Getting someone to replace you
Ending the whole tenancy
From time to time, whilst there may be a fixed term agreement during the tenancy you may have to leave; for example you may no longer be able to afford the rent, have to relocate for employment etc. Normally you cannot terminate a lease unless your landlord is in breach of their obligations in relation to the tenancy, there is a break clause or both you and the landlord agree to end the lease early.
As a tenant, you cannot assign or sub-let without the landlord's written consent. Furthermore you cannot assign or sub-let part of a dwelling so if a group of tenants are sharing only the whole tenancy can be assigned/sub-let. if your request to assign or sublet the whole tenancy is refused you can give the relevant notice of termination in writing.
If the landlord agrees to you getting replacement it is important to decide if you want to assign or sublet your tenancy.
Assignment is where you find someone to replace you and you leave the tenancy; the person who replaces you becomes the tenant of the landlord. A new tenancy cycle begins and you no longer have any responsibilities under the tenancy.
Subletting to another person is where you move out and let to a sub-tenant who takes over your tenancy, usually for a specified period of time. You effectively become their landlord but are still responsible for the tenancy to the landlord. For example, if the sub-tenant fails to pay the rent you will be liable for this. If you wish to return to the property you will have to issue a written notice of termination to the sub tenant in compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.
A person cannot assign or sub-let part of a dwelling and this may cause difficulties in shared accommodation where there are multiple tenants and some wish to leave but some wish to remain. In this scenario you cannot assign or sub-let individually.
It is possible for multiple occupants to bring in a person as a licensee however you need to ensure that in doing so it does not lead to overcrowding and they have an obligation to inform the landlord of the persons identity. A licensee does not have the rights of a tenant but after 6 months occupancy they can apply to the landlord to become a tenant and join on to the existing tenancy. This should be acknowledged in writing. If the request is refused a licensee can refer a dispute in these circumstances to the RTB.
What to do
- If you have a lease and wish to assign or sub-let the whole tenancy, write to your landlord and request permission. Use the template letter in the Useful Downloads section on this page.
- If your landlord agrees to your request, then you will have to find a new tenant or sub-tenant
- If your landlord refuses, you can terminate the tenancy by issuing a written notice of termination