VIC Old housemate refusing to sign me off lease

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12 January 2021
Me and my friend lived together, and were both on the lease. Sadly, as the friendship turned sour, we both decided and agreed it would be best if I moved out before the lease was up. Thankfully, the tenant staying had someone lined up to move in, although wouldn't be for some weeks after I moved out.
We both agreed finding the new tenant would be her responsibility, as she would be the one living with them, and that she would be covering the rent until they moved in. May also be important to note that she continued to use my old room as her office while waiting for the new person to move in, so she was occupying the space.
We spoke to the landlord about the changes, and they said that when I move out, the remaining tenant would need to sign a lease transfer so the only person on the lease was the girl staying, they were happy to only have one person on it for the 2 bedroom house until someone new moved in. I signed my half and sent it off, and the old housemate told me "I'll have it signed and sent off by the end of the week", a process which wouldn't have concerned me, so I just trusted that she did so.
Because of the bad relationship, I moved out and had no further contact with her, and was under the impression I was no longer on the lease, and the new person was moving in.
But now, some months later, the old housemate has contacted me to tell me she never signed the lease transfer so there's no legal documentation to acknowledge I no longer live there. The person she had lined up to move in (her dad) messed her around and decided after constant back and fourth, that he isn't going to move in, which I don't think should be my concern at all, especially considering their close relationship. She is now saying that she is going to break the lease and it's both of our responsibilities to continue paying rent until the landlord can find someone to take over our lease and I won't be getting my bond back (the landlord told us that we need to organise the bond ourselves, and we agreed when her dad moved in, he would pay the bond to me), and it's my responsibility to do an end of lease clean, even though I cleaned when I moved out and she has been living there for months, and again, occupying my old room. I don't think this is right AT ALL considering I haven't been there for months, and was under the impression that whole time that I was not on the lease and the house was no longer my responsibility. It feels as though she's blackmailing me, keeping me on the lease so that she can decide what she wants to do and have me pay thousands of dollars in rent, or get a black mark against my rental history. I also have no idea if she's been paying the full rent like we both agreed, and if she hasn't, that's also a black mark against my name.

Harry De Elle

Well-Known Member
11 February 2017
This has been my experience.
I have found the Tenants Union very helpful (03) 9416 2577
The landlord is obliged to lodge any bond he receives to the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority. If he does not he is in breach and can be reprimanded.
A residential tenancy agreement should have been in place between all tenants and the landlord.
The result of breaking a lease before the tenancy period expires is that any loss which the landlord suffers of lost rent can be recovered from the tenants.
However, the landlord must show that he/she has been proactive in finding new tenants by incurring advertising costs or assigning a managing agent to find new tenants.


LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
Your landlord can come after both of you or either one of you, their choice if you break the lease. Most likely at VCAT.

You in turn likely have a separate action against your co-tenant, in the Magistrates Court. May need to ensure there is no black mark against you by ensuring the lease is not broken.

Your trust in this person has been misplaced and is now likely to cost you money, just a question of whether you want to fight to get some of it back.

Suggest you give our property people a call to see if they can help.