Tag Archive for: breaking my lease

Shared accomodation – when you want to move out, but your housemates want to stay

When You Want To Move Out of Shared Accomodation

When two or more people share a rental property and one wants to move out, what should be done?

Firstly, if there is a lease in place, it is important to understand that all people listed on the lease are ‘jointly and severally’ responsible for paying that the rent on this shared accommodation, as well as paying for any damages. This means that anyone listed on the lease can be held responsible for the rent. You cannot just ‘give notice’ and move out without getting signed agreement from ALL parties (i.e. your flatmates and the landlord/agent) or you may still be held accountable for rent.

What you should do?

Step 1.

    1. Discuss with your household that you wish to move out and ask them if they would like to remove you from the lease and take over the responsibility themselves, or if they need a new housemate to replace you.  If they need a new housemate, agree on a timeframe for when your room will be available, who will take responsibility for finding a new housemate, and how this will be done.  Get agreement to this in writing.

Step 2.

    1. Discuss the situation with your landlord or agent. Supply them with a copy of what has been agreed with the housemates.
    1. Your landlord or agent cannot ‘unreasonably’ deny you their consent to transfer the responsibility to the remaining tenants, or to allow you to seek a new housemate. Reasons they could withhold consent would be similar to reasons they would refuse a normal application (e.g. if the remaining flatmates had insufficient income to be able to pay the rent on their own, or the proposed replacement person had poor rental references etc.)

Step 3.

    1. Agree with your housemates (in writing) how any existing bills such as electricity, gas, water, phone, internet, pay tv will be finalised and paid. Also agree on what you will do as far as cleaning the property when you vacate, and perhaps some part-payment towards things such as carpet cleaning which may not be due until the end of the lease. Remember that you may need to remove your name from various utility bills so you do not retain responsibility for them after you vacate the premises.

Step 4.

    1. If a replacement tenant is found, it is a good idea to ask the agent or landlord to inspect the property to ensure there are no outstanding bond issues that you might be held responsible for. This also means that your bond can be simply ‘transferred’ to the new person. If there are bond issues, it is up to the landlord/agent and you and your existing housemates to agree on how this will be handled. (Who will fix it, and at what cost). It may be that a portion of your bond may be withheld to contribute towards damage to the property.

For more information, go to the Residential Tenancy Authority (Queensland).