What should house owners and tenants pay attention to in a situation where the rental contract can be transferred to others?

Written by
Wallace Wang

19 July 2021

According to the latest provisions of the lease law, tenants can transfer the rental contract to others.


For example:

Tenant A is renting a house at a weekly rent of NZD 800. He wanted to move out, but his friend B decided to take over the house he was renting. In this case, Tenant A can transfer the rest of his lease term to B. However, Tenant A must inform the house owner and obtain the written consent from him before transferring the lease term to Friend B.


What are the specific requirements of the latest regulations for house owners and tenants?


# House owner

1. All transfer requirements must be considered.

From February 11, 2021, house owners must consider all requests made by tenants to transfer the lease and must not refuse it without any reason. If the house owner unreasonably rejects the transfer, the tenant may apply to the tenancy court for the approval of the transfer or termination of the lease.

The house owner may propose reasonable terms of transfer, but they must be in writing and signed by all relevant tenants. Signatories include previous tenants, new tenants and the house owner. In addition, previous tenants, new tenants and any remaining tenants should have a copy of this consent form.


If the house owner does not want to accept the transfer, they can allow tenants to terminate the lease.


2. The house owner must respond to the tenant's transfer request as soon as possible.

3. The house owner can charge the tenant for the transfer.

The house owner has the right to recover the reasonable expenses incurred in the transfer process. Even if the tenant finds the next tenant, the house owner can still ask the tenant to pay any reasonable fee.


# Tenant

1. The tenant needs written consent from the house owner.

Tenants can transfer their leases to others at any time upon request.

The request should include detailed contacts of the new tenant and the house owner and all remaining tenants must agree in writing to the transfer.

The house owner should also hand over and settle accounts with the previous and new tenants on matters such as house cleaning and damage during the initial house inspection and the house inspection when the deposit is refunded.


It is illegal to transfer the lease without the prior written consent of the house owner.


2. All arrears must be repaid

On the date when the new tenant takes over, the original tenant will no longer be responsible for the lease. Therefore, before this date, the original tenant needs to pay off all arrears, water charges, or other charges indicated in the contract.


Violations and penalties

For general and reasonable reasons for the transfer of lease, the house owner should agree to the tenant's request. If the rental contract is transferred privately without the consent of the house owner, the tenant will be fined up to NZD 750. House owners will be fined up to NZD 1,500, mainly for disciplinary damages.


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