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How to transfer a rental lease

Updated February 21, 2017

The transfer of a rental lease (whether residential, commercial or for equipment) is the legal reassignment of the lease agreement to a third party. It relieves the original lessee (a tenant, for example) of obligations to the lessor (the landlord, for instance) and conveys those same obligations to the new lessee. Typically, the new lessee will have to qualify for the lease, as the original lessee did, and agree to take the rental space or equipment in an "as-is" condition after an inspection is conducted by the lessor.

Request a lease transfer from the lessor, landlord or property management company. The property manager or landlord will have to be given notification of the tenant/lessee's intent to transfer the lease. This may be done verbally or in writing, depending on the particular management procedure and applicable laws. The request should include the name of the current tenant/lessee and the name of the new tenant/lessee and may have to be requested 30 days or more prior to the intended date of the lease transfer.

Have the landlord or property manager conduct an inspection of the space. Prior to the transfer of the lease, the lessor will inspect the space to ensure no damage or lease violations are present. If there are damages or lease violations, they must be made right prior to the lease transfer. Most lessors will require money to be paid by cash, money order or cashier's check.

Sign the lease transfer and pay the lease transfer fee. The lessor will probably require all parties to be present to execute the lease transfer after conducting an inspection of the space and qualifying the new lessee. Signing the lease transfer legally reassigns the lease agreement to the new lessee but does not absolve the original lessee of damages that may not have been disclosed or noticed.

When the lease transfer is signed, the lessor may require a transfer fee. Some lessors will require a lease transfer fee to accompany the lease transfer request.

Tip

Clean the space or equipment prior to requesting the lease transfer, and make sure it is in the same condition as when it was initially rented.

Warning

Leases usually cannot be transferred if the tenant owes an outstanding balance or if there is significant damage greater than the amount of the security deposit. The security deposit or the first or last month's rent may not be refunded in the event of a lease transfer because the tenant did not fulfil the lease term. The lessee should carefully study the lessee rights portion of the lease agreement before agreeing to a lease transfer.

Things You'll Need

  • Lease transfer request form
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About the Author

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.