In Australia, the specifics around a shared tenancy agreement if one party is leaving can depend on both the state laws and the particular arrangement made in the agreement.
But generally, the initial move requires the tenant or party who is leaving to give a termination notice to all other occupants and the landlord, indicating their exact date of departure.
Then, an option to explore is transferring the tenancy to a new person. This step requires a written agreement, which is subject to approval from the landlord and the remaining tenants, ensuring all parties are in agreement with the new arrangements.
There is also the financial aspect which needs consideration, particularly the bond. The exiting tenant is obliged to transfer their bond portion to the remaining or incoming tenant, using the relevant documentation and adhering to legal protocols.
While this may seem like a long and difficult task, this guide will provide you with a clear, step-by-step roadmap to ensure a smooth transition, safeguarding all parties involved from potential pitfalls and ensuring compliance with all legal requirements.
Step 1: Draw Up the Termination Notice
When a tenant leaves a shared tenancy agreement, everyone involved needs to respect their associated rights and responsibilities.
The first step in this process requires the departing tenant to issue a termination notice in writing, ensuring all other tenants and the landlord are adequately informed and can prepare for the forthcoming transition.
This notice must explicitly detail the intended departure date, providing a transparent and actionable timeframe for all parties involved.
In instances where the departing individual is the last tenant, the tenancy agreement naturally concludes on the specified date within the notice.
State laws on termination notice periods
In Australia, the notice periods required for tenants wishing to vacate a shared tenancy differ across states and territories. Here are the specifics for each state based on the information gathered:
New South Wales (NSW):
In NSW, a sub-tenant must provide a 21-day notice under a periodic agreement or a 14-day notice before the end of a fixed-term agreement.
If without grounds the following applies or parties can agree on an earlier date in writing:
- 14 days
- Fixed term – the later of 14 days or the day the agreement ends
South Australia (SA):
At least 28 days notice is required at the end of a fixed-term.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT):
In ACT, the minimum notice period is 21 days.
Western Australia (WA), Tasmania (TAS), Victoria (VIC), Northern Territory (NT):
Additional information can be found on the following government sites:
Step 2: Transfer the Tenancy
When you transfer the tenancy, there are new considerations and actions for everyone involved in the shared tenancy agreement.
The tenants who are staying may find themselves figuring out the financial contributions, with the possibility of introducing a new tenant, or potentially exploring alternative living arrangements, depending on the existing agreement and relationship with the landlord.
This might involve redistributing the departing tenant’s previous responsibilities, such as their financial contribution towards renting a home and utilities, and ensuring that the landlord is kept in the loop regarding these changes to avoid any potential discrepancies or conflicts in the future.
A: Create a transfer of tenancy agreement
The process starts with the drawing up of a transfer of tenancy agreement, a document that must be signed by both the outgoing and incoming tenant.
This transfer of tenancy agreement states the terms of the transfer including:
- The start date of the new tenancy
- The specific amount of bond to be transferred
B: Share the tenancy agreement with your landlord and other tenants
The transfer is not only dependent on the agreement between the outgoing and incoming tenant. It requires the consent of the landlord and all remaining co-tenants, ensuring that the new arrangement is agreeable to all.
This step is crucial in maintaining a harmonious living environment and ensuring that the new tenant is welcomed into a stable and agreeable setting.
C: If applicable, brief the new tenant on share house guidelines
Moreover, the incoming tenant must be adequately briefed on the existing rules, expectations, and any other important details related to the living arrangement.
This ensures that the new flat mates can integrate seamlessly into the home, respecting the established norms and contributing positively to the shared living environment.
Step 3: Manage the Bond
In the context of a shared tenancy agreement, particularly when one party decides to vacate, the management of the bond becomes a focal point of attention and action.
The bond, often a significant financial component in tenancy agreements, is typically divided among all tenants and serves as a security deposit to cover potential damages or breaches of the lease agreement.
So, when a tenant departs, the redistribution and management of this bond must be handled with carefully and legally.
“The departing tenant, having contributed to the bond, must initiate a transfer of their portion to either the remaining tenants or the incoming tenant.“
This is facilitated through the completion and submission of a Change of Bond Contributors form, which must be lodged with the relevant bond authority.
This formality ensures that the bond is accurately and legally redistributed among the current tenants, safeguarding their financial contributions and maintaining the integrity of the security deposit.
It’s also important to ensure that the bond amount is accurately recalculated and that all parties are in agreement regarding the new contributions and distributions.
This might involve discussions or negotiations among the tenants, particularly if the incoming tenant’s contribution differs from that of the departing tenant.
Moreover, it’s prudent to conduct a thorough inspection of the property upon the departure of a tenant, ensuring that any damages or issues are identified and addressed promptly. This ensures that the bond is utilized appropriately and that all tenants are held accountable for their respective contributions to the property’s condition.
