Ask SafeDeposits: Can I change who the lead tenant is?

In our "What does 'lead tenant' mean?" blog post, we explain the role of a lead tenant as a spokesperson in a joint tenancy, communicating all tenant's wishes during the repayment process.

It's only the lead tenant that can enter a repayment request or respond to a request entered by a landlord or letting agent - so it's important that the lead tenant engages with the repayment process so we can repay the deposit as quickly as possible.

The lead tenant is chosen by the landlord or letting agent when the deposit is registered with SafeDeposits. We encourage landlords and letting agents to pick a tenant who they think will take part in the repayment steps.

We send a deposit protection certificate to the landlord, letting agent and all tenants which specifies who the lead tenant is. We send the deposit protection certificate by email or post as soon as the deposit is transferred to us.

It's important to bear in mind that the tenancy agreement and the deposit protection certificate may not match - the tenancy agreement might name one person as the lead tenant, then the landlord or letting agent might pick another person when they register the deposit with SafeDeposits. We recommend that you double-check who the lead tenant on the deposit protection certificate is before you contact SafeDeposits to enter a repayment request.

Changing the lead tenant

The lead tenant can be changed to another person during the tenancy. If another tenant wants to become the lead tenant, they should contact the landlord or letting agent who can make the change through their online user account.

If a landlord or letting agent enters a repayment request, another tenant can become the lead tenant to agree or disagree with the request. However, the lead tenant can only be changed after 15 working days have passed. Either the landlord or letting agent or the tenant can contact us and we will change the lead tenant. When a landlord or letting agent enters a repayment request, the lead tenant has 30 working days to respond - if they haven't responded after 15 working days, we send all tenants a reminder that the lead tenant can now be changed so someone else can respond.

The tenant who wants to become the new lead tenant should speak to the other tenants to make sure everyone agrees with the change, before either they or the landlord or letting agent contact us.