Exiting a Fixed-Term Tenancy
Question from Mark updated on 12th October 2011:
Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:
It can be difficult to obtain release from a fixed-term tenancy as it cannot be terminated by notice. You need agreement from all the other parties (that is, the landlord and the other tenants) in order to assign your tenancy to a new tenant. It can be difficult to reach an agreement with everyone involved, and landlords can still hold all tenants responsible for the tenancy until the tenancy ends (e.g. for rent, damage, etc.).
A landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent to assign a tenancy, unless the tenancy agreement expressly prohibits it, but the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 does not cover the relationship between tenants, or between tenants and flatmates. I suggest you contact your local community law centre or Citizens Advice Bureau to discuss any concerns relating to your agreement with the other tenants.
To discuss your situation further, or for information about fixed term tenancies, you can visit the Department of Building and Housing website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).
The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.