Early tenancy exit?

Question from Jade updated on 24th July 2012:

I have been in a flatting situation for two months of a 12 month private signed agreement. I am not happy living in this flat situation anymore and would like to move out. My flatmate and I paid half the bond each. Where do I stand in two different scenarious? Fristly, if my flatmate wants to move out also then are we eligble to end the agreement early? Secondly, if my flatmate doesnt want to move out then how do I go about leaving? Also, am I able to get my half of the bond back?

Our expert Megan Martin responded:

Fixed-term tenancies can be ended before the expiry of the fixed term only by mutual agreement between the landlord and the tenants or in limited circumstances by the Tenancy Tribunal. Tenants will not be entitled to end the tenancy early in situations where one (or all) of the tenants wish to move out. You may be able to assign your tenancy (or your portion of the tenancy) to a new tenant. This is where you find a new tenant to take over the tenancy agreement or your share of it. You will need the consent of your flatmate and your landlord to do this. Unless assignment is expressly prohibited in your tenancy agreement then your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold their consent. However, your landlord can attach reasonable conditions to their consent. I suggest you discuss your situation with your flatmate and your landlord. If you reach an agreement about ending your tenancy early or about assigning your tenancy then you should record that agreement in writing. All of the tenants will continue to be responsible for the tenancy until an agreement has been reached about ending it. Bonds are generally not refunded until the end of the tenancy. However, if you agree that your portion of the tenancy will be assigned to a new tenant then you may be able to agree with your flatmate and the landlord that the new tenant will pay you out your share of the bond. The names on the bond record can be amended accordingly. If the new tenant does pay you your portion of the bond then you should ensure that you complete a Change of Tenant form and provide it to the Department.

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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