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SA Property Law - Asking New Tenant to Leave - Can He Sue Me?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by SJ008, 27 October 2015.

  1. SJ008

    SJ008 Member

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    Basically, I was renting with 3 other guys in a house which I found on flatmates.com.au. The general rule which I was made aware of was that you had to find someone to take your place before you could move out and that was it. We split the rent evenly and paid it into S's account so he could pay the agent. All bills were paid to him and he paid them and he had all communication with the agent.

    When I went to get the agent to sign some forms for Centrelink, they were annoyed that they didn't know there had been so many people moving in and out of the house without them knowing. I was put on the lease as well as the other new girl. I decided I wanted to move out 3 months ago and made S and the other guys aware I'd start looking for someone.

    I found a couple of people that would have liked to move in but the guys said they wanted long term tenants and Australians. I finally found a nice guy last week he was willing to pay the bond and was happy with the rent. He said he was unemployed but was on a good government payment as he'd had a workplace injury so was still recovering. He wanted to move in Monday.

    When I told the guys, only S seemed to have an issue. He didn't want to live with an older person. On the day the new guy was meant to move in, I got a text from S saying not to let him move in and that they had another person lined up for in a couple of weeks time. By this stage the guy had already agreed to meet me at the place in an hour and was having a brand new bed delivered which he bought because the room didn't come with a bed. 2 days have gone by since the guy moved in and I got another text from S saying that he'd contacted the agent and they wanted the guy out as he never went through their application process and that I was liable to pay rent and damages and that it was my responsibility to have him evicted from the house.

    I called the agent and she agreed that if I got him out I wouldn't have to pay any rent and that I'd be removed from the lease. I tried to call the guy and he didn't pick up so I sent him a text which he hasn't replied to.

    I want to know, what am I liable for? If the guy tries to sue me for his moving costs/bed, etc., what sort of things could he sue me for? Am I held responsible if he hurts himself in the house? What legal moves under Property Law can I make to have him removed?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi SJ008,

    From what you have stated it sounds like you have created a subtenancy - you being the head tenant and new guy being the subtenant. Subtenants have the same rights and responsibilities as other tenants renting privately under residential tenancy laws. Sub-tenants are responsible to the head tenant in the same way as the head tenant is to the landlord.

    What was the nature of the tenancy that you created with the new guy? Is it a periodic month to month tenancy? Or is it for a specified period of time? If you want a fixed term tenancy to end on the date specified on the lease you must give the tenant at least 28 days. If it's a periodic agreement and you want to end it for no specific reason, you must give the tenant at least 90 days written notice in this form: https://www.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/20255/Notice_to_end_a_periodic_agreement.pdf

    Bear in mind though that you can't end an agreement simply on the basis of a tenant's age, sexuality, marital status etc - this is discrimination and can leave you open to a maximum fine of $1000 at the hands of the Equal Opportunity Commission.

    BTW, a head tenant must get written permission from the landlord to sub-let. If you didn't obtain your landlord's consent to sublet you could be breaching your lease agreement and get evicted.
     

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