Everything You Need to Know About Subleasing

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There are two types of subleases: those that are approved by the landlord and those that aren’t. If the landlord approves, the sublessee takes over the role of the tenant and they take the place of the original tenant, including responsibilities for paying rent and for any damages or lease violations (this is called an assignment). However, if the sublessee is not approved, the original tenant is entirely responsible for any non-payment, damages, or lease violations by the sublessee. Additionally, the original tenant may be in violation of the lease or local regulations.

May Be Prohibited

Landlords can prohibit tenants from subleasing the rental unit, and many rental agreements and leases often do or require permission before subletting. Requiring permission for subletting allows the landlord to vet the subtenant and ensure they can hold the right them accountable for non-payment of rent or damages. If the landlord prohibits subleases, and the tenant subleases the rental unit anyway, the tenant will violate the lease (eviction may be possible). Landlords are generally allowed to override their lease and allow a sublet for certain circumstances. Tenants should get such exemptions from lease requirements in writing (usually an email or text message will suffice). Even if the rental agreement does not contain a provision that prohibits the tenant from subleasing, tenants may wish to discuss plans to sublease with their landlord in advance to avoid confusion and to prevent themselves acting as a middleman in the event of a dispute.

Sublease

A sublease is a separate rental agreement between the original tenant and a sublessee, where the original tenant rents all or part of the rental unit. It does not have to be written – a tenant who simply allows a friend to stay in their apartment while they study abroad has engaged in a sublease. The original tenant remains responsible for the apartment unless the landlord agreed to let the subtenant replace the original tenant on the lease (i.e., a lease assignment). If there is no lease, the same rules still apply – the original tenant is responsible for any non-rent payments, lease violations, or damages caused by their sublessee unless the landlord agreed to let the subtenant take their place. For this reason, tenants should generally inform the landlord of subleases, especially long-term ones and attempt to get the sublessee to take their place.

Sublet Security Deposit

Even though it’s not very common, tenants who sublet their apartment may wish to ask for a security deposit. Unless the landlord agreed to let the subtenant take the tenant’s place on the lease, if the subtenant causes damages or fails to pay rent, then the original tenant is responsible. The sublessee, for example, could cause damage to the apartment that causes the original tenant to lose their security deposit or to pay an extra month of rent. For many tenants, paying for a sublessee rent or damages may be unaffordable and could cause major problems. Furthermore, simply having a security deposit from a subletter incentivizes the sublessee to be more careful and responsible.

Tenant Responsibility

A tenant should think carefully about who they let live in the rental unit because the tenant is still responsible unless there is a written agreement that states otherwise. Under a sublease agreement, the subtenant has no direct responsibility to the landlord, only to the tenant. The subtenant agrees to make rent payments to the tenant, not to the landlord, and the tenant is then responsible for making rent payments to the landlord. The subtenant has no greater rights than the tenant does (for example, if the rental agreement does not allow the tenant to have a pet, then the subtenant cannot have a pet). In any sublease situation, both the tenant and the subtenant should have a clear understanding of both of their obligations. To help avoid disputes between the tenant and the subtenant, this understanding should in the form of a written sublease agreement that both the tenant and the subtenant sign.

May Be Prohibited


Landlords can prohibit tenants from subleasing the rental unit, and many rental agreements and leases often do or require permission before subletting. Requiring permission for subletting allows the landlord to vet the subtenant and ensure they can hold the right them accountable for non-payment of rent or damages. If the landlord prohibits subleases, and the tenant subleases the rental unit anyway, the tenant will violate the lease (eviction may be possible). Landlords are generally allowed to override their lease and allow a sublet for certain circumstances. Tenants should get such exemptions from lease requirements in writing (usually an email or text message will suffice). Even if the rental agreement does not contain a provision that prohibits the tenant from subleasing, tenants may wish to discuss plans to sublease with their landlord in advance to avoid confusion and to prevent themselves acting as a middleman in the event of a dispute.

Sublease


A sublease is a separate rental agreement between the original tenant and a sublessee, where the original tenant rents all or part of the rental unit. It does not have to be written – a tenant who simply allows a friend to stay in their apartment while they study abroad has engaged in a sublease. The original tenant remains responsible for the apartment unless the landlord agreed to let the subtenant replace the original tenant on the lease (i.e., a lease assignment). If there is no lease, the same rules still apply – the original tenant is responsible for any non-rent payments, lease violations, or damages caused by their sublessee unless the landlord agreed to let the subtenant take their place. For this reason, tenants should generally inform the landlord of subleases, especially long-term ones and attempt to get the sublessee to take their place.

Sublet Security Deposit


Even though it’s not very common, tenants who sublet their apartment may wish to ask for a security deposit. Unless the landlord agreed to let the subtenant take the tenant’s place on the lease, if the subtenant causes damages or fails to pay rent, then the original tenant is responsible. The sublessee, for example, could cause damage to the apartment that causes the original tenant to lose their security deposit or to pay an extra month of rent. For many tenants, paying for a sublessee rent or damages may be unaffordable and could cause major problems. Furthermore, simply having a security deposit from a subletter incentivizes the sublessee to be more careful and responsible.

Tenant Responsibility


A tenant should think carefully about who they let live in the rental unit because the tenant is still responsible unless there is a written agreement that states otherwise. Under a sublease agreement, the subtenant has no direct responsibility to the landlord, only to the tenant. The subtenant agrees to make rent payments to the tenant, not to the landlord, and the tenant is then responsible for making rent payments to the landlord. The subtenant has no greater rights than the tenant does (for example, if the rental agreement does not allow the tenant to have a pet, then the subtenant cannot have a pet). In any sublease situation, both the tenant and the subtenant should have a clear understanding of both of their obligations. To help avoid disputes between the tenant and the subtenant, this understanding should in the form of a written sublease agreement that both the tenant and the subtenant sign.

Last Update : August 27, 2018 UTC

Comments discussing Subleasing

7 months ago
0
votes

I'm getting evicted for roommate not paying rent. I didn't get a fair look over to leasing agreement
Renter in West University Place, TX, USA
Subleasing
about 2 years ago
1
votes

What if there isnt anything regarding subleasibg?
Renter in Henderson, NV, USA
Subleasing