Change of tenant issues

Question from Xavia updated on 29th July 2011:

I own a 5-bdrm property and have tenants on a fixed-term tenancy. One of the tenants is wanting to move-out before lease expires but has someone that can take over her lease. I understand that I am not obliged to agree but if I do (which I am wanting to), would I have to get a new tenancy agreement and have all the tenants re-sign? I want to still have the existing terms and conditions from the original agreement so how would this work? Am I able to put an appendix of this new tenant agreement and severing all liability to the original tenant? It can be quite a hassle getting all the tenants to re-sign as they all work different hours etc and could be time-consuming in getting all signatures.

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

There are two issues to cover on a change of tenant: the tenancy agreement and the bond. Firstly, the tenancy agreement can be varied either a replacement Tenancy Agreement or by a side agreement between the outgoing tenant, the incoming tenant and the landlord. A side agreement simply needs to say that the incoming person accepts all the previous tenant’s rights and responsibilities relating to the Tenancy Agreement , and that the previous tenant is released. The signatures of the landlord and previous tenant effectively annex this agreement as a variation to the existing Tenancy Agreement.

Secondly, the bond is treated in a similar way with a Change of Tenant form. However, it needs to be signed not only by the incoming and outgoing tenants, but also all remaining tenants who have an interest in the bond. The form can be downloaded from Tenancy Services’ website.

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