Adding a new tenant to an existing lease in NSW

Key Points:

  1. Landlords have the authority to decline adding someone to a lease under certain circumstances.
  2. Lease agreements must clearly specify the allowable number of occupants and any limitations on adding new tenants.
  3. Discrimination against tenants based on protected characteristics is illegal.


Can a landlord deny adding someone to a lease?

In short, yes, but there are exceptions. A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that lays out the terms of tenancy, including the permissible number of occupants and any restrictions on adding new tenants. Landlords have rights and responsibilities when it comes to this. They can refuse a request if the prospective tenant doesn't meet application criteria or if it exceeds the maximum occupancy limit.


Understanding Lease Agreements:

Before attempting to add someone to a lease, ask your property manager and review the lease terms to check for provisions on additional tenants. Some leases may restrict the number of occupants. If the lease permits additional tenants, the landlord/agent will request the new tenant to complete a rental application.


Landlord’s Rights and Responsibilities:

Landlords can deny a tenant's request, provided they have a valid reason, like a history of property damage or non-payment of rent. On the other hand, landlords/agents also have a responsibility to treat all tenants fairly and not discriminate against them based on certain protected characteristics such as race, gender, or religion.


Tenants wanting to add someone to their lease should:

  1. Review the lease agreement to ensure it allows additional occupants.
  2. Obtain the landlord’s approval through a written request, including details of the new tenant.
  3. Have the new tenant complete a rental application and provide necessary documentation.
  4. Maintain a good relationship with the landlord and follow lease agreement rules and regulations.
  5. Tenants have the right to request to add someone to their lease but must follow proper procedures.


Landlords aren't obligated to allow changes to lease agreements, however, there are some situations where a landlord’s refusal could be considered discriminatory or a violation of the tenant’s rights. For example, if a tenant is attempting to add a partner to the lease and the landlord denies the request based on the partner’s gender, this could be considered discrimination under anti-discrimination laws. 

Tenants and landlords should understand their legal obligations and rights when adding someone to a lease, considering negotiation or mediation before pursuing legal action.


Mitchell Hockey
Mitchell Hockey, a resident of Sydney's North Shore for more than two decades, has acquired an in-depth knowledge of the ever-evolving Sydney property market and developed a genuine passion for the intricacies of the property industry.