Subletting is a very common scenario in the rental market. It is another advantage of renting, that affords the renter a freedom of movement. You could have gotten a new lucrative job opportunity in another city and have to move before your lease ends or a student who has to do a semester abroad or simply do not want to share an apartment with your roommate anymore. In any of these situations, subletting is your friend.
What is subletting?
When a tenant adds someone else to the existing lease, in their place, it is called a sublet. Usually, it is an agreement between a tenant and another person or subtenant who will occupy the apartment temporarily and pay rent until the actual tenant returns to take possession of the apartment. In other cases, a tenant who cannot stay the course of the lease assigns the lease to another tenant and this kind of sublet is called “assignment”. In this case, the new tenant takes over the lease and continues as the primary tenant.
Rules of subletting
- Though it is the tenant who finds the subtenant to live in the apartment, the final decision rests with the landlord. A landlord needs to approve the sublet and the subtenant. The landlord reserves the right to reject the subtenant on reasonable grounds. For example, the landlord may screen the subtenant the same way they do a tenant. If the subtenant does not pass a credit check or if they do not show proof of rent affordability, the landlord may reject the application.
- In general, both tenant and subtenant are bound by the terms of the lease. If the subtenant does not pay rent, the landlord may hold the tenant responsible for it. The subtenant is also expected to to follow the rules of the lease and is responsible for the general upkeep of the property or for damages.
- Though a roommate of the tenant if any, may not have any say in subletting, it is common courtesy to consult with the roommate of the new arrangement.
- Since the subtenant is also covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, they are equally responsible for rent payment. However, if they fall short, the original tenant needs to make sure the rent is paid. The subtenant can pay the landlord directly or through the original tenant.
- When it comes to eviction, the landlord can evict subtenants for reasons listed in the Residential Tenancies Act. In some cases where the original tenant assumes the role of the landlord, they can evict the subtenant as well.
- The rules for Assignment are largely the same as a sublet, except that the new tenant assumes all responsibility for the terms of the lease and the original tenant is no longer part of it.
- All the above rules apply for lease assignments as well, except that the original tenant is off the hook and the assignee becomes the main tenant and assumes all responsibility for the rental.
As long as you perform all due diligence required, subletting your apartment should be a breeze.