Landlord won't let us change a tenant name on contract

I’m on a joint 4-person tenancy but looking to move out before the rest of my flatmates. We asked the landlord multiple times if we could change the name on the agreement if one of us wanted to move out and they said all fine as long as we found the new tenant. I’ve now signed a new house contract and found a tenant but landlord has now said the only way to add the new tenant to the contract is to sign a whole new minimum 12 month contract (we have already lived here for 14 months and the rest of the flat want to move out early next year, not commit to another 12 months). Can I do anything? In two weeks I will be signed up to two housing contracts which I can’t afford. The landlord tells me they can’t update the names on the contract through OpenRent without starting it as a new contract. Is that true?

There is another option, which is a deed of assignment. Basically, the current group of tenants would assign the tenancy to the new group. The deed would have to be signed by all parties plus a witness and enacted at the moment of switchover. Any deposit would also have to be dealt with.

You should bear in mind that the landlord is correct to the extent that its not just a simple process of changing a name and the cleanest way to replace a tenant is as he has suggested. He may still insist on this and you are all bound in the contract. If he wont accept the deed of assignment, try asking for a new 6 month fixed term only.

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