I am moving into a share house next week, and they have asked if I want to be put on the lease. What’s the difference?
Being on the lease means that you have the rights and responsibilities given through the Residential Tenancy Act. If you have a written contract from the head tenant (someone on the lease already), you do not have to go on the original lease, but you will be considered the sub-tenant. The head tenant in this circumstance then becomes your landlord. The Residential Tenancy Act will still apply to you.
If you do not go on the lease or have a written contract, you are not protected by any laws. Your housemates can kick you out whenever they want.
Remember that being on the lease means that you are financially liable (as an individual and as part of a group) for any expenses or damage to the home. If you are a sub-tenant you are only liable for your own expenses or damage.
Also, if as a sub-tenant you agree to pay a bond, the head-tenant must give you a receipt, and deposit the money with Fair Trading within 10 working days. The maximum bond that a sub-tenant can be asked to pay is an amount equal to 4 weeks rent.
More info on Tenancy an Housing…