Share House Living - Co-Tenancy v. Sub-leases

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Two or more tenants with a shared relationship to the landlord/agent are considered cotenants.

Often you can tell if you are in a cotenancy if there is more than one person listed on the lease as a tenant. Co-tenants are joint and severally liable for paying the rent and damage, meaning the landlord/agent may come after any of the co-tenants for the full rent or damage even though another tenant moves out or is responsible for the damage.

Co-tenants can then sort out any debts between themselves. Sub-tenants are those with a lease agreement with the ‘head’ tenant(s) and generally have no direct relationship with the landlord/agent.

Sub-tenancies are permitted under the following two conditions: 1) the ‘head’ tenant(s) must occupy the premises and 2) the 'head’ tenant(s) must get consent from the landlord/agent.

The landlord/agent must not unreasonably withhold consent. A Bill currently before Parliament may change these conditions so check the Tenants' Union website for updates. Sub-tenancies are not covered under the Act but an agreement will be subject to general contract law.