Adding new tenant to agreement

[I thought this would be an obvious topic but couldn’t find any relevant post or FAQ, please do redirect me if you know of one]

In short: my tenant has a new partner and would like to add them to the tenancy. Is there a way to do this that doesn’t involve starting everything from scratch, including tenant fees, deposits, referencing, etc?


Hi Rob, thanks for posting.

If you would like to make this change using OpenRent we would only be able to accommodate this by setting up a new tenancy through Rent Now. We appreciate this isn’t as smooth as it could be. Therefore it’s likely it would be simpler for you to arrange this directly with the tenant(s).

This will involve refunding the deposit held on the first tenancy to the tenants, so they can give that back to the tenant who is moving out. As this would be an entirely new Rent Now this will cost you £49.

While we appreciate this seems like a simple change, any change to the tenants living in the property is considered legally significant, and this requires a new tenancy to be set up in order to be legally sound.

Since the tenancy is between you and the tenant, you’re alternatively free to arrange this yourself.

If you’d like to go ahead changing the contract this way feel free to contact us here.

Hi there,

When you say you can sort it out with tenant yourself and email OpenRent support what do you mean by this?

My tenant wants to move her partner into the flat so I’d like to add him onto the agreement without first having to refund her deposit and initiate the process again. Is this possible?


Hi Giulia,

If you want to add a tenant to an ongoing tenancy, you can do this via a deed of assignment or you can begin a new tenancy with both the tenants as signatories.

Adding a new tenant to an ongoing tenancy via assignment isn’t something that we (or anyone else) have built an automated system for. The deed would need to be properly drafted, signed by all parties and witnessed. It’s is often more straightforward to simply begin a new tenancy.

I’ts very easy to initiate a deposit return via your scheme’s website, and OpenRent handles the registering of the new deposit for all parties anyway, so it isn’t that much more admin just to create a new tenancy.

If you have any questions about this, you can email the above address for more help.


Thanks Sam. If I decided not to put him on the agreement and just keep the agreement between me and the main tenant, would I risk possible squatters rights with him? Her tenancy runs out in March 2020 so I’m wondering if I just wait until then to add him on or if it’s critical to do it now.

Hi Giulia, I’m not an expert on squatting, but I don’t think that living at a property let by someone else gives you any rights over that property. If, for example, you ended the tenancy, but this person did not leave the property, then I assume you would have a trespasser, not a squatter.


Hi Sam,

I have a similar issue which I need advice on. My tenant (foreign national but now a UK citizen) has a Spanish boyfriend who wants to come to the UK to work and move in with her next month. He will fail referencing as we won’t be able to do credit checks on him for a few months. Some questions on this:

  1. Would a Deed of Assignment be sufficient for this change, or is it easier to do start a completely new AST using Rent Now? What is a Deed of Assignment and how does it work? Can OpenRent do this, or can I draft it myself and do I need a Lawyer?
  2. I realise if he moves in having failed referencing, our Rent Guarantee insurance will be void. The original tenant can’t find a UK based Guarantor to solve the problem, but doesn’t see why we need one for her boyfriend anyway, as she has a good income, pays the rent and has insurance to cover redundancy/ill health. How can we explain to her that we need some security in case the worst happened to her for example? Would asking for 3 months rent in advance, held as a quasi-deposit by OpenRent be another option, to give him time to get credit checks done?
  3. How soon can he get credit checks and pass referencing and what does he need to pass them? Can he get a UK bank account before he’s resident in UK?
    I’d love to get this sorted without it becoming hugely complex or expensive for me…
    Many thanks,

Hi Simon.

I believe so.

It depends if you want to create a new tenancy or not. If you don’t want to create a new fixed term or change the rent, etc., then it may be easier just to add them to the existing tenancy.

A deed is a specific kind of legal agreement that must be signed and witnessed. Assigning means adding a person to the tenancy agreement, so that they have the same rights and responsibilites as the existing tenants.

We don’t offer this at the moment, but it keeps coming up, so we’re looking int helping landlords with this as best we can in future!

There many are draft templates online, but I wouldn’t be comfortable reccomending any one in particular.

Just like you have here I suppose. Explain that it will invalidate the RGI insurance and that you can’t accept the risk of an uninsured tenancy.

You can ask for three months’ rent in advance. If you are using our rent collection feature, then we can handle that. The money will be passed onto you. It will not be a deposit of any kind; it will be rent. But taking multiple months’ rent in advance is a common way to increase security for landlords when tenants don’t pass referencing and can’t get a suitable guarantor.

Referencing goes as quickly as the tenant can provide the info the company is asking for, so it can be very fast i.e. one day.

More info here.

Maybe with a challenger bank like Monzo, but those banks change their rules and service a lot, so it’s hard to say. I don’t believe that traditional banks will let you create a UK account without a UK address, but I could be wrong.

If you’re doing it with OpenRent, then hopefully it will never be hugely expensive!

I have a tenant who was sole named party on the agreement when he moved in last December. His brother has now been living with him since the beginning of February.
Do you know how I should deal with this? I have no Rent Insurance as he failed the referencing process and there is no guarantor.
Thankyou I would appreciate any feedback…

Hi Jo, we always recommend that all adults living in the property as their primary residence should be named as tenants on the tenancy agreement. You could make this the case by signing a new tenancy agreement with both of them as tenants, or by adding the brother to the agreement with a deed. The second option isn something we can help directly with as the moment, but many draft deeds are available online.


Thanks for getting back to me that’s great :slight_smile:

Hi! I was reading this thread and found it useful as I have similar situation- more tenants that I “bargained” for. I would like to sign a new agreement including all of them on it. But what should be done to existing agreement? What is the process in this case? Thank you for reply in advance.

How many people are living there? Are they all related? If not they might have turned the property into an HMO. Are you sure you would want them all on a tenancy agreement - would they pass referencing?

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Hi! Originally two and now two more. They assure me that they are related (cousins) plus their partners. I worry about HMO as well but in principle for four people I can apply for the licence though it’s not my preferred route.

I doubt they will pass referencing.

So now they moved in and you will have to pay for an inspection AND do the works that a council will ask for? You are happy to do that??? Certain groups of people I will never consider as this is what one individual will do . Cousins … my armpit

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Ok I understand what you are saying. I don’t mind extra work just want to understand the process of how to make sign amended agreement…

Sorry not so much how to sign new agreement, this is straight forward, but what to do with existing one? Does signing new supersedes previous one?

Join NRLA free advice. Someone will give you an answer here.

Don’t be in such a hurry to rush to that outcome. There may be other options. I would certainly never create a tenancy for anyone who just moved in without permission and who I didn’t think would pass referencing. Your existing tenancy is not void so I would just leave things as they are at the moment and certainly not put anything in writing about allowing them to live there. They won’t acquire any tenancy rights and you will have a defence if it turns out that they’re not related and its an HMO. If further problems develop then you might consider evicting the two that are tenants. The others will have to go with them.

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