Many people end up with roommate situations that don’t last the length of the lease they signed. Changing the names on the rental agreement is possible, provided you follow the appropriate steps.
It’s not as easy to switch housemates as asking one to move out and another to move in. The landlord has to give permission, and the lease has to be updated or a new one drafted to reflect the new tenants.
- Submit a written request to your landlord to ask permission to change roommates. Professionalism here will pay off later, so make sure it is as crisp and clean as a resume.
- Give the landlord information on the prospective new roommate. This will include the new roommate’s employment status, rental history, or general credit score. Put it in writing and include it with the written request to change names on the lease.
- If the landlord agrees, get a new rental application and have the new roommate fill it out and return it to the landlord.
- If the landlord does not agree, you can appeal in writing with additional information. For instance, put together some letters of recommendation from previous landlords, as well as a general financial statement showing the new roommate can pay the rent. If the landlord still does not agree, ask him for a reason and try to find a way to show him the new roommate is not a risk.
- The landlord will probably require you to sign a new lease agreement with the new roommate and you as co-tenants so that both of you share responsibility for the apartment equally.
- When you sign this new lease agreement, read it carefully. The landlord may have changed the terms of the lease since the last one you signed. He may have raised the rent or security deposit, or added new rules about pets. Read carefully!
- Occasionally the landlord charges a fee to put new names on the lease, but this is optional and you may be able to talk the landlord into waiving it for you.
If the landlord refuses to let you switch the names on the lease agreement, you may be able to sublet. Read your lease very carefully, as you may not even need the landlord’s approval for this! The sublet would be an agreement between your old roommate and your new one, and is just a lease between those two instead of the landlord and new roommate.
Regardless of whether it is a sublet, new lease agreement, or easy signature on the existing lease, it pays to take your time and not give in too easily. You can negotiate a lot of things, and even an initial no or unfavorable lease terms from your landlord are not set in stone. If you are nice but persistent, you can get your landlord to agree to many things that normally he would say no to as a reflex. It never hurts to ask!
Many people have to change the names on the lease agreement. With these simple tips, you’ll have your new roommate and corrected rental agreement in no time.