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Assignment of a Lease
If you are considering renting a place to live, it is important to know if you are being offered a lease that has been assigned. Assignment occurs when a lease already exists, and you agree to step into the place of the tenant. The lease is assigned completely with no change in terms and conditions.
However, unless the original tenant (John) obtains a release from the landlord, he remains responsible for the rent. A release will be a new agreement, which releases John from all his obligations as a tenant to Diane. If there is no release and Bob does not pay the rent for some reason, Diane can still ask John to pay the rent.
It is therefore important for the original tenant to have a release in the form of a written agreement to say that the landlord accepts someone new as the tenant. In the above example, John would ask Diane to sign an agreement that acknowledges that Bob is the new tenant. This agreement will acknowledge that John is no longer responsible for the premises.
If Diane has agreed to the assignment, Bob is considered to be a tenant within the meaning of the Residential Tenancies Act. The Act states specifically that a tenant for the purposes of the Act, is also a person who is living in the premises under an assignment that has been consented to by the landlord.
You need the written permission of a landlord to assign the property. If you make a request to assign, a landlord can only refuse on reasonable grounds and cannot charge a fee or ask for anything else for giving consent. If a landlord does not answer the request within 14 days, he is taken to have agreed to your request.
Benefits given to a you by the Act cannot be excluded by the tenancy agreement. This would seem to suggest that if a tenancy agreement stated that a tenant was not allowed to assign the lease, that term of the agreement would be void.
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