Change of tenant rules

Question from Rory updated on 7th October 2019:

For a change of tenancy to take place on a fixed term tenancy, does at least one tenant that was originally on the contract need to remain as a tenant? If all tenants are leaving then does a new tenancy need to be created?

Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

If there is a change of tenant during the fixed term tenancy, all other tenants and the landlord must agree to that change in writing. If there is still one tenant staying on the tenancy agreement, and if the tenancy is not ending, then before any tenants leave they need written agreement from the landlord and remaining tenant(s) to remove their names from the tenancy agreement or have their names replaced with another tenant from an agreed date.

A Change of Tenant Form will also need to be completed to update any bond records held with Tenancy Services. The change of tenant form must be signed by:

• the outgoing tenants to confirm they have no further claim on the bond

• the new tenant(s)

• the continuing tenant(s)

• the landlord or property manager.

If all existing tenants are leaving early and this has been agreed in writing by all parties, then a new tenancy will need to be created and a bond refund form must be completed for the previous tenancy. Landlords must lodge a new bond with Tenancy Services when a new tenancy starts with the new tenants if a bond is paid. Different rules apply if the existing fixed term tenancy is being assigned to new tenants.

For more information, including information on assignment, and to find the Change of Tenancy Form, go to www.tenancy.govt.nz/ending-a-tenancy/change-of-landlord-or-tenant/. 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.

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