A Landlord’s Guide to Subleasing

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on June 2, 2010 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs, Landlord Paperwork and Forms, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Leases begin and end; tenants come and go. Often, life interferes with details like legal documents (leases) and a tenant comes to you with an announcement: “I’m moving, but don’t worry—I found someone to take over my lease!”

For some landlords, this is when the worrying begins. For others, it’s not a big deal—having a new tenant without advertising and showing the rental unit is the best part about subleasing.

Subleasing is when a tenant assigns his or her lease to a third party; in effect, they are renting the unit from you, while renting it out to someone else.

To protect yourself, you should be aware of the following when considering whether or not to allow a sublease situation in your rental property:

1. Make sure the original tenant knows that a sublease itself does not release them from the original lease. If the sublease renter defaults on the terms, the original lessee is still responsible.

2. If you as landlord choose to release the tenant from the lease, then the sublease renter becomes responsible for rent and other obligations of the lease, and you become responsible for responding to the sublease renter’s needs under the lease.

3. In many cases, landlords do not release the original tenant from the lease, so the original tenant collects the rent from the sublease renter, and pays the landlord per the terms of the lease. The original tenant is also responsible for any damages to the property caused by the sublease renter.

4. You are still in control—not only can you approve or deny the applicant who wishes to sublease, but you can refuse to participate at all in a sublease situation. You then handle the tenant’s breaking of the lease agreement the way you normally do, whether it’s collecting the balance of the lease period’s rent, keeping the security deposit, or agreeing to let them out of the lease providing you find a new tenant.

5. Keep in mind that tenants don’t always inform landlords of their plans. Sometimes they move out and let their sublease renter move in—and you’re none the wiser. You are under no obligation to accept the situation, and after checking with your legal advisor, may be able to start eviction proceedings against the sublease tenant and the original tenant, too.

If your tenant asks about subleasing your rental property, check with your legal advisor first. To ensure you’re protecting your best interests, as well as your other tenants’, insist on full application procedures and tenant screening on the sublease renter.

Legal disclaimer:
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for obtaining legal advice applicable to your situation.

Pre-screen all tenants as part of your standard application process. Background and credit checks will help ensure you rent to qualified tenants. For more landlord resources, including forms and information on tenant screening, turn to E-Renter.com.

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