At some point in your life, you may be put in a position to have to sublease your apartment. Understanding the process and the rules will help make the transition a smooth one.
A lease is a legally binding agreement for a set period of time and can’t be broken before the specified expiration date. That being said, if your situation changes during your lease term, you may be able to sublet your apartment.
First, let’s understand what each person’s responsibilities are:
AS A LANDLORD: You cannot unreasonably deny a request to sublet.You have the right to make sure the sub-lessee meets your rental criteria
AS A TENANT:
- You transfer to another person some portion, BUT NOT ALL, of your lease.
- You may assume some landlord responsibilities towards the sub-tenant(s). Discuss your role with your landlord for clarification.
- You have not cancelled your own rental agreement, so you are still a tenant and ultimately liable for the rental unit.
- You are still responsible for missed rent payments and/or damages done by the sub-tenants.
- You need to protect yourself:
- Be sure the sub-tenants sign a written agreement that includes everything in your lease with the landlord.
- Require a security deposit from the sub-tenants, whether held by you or the landlord.
AS A SUB-LESSEE:
- You must honor the agreement you sign.
- You must follow all the rules that apply to tenants.
- You should be sure that the tenant has paid all previous bills.
Step 1: Talk to your landlord about your situation and find out the procedure for subleasing. Your landlord (and roommates) will want to approve your sub-tenant.
Step 2: Advertise for a sub-tenant. Post information on bulletin boards, and put a “For Rent” sign in the yard. Post on the Facebook pages listed in the footer of this website.
Step 3: Have information available for renters – information about the apartment, applications, and a copy of the lease. Your landlord can help you with this.
Step 4: Review applications with your roommates first, for approval. Then submit them to your landlord, for approval.
Step 5: Arrange a time to sign the lease when your landlord, roommates and sub-tenant can all be there.
Step 6: A security deposit should be paid by the new sub-tenant. This may be collected and held by you until the end of the lease. Discuss this procedure with your landlord to be sure how it will be handled.
Things to remember: You are responsible for the rent until the end of the lease. If your sub-tenant doesn’t pay, you are still liable for the rent. This applies to utilities you are responsible for also. You are responsible for finding a sub-tenant, not your landlord. Start early. This process is time consuming.