Transferring your Lease as a Joint Tenant

Ok, so you’re moving out, but your lease is far from being finished. Not so fast, my friend! As you may know, tenants have the opportunity to transfer their lease to another person with the landlord’s consent, at any point during the lease. However, this can get a bit tricky if more than one person is on the lease. Keep in mind that as a joint tenant, you are responsible for one part of a collective lease. Here’s what to do:

Instructions

Figure out what the deal is: are you both joint-tenants moving out? Or just one of you? Both of you are responsible for equal portions of the lease and therefore each you have the responsibility to find a new person to cover your portion if you want to leave. If only one of you wishes to leave and the other one wishes to stay, it is important that the remaining tenant be a part of the decision making process for choosing a new tenant!

If both of you are leaving:

  1. Post an ad for the apartment: use the Hojo website or other classifieds websites such as Craigslist or Kijiji, and post a detailed ad, with pictures! You should stipulate that it is a lease transfer.
  2. Meet the potential new tenants: show your apartment to interested applicants, negotiate terms of the transfer, and make sure you mention that you will need two people to perform lease assignment transfers, in order for the responsibility of joint-tenancy to be fulfilled.
    Tip: choose someone with good-credit and good references in order to improve your chances of the lease transfer going through. You may choose to attach a credit check of the interested applicant to the transfer before presenting it to your landlord; this should eliminate the possibility of your landlord refusing the applicant based on bad credit.
  3. Once you settled upon tenants, send a lease assignment transfer notice to your landlord. Make sure you either send this form by registered mail or obtain a signed copy from your landlord. Your landlord has 10 days to respond to your notice, and if he/she does not send back any formal response within those 10 days then legally the transfer is automatically approved.
  4. Sign an Assignment of Lease Agreement with the new tenant(s). This will serve to clear up the details of your transfer, and affirm the details of the lease which will be taken on by the new tenant.

If you are leaving and your joint-tenant is staying:

  1. Post an ad for your room: be detailed and include photos! Indicate in your ad that it will be a lease assignment transfer. When looking through applicants, discuss with the remaining joint-tenant about the kind of person they wish to live with. In some cases the remaining tenant may wish to take on the process of finding a new roommate themselves. This is something you should decide amongst yourselves, but try and do your best to help with the search.
  2. Meet the interested applicants. Your remaining roommate should be a part of this process.
    Tip: Choose someone with good-credit and good references in order to improve your chances of the lease transfer going through. You may choose to attach a credit check of the interested applicant to the transfer before presenting it to your landlord; this should eliminate the possibility of your landlord refusing the applicant based on bad credit.
  3. Once you and your roommate have settled upon a tenant to replace you, send a lease assignment transfer notice document to your landlord. Make sure you either send this form by registered letter or obtain a signed copy from your landlord. Your landlord has 10 days to respond to your notice, and if he/she does not send back any formal response within those 10 days then legally the transfer is automatically approved.
  4. Sign an Assignment of Lease Agreement with the new tenant. This will serve to clear up the details of your transfer, and affirm the details of the lease which will be taken on by the new tenant.

FAQ

What if the remaining joint-tenant doesn’t like any of the applicants that come to see my apartment?

This is tricky, as you want to find someone who your roommate approves of since they are the one who will be living with the new tenant. Do your best to work out any personal conflict with your roommate and negotiate a compromise. This is one of the issues involved in signing a lease as a joint-tenant!

Can my landlord charge me for doing a lease transfer?

No. According to the Régie du logement, the landlord may not charge a fee for transferring the lease. Although may charge the price of the credit check if they decide to do one. However you can do it yourself free of charge. See Credit check for more information.

Can’t I just let my landlord do all the paperwork? What if he/she offers?

Even if your landlord wants to take on the responsibility of finding a new tenant, you must make sure you have a signed and dated lease assignment transfer document. This is the only way to prove that your legal responsibilities have been officially transferred to the new tenant. If you do not have this document you may be vulnerable to being sued for non-payment.

What if the Landlord refuses the lease transfer?

Legally the landlord may not refuse the assignment of the lease without a serious reason, such as evidence that the applicant does not have the means to pay the rent, or a negative reference from a previous landlord or from the Régie du logement. If you believe your landlord has refused your lease transfer based on personal bias or any other inappropriate reason, you may choose to send an official demand letter and seek recourse at the Régie du logement.]