So, you’re living happily in your apartment with three of your friends, when you suddenly get a great job offer that requires you to move to another city . . . what’s the problem? Your lease doesn’t end for another six months and you can’t pay two rent checks each month. At this point, subletting seems like the best option for you, and maybe it is. How can you make sure the sublease process goes smoothly for you and your roommates?
Subleasing is when the current tenant rents their property out to another tenant. The new tenant is then required to pay rent and follow the terms of the lease. But the catch is that the current tenant usually still holds the overall responsibility according to the terms of the lease. A huge part of subleasing is making sure that you find a good lessee. Because the responsibility of the property still falls on you, you want someone who will take care of the property and make sure nothing goes wrong.
Subleasing can is a great option if handled properly. However, some tenants are taking advantage of a hot rental market and profiting from it, causing all sorts of problems. Airbnb offers a service that allows site visitors to rent extra rooms or even empty couches. This is becoming a big issue in large cities, since it usually violates the lease agreement and the people paying for the short term rental are not properly vetted. Unless the lease permits subletting, this action could allow the landlord to evict the original tenant. It may even violate city ordinances or local law.
If you are on good terms with your landlord, and need to sublet, you should ask for a sublet agreement. You may need to pay the landlord a fee to draft and execute the document. The agreement might have the following terms:
- A defined starting and ending date
- A statement that “Any and all subtenants shall be required to conform to all obligations and covenants of the Tenant as set forth in the above-described lease, all provisions of said lease remaining in full force and effect for the entire term of the sublease.”
- A requirement that the subletting person sign a separate lease agreement.
- A statement that the original tenant is not released from any responsibility as set forth in the original lease.
As a tenant with a valid lease in force, even if you sublease, you must always remember that you are responsible for the actions of the person you sublease to. So you must be careful in choosing whom you rent to, and maintain contact to be sure things are going smoothly. If you think that your move will be permanent, it might be a better idea to help the landlord find a suitable replacement, and have the landlord release you from the lease completely. That might enable you to get your security deposit back, and absolve you from any further responsibility.