Tenancy Agreements: How Do I Rent with My Partner?

Love is in the air, and you and your partner are ready to take the next big step: renting together! But hold on a moment… navigating the world of co-renting can be quite the adventure. 

From finding the perfect place that suits both of your needs to understanding the legal and financial aspects, there are important factors to consider to ensure a smooth renting experience as a couple. In this article, we’ll mostly cover how to move in with your partner. Anything involving the tenancy agreement and communicating with the landlord will be easier if you’re equipped to handle it.

Are you ready to rent together?

The first question you should ask is whether or not both of you are ready to move in and rent a place together. There’s financial questions about sharing the cost of living between rent, utilities and groceries. It’s likely you may even have to consider starting joint finances during your stay.

If you’re the one asking your partner to move in, is your apartment currently able to accommodate both of your lifestyles? Is it a temporary arrangement or a long-term one? What about things like chores?

After you work out the details and make a plan for the tentative future, you can then approach your landlord about renting together with your partner. Most landlords would not be hung up on your dating status as long as your partner checks out and the property is taken care of.

with your partner

Can my partner move into my rental property?

Now that you’re ready to take the next step and move in with your partner, it’s important to understand the different options when it comes to renting a place together. It’s important to determine clearly whether you plan on becoming joint tenants, or whether you will remain the tenant and your partner will become a permitted occupant. 

As joint tenants, you and your partner have equal legal obligations and rights when it comes to the tenancy agreement, the landlord, and each other. This arrangement means that neither tenant can evict the other, holding both parties responsible for the property.

If you opt for the option of tenant and permitted occupant, the legalities and responsibilities differ. This would be similar to a legal subletting arrangement where you become the primary tenant. You are still responsible for rent payments, and you have the power to evict your partner should the situation arise.

Does my partner have to be on the tenancy agreement? 

But speaking of, it’s rare for a tenant to be given the choice as to whether to make a new occupant a joint tenant or a permitted occupant. 

Landlords may insist that any new occupants sign the rental agreement and become official tenants themselves. When landlords grant permission for someone to occupy the property without being a tenant, they risk that person damaging the property or refusing to leave even after the approved tenant has left. This move is to protect the property from potential damage or other complications. While the approved tenant  is typically responsible for any damage caused by the permitted occupant, the waters can get muddy, and determining who is responsible can become an issue for the courts.

It’s crucial to seek permission from your landlord before moving your partner into your rental. Not all landlords allow additional occupants, and there are legal considerations to keep in mind. These include factors such as the protection of the tenancy deposit and determining who it will be returned to at the end of the agreement. 

signing the tenancy agreement

Adding your partner to your rental agreement

Before discussing your partner’s possibility of moving in with your landlord, check your tenancy agreement first. Take the time to carefully examine the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement, including anything about the number of occupants allowed and whether landlord permission is required to add a roommate. While most tenancy agreements don’t explicitly allow for adding a roommate without permission, it’s essential to double-check.

Even if your tenancy agreement doesn’t explicitly state the need for landlord permission, you should still let them know. It’s unlikely that a new tenant will go unnoticed for too long, and it doesn’t pay to behave in a sneaky way. Acting in a transparent and honest manner is always the best approach. It is especially a bad idea to move your partner in without informing your landlord if you have a month-to-month revolving tenancy, as your landlord could evict you for any reason. 

Your landlord may wish to issue separate tenancy agreements for the rented property so you both have the same rights, even if you are the primary/sole tenant who is responsible to pay rent. This helps protect both parties and ensures clarity regarding rent payment obligations and tenancy terms.

Asking for your landlord’s permission

When it comes to asking your landlord, open communication is key.

Get in touch with your landlord to explain your wish to move your partner in as soon as possible. As long as you have a track record of being a responsible tenant and paying rent on time, there’s a good chance that your landlord will grant approval for the request.

If you are on speaking terms with your landlord, then you could text or speak to them directly. However, it’s still best to put your request in writing. Include your name, address, and state that you regularly pay your rent on time and keep the property in good condition. When you request to move your partner in, also state the date you’d like them to start their stay. Provide references, a credit report and other documents you submitted in your original application.

The landlord has a right to screen your partner beforehand to make sure they are trustworthy. If your partner’s application is weak in any area, it doesn’t hurt to explain any circumstances and reassure the landlord about making an informed decision.

Did you think about the downsides and risks?

Until the end of the tenancy agreement, if you are both named tenants, you will both be responsible for maintaining the property’s condition and paying the rent. This is the case regardless of whether one partner moves on or you both move out. 

Consider the possibility of things going south, and how you would handle it:

  • What if you and your partner break up?
  • What if they refuse to pay their part of the rent?
  • What if one of you has to move out due to career or other reasons?

Discuss with your landlord about your options should these circumstances occur. You can request that you revert your type of tenancy agreement back to a single occupancy agreement. At the end of the day, you are still responsible for ensuring that rent is paid.

As long as you’re thorough, reaching this milestone and renting with your partner will be picture perfect. Being proactive and maintaining open communication with your landlord is the best way to handle the aspects surrounding the tenancy agreement.

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