You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here

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.

Search the Ask an Expert archive

Browse all questions in the Ask An Expert Archive »

Site by PHP Developer