SUBLET YOUR RENTAL
Subletting is when a tenant or lessee rents out all or part of a rented unit (apartment for example) to another person. The original tenants(s) who signed the contract with the landlord or owner of the unit is generally held responsible to the original lease agreement with the landlord. Several states have laws governing sublets.
WHY SUBLET / SUBLEASE YOUR APARTMENT?
People sublet their apartment or rented unit out for a number of reasons. These include:
- moving out of town and you have time left on your lease
- traveling for a period of time and want to maintain your apartment and have someone else pay the bills
- renting a portion out to help with costs
- you think you can make money on your rental off someone else…
YOU ARE STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEASE
Generally when you sublease your unit, you as the one who signed the original lease is the one responsible for it. So think TWICE before becoming a landlord – because that is what YOU become – the LANDLORD !
READ YOUR LEASE
Most lease agreements have a sublet clause. Most will say that for to sublet your home (apartment, house,etc) you MUST have permission from the landlord. Get it in writing. The landlord should get ALL the information from the person who is subletting. I would even recommend the current tenant obtain a credit report from the proposed sublet. See your landlord for assistance. Your best friend may be the worst tenant. It happens. REMEMBER – YOU as the original tenant are still responsible for rent payments to the landlord EVEN if he agrees to the sublet.
GET A TENANT CREDIT REPORT
Just as your landlord did when you signed the lease, you should get a tenant credit report from the person(s) you are going to sublet to. Your landlord should require it – AND so should YOU.
How do I get a credit report – I’m not a landlord
With the RentLaw.com Tenant Screening Service the work is done for you.
Designed for the small landlord, all you need is the email address of the prospective sublet tenant. You create a FREE account on rentlaw.mysmartmove.com .
Complete basic information including the email address. An email is generated to the tenant. They complete the app and you are notified of the applicant’s credit standing. Your landlord may require this – and should as should YOU.
Several states have laws protecting the tenant, sublet and landlord. Most don’t.
DO NOT SUBLET WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE LANDLORD.
DO NOT sublet your home for longer then the term of your lease or under different terms.
- if you have three months left on your lease, do not agree to sublet it for 5 months.
- If it is a month to month lease – that should be spelled out in the lease agreement.
IF YOUR ARE LOOKING TO SUBLET FROM SOMEONE
If you are the one who is looking for a sublet, ask to see the signed lease agreement between the landlord and tenant to whom you will be making payments. Verify with the landlord that you have permission to sublet from their existing tenant.
WHY WOULD OR SHOULD A LANDLORD PERMIT A SUBLET
The landlord may decide to permit a sublet if the existing tenant is current and has been a “good” tenant and the reason is reasonable. The Landlord should generally always keep the original tenant responsible for the terms of the lease – payments damages etc. DO NOT return the original security deposit UNLESS state law indicates you must to the original tenant. Use caution here.
IF YOU ARE THE LANDLORD
You may decide it would be easier to just sign a NEW lease with the person who was going to sublet and relieve the original tenant of any obligations – as long as you as the landlord do not lose any money. If so, the tenant who is leaving should be responsible for any shortfall. THIS IS GENERALLY PROVIDED for in State Law.
BREAKING A LEASE
IF a tenant vacates a premises prior to the term of the lease, the tenant must notify the landlord of their intent and BOTH TENANT and LANDLORD have to make an honest attempt at finding a replacement tenant. This means that the landlord must market the property and should do so via contacting local real estate agents, placing ads in the paper etc. IF a new tenant is found to replace the old tenant, the tenant who is breaking the lease is responsible for the difference in rent between the two for term remaining on the lease PLUS any reasonable costs to rerent (advertising costs). An example here is where the tenant left/broke the lease with three months remaining on a $1,000 per month lease. If no replacement tenant is found, the tenant is liable for $3,000 in rent (3 months x $1,000). If a new tenant is found immediately, the only charges to assess may be the costs to rerent (advertising costs). If it took half a month then the charges would be prorated. In general, a landlord CANNOT collect “double rent” on a single unit.
See more on BREAKING A LEASE on RentLaw.com