When a tenant departs from a shared tenancy agreement, it’s not only the formal aspects of ending the tenancy, transferring it, and managing the bond that need attention.
There are several additional considerations that require thoughtful management to ensure a smooth transition and maintain a harmonious living environment for the remaining tenants.
Rent Payment and Bills
The remaining tenants must reassess how the rent and bills are divided, ensuring that each person’s contribution is fair and agreeable.
This might involve redistributing the departing tenant’s previous financial responsibilities among the remaining tenants or the new tenant, ensuring that all financial obligations are met punctually.
The departing tenant should ensure that their living space and any common areas are left clean and in good condition.
The remaining tenants should also inspect the property to identify any potential damages or issues that need to be addressed, ensuring that the living environment remains pleasant and well-maintained.
Legal and Interpersonal Aspects
It’s crucial to maintain open communication among all parties – the departing tenant, remaining tenants, incoming tenant (if applicable), and the landlord.
Ensuring that all parties are informed and in agreement with the changes helps prevent potential conflicts and ensures that the transition is smooth and agreeable for all.
Helping the New Tenant Adapt
If a new tenant is joining the shared living arrangement, it’s essential to ensure that they are welcomed and integrated into the existing dynamics effectively.
This might involve discussing and establishing house rules, expectations, and any other relevant details to ensure a harmonious living environment.
Understanding Different Tenancy Types
In the context of shared living, it is also crucial to understand the different types of tenancy arrangements available, such as joint tenants vs tenants in common.
This knowledge can aid in making informed decisions regarding the structuring of tenancy agreements and understanding the implications of each type, especially when changes in the tenant lineup occur.
Navigating Lease Changes in Specific Regions
Different regions may have specific guidelines and procedures for managing changes in tenancy.
For instance, if you are navigating through the process of taking your name off a joint lease in QLD, understanding the regional guidelines and legalities can provide clarity and ensure that all actions are compliant with local laws.
Navigating through the departure of a tenant in a shared tenancy agreement if one party is leaving in Australia involves a meticulous journey through legal, financial, and interpersonal considerations.
From the initial termination notice to the potential transfer of tenancy and meticulous management of the bond, each step requires thoughtful action and clear communication among all parties involved.
Moreover, the remaining tenants must navigate through additional considerations, ensuring that the living environment remains harmonious and that all financial and legal obligations are met.
While this process may seem daunting, understanding each step and approaching the transition with clarity and cooperation ensures a smooth and agreeable change for all involved.
Suggested reading: Avoid getting caught off guard by understanding the legalities of renting. Read our comprehensive guide on Renters Rights: What You Should Know.
Should you find any discrepancies or feel there’s crucial information missing, please do not hesitate to inform us. We value accuracy and are always open to constructive feedback.
FAQs on Shared Tenancy Agreement if One Party is Leaving
What happens to deposit if one person moves out?
If you are in a shared tenancy agreement and one person moves out, the landlord is not required to return your deposit until the end of the tenancy agreement. This is because the deposit is held to cover any damages or unpaid rent for the entire tenancy, regardless of how many tenants are living in the property at any given time.
However, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord to return some of the deposit early. For example, if the outgoing tenant has already paid their share of the deposit and there is no damage to the property, the landlord may be willing to return some of the money.
What happens if one person wants to leave a joint tenancy in Victoria?
If you are in a joint tenancy agreement in Victoria and one person wants to leave, the tenancy can only be ended if all of the tenants agree. If the other tenants do not agree to end the tenancy, the outgoing tenant will remain liable for all of the rent and other obligations under the tenancy agreement.
However, the outgoing tenant may be able to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order to end the tenancy. VCAT will only grant this order if it is fair and reasonable to do so, taking into account all of the circumstances of the case.
What happens if one person wants to leave a joint tenancy in QLD?
If you are in a joint tenancy agreement in Queensland and one person wants to leave, the tenancy can be ended if all of the tenants agree.
If the other tenants do not agree to end the tenancy, the outgoing tenant can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for an order to end the tenancy.
QCAT will only grant this order if it is fair and reasonable to do so, taking into account all of the circumstances of the case.
What’s the difference between tenants in common and joint tenants?
Tenants in common and joint tenants are both types of ownership of property by multiple people. The main difference between the two is the right of survivorship.
Tenants in common own a specific share of the property, and their share can be passed on to their heirs or sold during their lifetime. Joint tenants own the property equally, and if one joint tenant dies, their share of the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenants.
In the context of tenancy agreements, tenants in common are each responsible for their own share of the rent and other obligations under the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants are all jointly and severally liable for the rent and other obligations under the tenancy agreement.
This means that the landlord can hold any one of the joint tenants responsible for the full amount of the rent, even if the other joint tenants have not paid their share.