SUBLEASING: What Is It And How Do They Work?

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Subleasing might be the most confusing word when it comes to renting. Let me clarify, you may have paid rent on a room you sublet or thought about subletting your entire apartment or a room in your house. All of the said activities revolve around subleasing. But what is a subleasing agreement, apartments, and subtenant rights without a written agreement? Read on to find the answers to those questions!

What Is a Subleasing

A subleasing is when a person who already has a lease on property rents it out to someone else for part of the time left on the original lease. A sublet is another name for a subleasing agreement.

Subleasing may or may not be allowed by the terms of the original lease, and there may be other rules based on where you live. Even if a sublease is allowed, the original tenant is still responsible for the terms of the lease, like paying the monthly rent.

How a Subleasing Agreement Works

A lease is an agreement between a property owner and a tenant that gives the tenant the right to own and use the property without interference from the owner for a set amount of time. The lease says how long the contract will last and how much the rent will be. A tenancy is a legal term for the tenant’s legal right to own the property. When a tenant gives part of their legal tenancy to a third party as a new tenant, this is called subleasing.

You can set up a sublease unless the original lease says you can’t. But most of the time, the owner needs to know about and agree to any subletting arrangement made by the tenant. So that the owner has some say over who uses and/or lives on their property, the subletting process could be written into the original lease.

When a tenant sublets a property, they need to know that this doesn’t get them out of their original lease obligations. The rent is up to the tenant, and he or she is also responsible for any repairs or damage to the property. That means that if a new subtenant doesn’t pay rent for three months, the original tenant who subleased the property is responsible to the landlord for the overdue rent and any late fees. In turn, the subtenant has to pay the unpaid rent to the original tenant.

Subleasing and State Laws

A tenant’s right to sublease is affected by the laws of many states and cities. Under these laws, a person may be able to sublease even if their contract with the landlord says they can’t. In New York City, for example, a tenant who lives in a building with four or more units has the right to sublease, as long as the landlord agrees. If the landlord refuses the sublet for unreasonable reasons, any clause in the lease that limits a tenant’s right to sublease is against public policy and must be thrown out.

In San Francisco, a tenant can get a new roommate even if the written lease says they can’t, as long as the new roommate meets the landlord’s standards for application screening.

For example, a landlord might want a tenant to have a certain credit score. A subleasing agreement can be made for both home and business.

Subleasing Apartments

This five-step guide will help you safely and legally for subleasing apartments, whether you own them or rent them.

#1. Confirm That a Sublease is the Best Choice

The arrangement of subleasing is not a passive one. Make sure you are ready to deal with any problems that might come up with your subtenant.

This includes kicking out a subtenant who doesn’t pay or acts badly.

If your subtenant doesn’t pay rent on time or breaks the terms of your contract, be ready to pay it yourself. If you don’t, your original lease with your landlord could be in danger.

#2. Examine Your Subleasing Agreement

Before you decide to sublease, you should take a close look at your original lease. Your lease is a contract between you, your landlord, and the other people who live in your home. This means that your subletter must follow the same rules as you.

In addition to how much rent you pay each month, your lease probably has rules about pets, vehicles, repairs, and noise.

If your subtenant doesn’t follow the rules of your lease, you have to deal with the consequences.

You must also check to see if your lease has a specific clause about subleasing. Some landlords don’t let you sublease or make you ask for permission first. Other landlords only let you sublease under certain conditions. Follow the rules set out in your original lease for subleasing.

#3. Notify Your Landlord

If you are subleasing your apartments, you should tell your landlord. Before you do anything else, make sure you get approval in writing.

If problems come up in the future because of your subleasing, a verbal agreement may not protect you.

#4. Find a Reliable Tenant

Your main goal is to find a trustworthy person to take over your sublease. Start by:

  • Make an ad for your home that talks about what it has to offer.
  • Write down the dates when you can get it.
  • Tell us how we can reach you.
  • Post your ad on social media, websites for renting or selling things (like Craigslist), and other community sites.
  • Ask your friends and coworkers to help get the word out.

Once you’ve found a few people subleasing your apartments, do a good job of screening them by checking:

  • Employment
  • Income
  • References
  • Criminal record

#5. Complete the Sublease

Now that you’ve done all the hard work, it’s time to finish the subleasing agreement with your new subletter.

For a subleasing agreement to be valid, both the original tenant and the new subletter must sign it.

You and your subletter need to agree on the following facts:

  • Each month’s total rent
  • The total amount owed for the sublease term
  • Accepted ways to pay
  • Whether or not parking, storage, and furniture are included.
  • How long will the sublease go on?
  • Late fees
  • Paying for utilities
  • Other important parts of a lease, such as rules about pets and smoking

Putting all of the important information in your sublease agreement protects your rights and makes it clear what you expect from your subletter in case a dispute comes up in the future.

Is Subleasing a Good Idea

“It depends” is the most common answer in commercial real estate. This question is not from the point of view of the current tenant who wants to give the sub-landlord, sublessor, or assignor their lease rights and possession of the property. It is written from the point of view of the third party, who is called a subtenant, sublessee, or assignee.

