Shared tenancies: important info for a flatmate leaving
Brisbane has plenty of share homes. The last census says more than 7% of our households are friends and/or random strangers joining together to afford a home in this sought-after city. And given many of these flatmates have, at best, very few ties to eachother and limited joint commitments, it’s no surprise there can be blues when one wants to move out before the lease is up.
Writing in the PM Support newsletter this week the REIQ’s Selinda Randall continues: “A shared tenancy is when more than one person is named on a residential tenancy agreement as a tenant (not an approved occupant). Each of these people are co-tenants. Queensland legislation outlines the fact that co-tenants are jointly and severally responsible, meaning all co-tenants are responsible for the rent and care of the property as a group and as individuals. Regardless of how well or not so well the co-tenancy works, at some point the tenants may wish to make changes to the agreement. The first step in making these changes is that all parties are required to agree in writing, including the lessor.”
Usually the outgoing flatmate wants their share of the bond back, but landlords aren’t expected to reduce their security. If the remaining tenants aren’t bringing new someone in immediately they’ll need to stump up the extra cash for the bond. And when a new tenant is found they have a number of obligations too.
Selinda continues with some of the many steps agents need to take:
“A scenario where at least one of the current tenants is staying, but there is a request to either remove a tenant from the agreement, add a new tenant to the agreement, or both would involve:
• Seeking lessor instructions
• Processing an application form for any new tenants
• Ensuring new tenants confirm acceptance of the original entry condition report and tenancy agreement
• Ensuring vacating tenant returns the keys and the new tenant signs in acceptance of those keys
• Ensuring all tenants are aware of their rights and obligations
• Facilitating RTA Form 6 Change of Shared Tenancy Arrangement
• Updating records”
A flatmate leaving a share house can lead to disagreements with other tenants and the property manager. Unless someone else takes over your commitments every tenant remains responsible under the lease, even if they choose to move early. Hopefully better information can help everyone understand their rights and obligations a little better.