Sharing your tenancy

15-May-2017

We have had some tenants ask us if it is possible to share their home to help meet the rental costs. The short answer to this question is yes it is possible. 

However there are various ways to do so and each arrangement creates different obligations and processes that must be adhered to by tenants.

Lets take a look at the different arrangements, ensuring you also read The Rules, as it is not possible to enter into the first two arrangements without formal consent.

Sub-letting

Sub-letting is when you enter into a formal agreement with somebody else, whereby you are agreeing to them renting either part of the premises, such as a granny flat, or the whole premises. When you sub-let to someone else you are in effect taking on the role of landlord for the sub–tenant. However you remain the landlord's tenant. There is no contractual arrangement between the landlord and the sub-tenant. The sub–tenant pays their rent to you direct. You continue to be responsible for the tenancy, including the actions of the sub–tenant.

Transferring or assigning the lease

This arrangement is for those who wish to transfer either the whole tenancy or part of the tenancy to a new tenant (i.e. by taking in a new co–tenant). The new tenant is either jointly responsible to comply with the lease (in the case of a new co–tenant) or wholly responsible to the landlord if the whole tenancy is transferred. A typical example could be when a tenant decides it is time to take a relationship to the next level and move in together. 

Additional occupants

This is where you wish to have somebody stay with you in the premises on an informal basis, either on a short term or long term basis. It could be a family member, friend or even a stranger. Exclusive use or possession of part of the premises is not granted. All areas of the premises are simply shared. The new person is just an additional occupant even though they may be paying you rent to stay there. You are responsible for the actions of any occupants or guests you allow in the premises.

The Rules

Landlord consent - you must obtain landlord consent before entering into a sub-letting or transfer arrangement. Without consent you are in breach of the terms of your Agreement. If you simply wish to have an additional occupant stay with you it is not necessary to obtain consent as long as you do not exceed the maximum number of occupants stated on your Lease Agreement.

Reasonable refusal – the landlord cannot refuse a reasonable request to sub-let part of the premises or take on a new co-tenant. However the law does give some examples as to when it is reasonable for the landlord to say no.

To find out when it may be reasonable for a landlord to refuse a request to sub-let or take on a co-tenant and read about how to challenge a refusal and any costs involved with these arrangements, click on the link.

To view or download the Change of Shared Tenancy Agreement form, click here.