Section 2

Tenancy Agreements

Sub-Section 2.1

Assignment and Subletting


s. 41 – 50, 90, The Residential Tenancies Act
s. 20 Residential Tenancies Regulations
The Condominium Act


Assignment: a tenant gives all obligations and rights under a tenancy agreement to another person. In an assignment, the original tenant will not return to the rental unit, giving up all right to occupy the rental unit for the rest of the tenancy agreement.

Sublet: a tenant gives all obligations and rights in a tenancy agreement to another person, for a time, during the term of the tenancy agreement. In a sublet, the original tenant intends to return to the rental unit before the end of the tenancy agreement.

Subsidized housing: a rental unit where the amount of the tenant’s rent is based on their income.

Tenancy agreement: a contract between a landlord and a tenant that sets out the basic rules for living in a rental unit. It can be written, oral or implied.


An assignment or subletting is not valid unless the landlord gives written consent. The landlord cannot refuse to give consent unless they have a valid reason.

A tenant can’t sublet or assign a rental unit if:

  • they’re renting subsidized housing; or
  • their rental unit is a caretaker’s unit or an employee’s unit.


A tenant is responsible to find a person to move into their rental unit on an assignment or subletting of the tenancy.


A tenant should talk to their landlord before trying to assign or sublet a rental unit. The landlord may have a waiting list of potential tenants which might help the tenant rent their unit more easily.

The tenant is responsible to arrange and pay for advertising their rental unit for an assignment or sublet.


When consenting to an assignment, the landlord can ask the new tenant for:

  • a security deposit; and
  • payment of the first month’s rent.

The new tenant is entitled to any rent discounts offered in the existing tenancy agreement, unless they are conditional discounts. For example: rent discounts for seniors only.


A landlord may charge the original tenant up to $75.00 for consenting to an assignment or sublet.


A tenant must get their landlord’s written approval or consent to assign or sublet a tenancy agreement. But, a landlord must have good reason to refuse an assignment or sublet. For example: A landlord can review a rental application and decide not to approve a sublet based on the prospective tenant’s past rental history, credit references and personal references.


It is not unreasonable for a landlord to refuse to allow an assignment of the last three months of a tenancy. The landlord may say they will only consent to the assignment if the assignee or new tenant agrees to sign a tenancy agreement renewal. This doesn’t apply to a sublet since a sublet must end before a tenancy agreement does.


A tenant who wants to assign or sublet should expect that the landlord will want to check the references of a prospective tenant. A tenant should give the landlord a reasonable number of days to check the references. It’s not unreasonable for a landlord to take up to five business days to do a reference check. It may take longer if some of the references are out of province.


Once a landlord consents to an assignment or sublet, they generally cannot withdraw the consent. However, if a landlord consents before they’ve had a chance to do a reference check, they should state in writing that their consent is conditional on the outcome of the reference check. A tenant may want to confirm that the landlord’s consent is unconditional before they arrange for other housing.


If a landlord refuses to consent to an assignment or sublet, a tenant may ask the Branch to decide if the landlord is being reasonable. In a case like this, the Branch will only decide if and when the tenancy agreement will end. The Branch will not order a landlord to accept an applicant as a tenant.


If a tenant who owes rent or has not met other obligations wants to assign or sublet, the landlord can choose to:

  • allow the assignment or sublet;
  • end the tenancy; or
  • hold the original tenant’s guarantor, if there is one, responsible for the tenancy agreement.


If the landlord consents to the assignment or sublet, the tenant is still responsible to pay any rent that is outstanding on the date the assignment or sublet takes effect.


There are special rules for tenants who are living in rental units which are converted to condominiums. These tenants have the right to assign their tenancy agreement to another person. They don’t have the right to assign their "right to occupy" to anyone else. For example: A tenant has lived in a building for six years. The landlord converts the building to a condominium. Under The Condominium Act, the tenant has the right to stay in the unit for another six years. If the tenant is on a fixed-term agreement, and wants to move early, they can assign the rest of the agreement. They can’t assign their right to stay in the unit for six years.



This policy is included as information for landlords, tenants and officers. If tenants and landlords aren’t able to solve a problem with an assignment or sublet on their own, they can ask the Branch for help.

Steps ▼

1.The officer encourages the landlord and tenant to share information and to discuss the problem, to try to come to an agreement.

2.When a tenant or landlord asks the Branch for help with an assignment or sublet problem, an appropriate officer follows the procedures for:

    • mediation
    • hearings

Forms & Form Letters

Standard Residential Tenancy Agreement
...............................................................Form 1/Residential Tenancies Regulation

Assignment or Subletting of Tenancy Agreement
.............................................................. Form 3/Residential Tenancies Regulation


For information on mediation, see Section 1.
For details on hearings, see Section 11.

Policy Developed

September, 1992*

Last Revision

May, 2015

Other Resources




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