One of the most important things a commercial lease gives a tenant is the right to sublease or assign. The renter can “get out of their lease” when it makes economic, strategic, or practical sense. Most of the time, tenants are not really freed from their leasehold obligations. Instead, they can rent out the whole property or a part of it to reduce their financial obligations. So, subleasing is always a “good idea” for the tenant, even if the circumstances don’t require it.

We must consider a variety of considerations for a possible subtenant or assignee. Subleases can be a great choice for some businesses, but they can also be dangerous.

What are the Benefits of Subletting a House?

  • You won’t have to worry about breaking your lease. The costs associated with breaking a lease on an apartment can be significant. You might be required to pay a hefty fee in addition to continuing to pay rent until your landlord finds another renter, which is both costly and aggravating. Alternatively, you might be required to pay the full amount of rent.
  • Avoiding financial obligations related to a vacant apartment. It doesn’t make much sense to keep paying rent on an apartment that isn’t being used. You are able to recoup at least some of your costs by finding a subtenant for your rental property.
  • Having a house sitter waiting for you when you get back from your trip. If you are able to locate a reliable subtenant, you will be able to leave your belongings behind in the apartment secure with the knowledge that someone will be there to keep an eye on things and handle any property-related emergencies that may arise.

Subleasing vs. Subletting

Both subleasing and subletting are ways to deal with a rental unit you already have, but they are not the same.

When you sublet your apartment, you let a new person move in and take over the lease you have with the landlord. This is also called letting out. If the landlord happens to agree, the new tenant will take over your lease, and you won’t have to worry about keeping the unit clean or fixing any problems. Most of the time, landlords will cancel the old lease and make a new one with the new tenant.

Subleasing your apartments means renting out any space that isn’t being used by someone else. You can rent out the whole apartment or just certain rooms. In this arrangement, you will still have to pay rent on the subleasing apartments and take care of any repairs or maintenance that your original lease says you have to do. When you sublease someone, they usually pay their share of the rent to you, and then you pay the whole amount to the landlord.

Subtenant Rights Without a Written Agreement

Most people who rent from the city or county are secure tenants. You are also likely to be a secure tenant if your landlord is a housing association and your tenancy began before January 15, 1989.

Most secure tenancies may not have an end date. If you rent from the local government and your lease has an exit date, your lease is called “flexible.” One kind of secure tenancy is an adaptable tenancy.

If your landlord gives you written subtenant rights without an agreement, you can rent out part of your home. If you rent out a part of your home without getting permission, you are breaking the terms of your lease.

Your landlord can’t say no to your request to rent out part of your home without a good reason. Also, if your landlord lets you have subtenant rights without a written agreement, they can’t make you follow certain rules.

If you ask your landlord for subtenant rights without a written agreement on part of the house and they say no, they have to tell you why.

You can’t rent out all of your homes legally. If you do, you will no longer be a safe tenant, and your landlord will be able to kick you out.

How is Subleasing Different from Getting Roommates?

When you get a roommate, that person’s name will also be on the lease. This means that you and they are both just as responsible for renting the apartment. But when you sublease someone else, that person is not part of the lease. If they do anything bad to the apartment or don’t pay their rent on time, the landlord will only hold you responsible.

Since your lease doesn’t bind them in any way, it’s important that you carefully screen applicants. You want to make sure that the person you let stays in your apartment knows the rules and can pay for it.

You should also examine the local laws to see if there are any rules about subleasing your apartments. These regulations can vary from state to state.

In California, for example, state law limits the number of people who can stay in an apartment to two people per guest room plus one more person. So, if you have a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco and want to rent out the second room, you can only do so to 3 persons legally.

When it Comes to Practice, Where Can You Find Subleases?

It’s common practice in the rental business to use subleases. Only eight months out of the year can be devoted to university and college studies (two semesters). However, in order to secure off-campus or even on-campus housing, students are typically obliged to sign one-year lease agreements.

Students sometimes have to sign full-year leases even though many of them will be away for the summer semester since many landlords are unwilling to sign leases that are only eight months at a time.

Lessees can find a third party (like a student attending the summer semester) to sublet for the full four months in such a case. If the tenant wants to save money by spending the summer at home, this can assist them to avoid the fees associated with having a vacant flat.

Another emerging area of lease agreements is subleasing, which is common in shared office spaces like those provided by WeWork and similar commercial real estate organizations. In the central business areas of major cities, similar corporations will lease out full commercial floors of buildings. In turn, they will enter into adaptable subleasing contracts with businesses and people to rent out everything from a single cubicle to an entire floor.

Startups that are still developing their commercial leasing needs can benefit from this form of sublease agreement, as can individuals who want to establish a business presence but cannot afford a complete floor at the moment.


How do you legally sublet?

If your landlord gives you written permission, you can rent out part of your home. If you rent out a part of your home without getting permission, you are breaking the terms of your lease.

Can a head landlord evict a subtenant?

You are considered a trespasser in this case, and the head landlord doesn’t need a possession order to kick you out, but they can get one if they want to.

Who is called sub tenant?

A person or group that rents all or part of a building from someone who rents it from the owner

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