There are a number of ways to share a rented home. Each arrangement has different obligations you need to follow.
In a sub-letting arrangement, the tenant can rent part or all of the premises to another person. The tenant remains the landlord's tenant and is still responsible for the tenancy, including the actions of the sub-tenant.
Transferring or assigning the lease
If a tenant transfers or assigns the lease, they are inviting someone to be added or take over the lease. The existing lease agreement, including any remaining fixed term period and the rent payable, is transferred to the new tenant or co-tenant. There is no need to sign a new lease although it is best to put the arrangement in writing to avoid any disputes later on.
An additional occupants arrangement is when a tenant informally invites someone to stay with them. This could be a family member, friend or stranger and it may be a temporary or permanent arrangement.
Consent from the landlord
A landlord must give written permission to sub-let or transfer any part of the premises. If a tenant does this without consent, they are breaching the terms of the agreement.
Having an additional occupant does not require permission, although a tenant must not exceed the maximum number of permitted occupants stated on the lease.
A landlord cannot unreasonably say no to requests to sub-let or co-tenant the premises.
Examples of when it is reasonable to say no include, but are not limited to:
- if the total number of occupants permitted under the lease would be exceeded
- if the total number of occupants would exceed any local council rules and regulations
- if the person being proposed is listed on a tenancy database
- if they reasonably believe it would result in the premises being overcrowded.
Challenging a refusal
If a tenant’s request is refused, and they believe the decision is unreasonable, they can apply to the Tribunal to hear their case.
A tenant cannot be charged by the landlord or agent for a sub-let or co-tenancy. The same rules for rent increases apply.
Changing bond records
Co–tenants can pass bond money between themselves. A Change of Shared Tenancy Arrangement form (PDF, 222.5 KB) needs to be signed and lodged with Fair Trading to update the bond records.
Social housing providers
In a social housing arrangement, the decision is made by the social housing provider's own policies and procedures.
Changes due to domestic violence
Tenants can terminate their tenancy immediately in circumstances of domestic violence, which may have a direct impact on co-tenants.
Non-perpetrator co-tenant/s have a 2-week grace period where they only have to pay a portion of the rent. This gives co-tenants time to find a new co-tenant or apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal) to have their tenancy terminated. They cannot be held responsible for any damage to the property by the domestic violence perpetrator.
Perpetrator co-tenants that remain in the rental property are required to pay the full amount of rent as stipulated in the tenancy agreement from the date the domestic violence termination notice is provided.
More information is available on domestic violence in the rented home