Your Guide to a Sublease Agreement

Your Guide to a Sublease Agreement

A sublease agreement, also known as a sublease contract, is a way for a tenant to lease a property to another person. Sublease contracts exist in both residential property and commercial property.

In some cases, it might not be allowed or legal to sublet an apartment or house. You would need to check with your existing contract and any laws that surround the issue where you live. Even if the law says that subletting is okay, you'll still need to check with the landlord because he or she may not allow it on the property.

What Is a Sublease Agreement?

A sublease agreement is a fantastic option if you ever need to leave your rental property. You find someone that is willing to cover either in full or at least the majority of the rent while you're away.

Some states do not allow subleasing, so you'll need to check with local laws to see if you can do this or not. You'll also need to check with your landlord to see if it's an option because some properties won't allow it, either.

Once you've decided to sublet your apartment, you need to find a subtenant. The best places to find them are with online places like Craigslist. Post an ad for the property you're subletting, and hopefully, you'll find someone pretty quickly.

If you're not a legal genius, don't worry. Writing a sublease isn't difficult, but if you're not sure, you can check sites like Rocket Lawyer. Rocket Lawyer has pre-designed forms for you to fill out, and you'll only have to make minor tweaks to make it compliant with where you live.

Even if making one yourself doesn't give you warm fuzzies, that's still not the end of the world. You can always approach an attorney to seek assistance in creating an ironclad sublease agreement. The best people to turn to in this instance specialize in real estate because they have the most experience in this field.

How Does One Write a Sublease Agreement?

When you write a sublease agreement, you have to be specific, so you get all the details down on paper. Ideally, you would want to take the agreement to an attorney to ensure you didn't miss anything.

At the very least, it needs to contain the name of the subtenant, the tenant, the landlord, and the date that the contract is set to go into effect. Each individual affected by the sublease needs to be identified, as well as what the expectations are of those people.

In other words, you need to write down who is paying rent, how much each person is responsible for, and written proof regarding subletting approval from the landlord. It doesn't have to be fancy or full of legalese. You can write a simple sentence that simply states the document is a sublease between you and the subtenant as of the current date.

All About the Property

You'll also need to include the entire property address along with the details of the included property. As an example, if you're renting a two-story house but want to sublet the second floor, then you need to make that known.

Remember to include language indicating that the property is a residential property and is not to be used as a commercial property. If the property is commercial, then make sure that information makes it into the sublease agreement.

Dates are critical to a sublease. You need to have it clearly spelled out when the sublease is to begin and when it can be expected to end. You may want to be detailed as to specify an exact time for the arrival and departure of the subtenant and tenant.

Figuring Out Financials

Payment is also an important detail to include. You'll need to make sure the rent schedule is included, as well as the agreed rent payment per month. You need to also include the trail the money is expected to follow. Is the subtenant paying directly to the landlord or is the subtenant paying the tenant? How much will you contribute?

Don't forget the security deposit. If your state allows you to collect a security deposit, make sure it's all in writing. Specifics about returning deposits also needs to be in the document. Before turning everything over to the subtenant in the beginning and at the end, do a walk-through, so you know the exact condition of everything.

Once you and the subtenant sign the contract, you both need to have copies to hold on to for reference. Also turn in a copy to your landlord, so they stay in the loop about things. Communication is important, and it's especially vital in a subletting environment.

Steps to Subleasing an Apartment

Before you consider subleasing your apartment, condo, or rental home, you need to find out if it is even an option. To determine whether or not it's allowed, you'll have to check your rental agreement as well as checking in with your landlord.

Get Approval to Sublease

Typically, if you are allowed to sublease, your landlord will have to approve the subtenant. If you do get the okay from the landlord to sublease, then you need to make sure you get it in black and white. In other words, documentation needs to be kept as proof that your landlord approved subleasing.

Keep in mind that if you sublet, it is usually a temporary situation. If you are going elsewhere for a few months, having someone take over your home and payments for that time is just one example of subleasing.

Remember, you cannot sublease without getting approval or permission from your landlord. If you were to do that, you run the risk of being evicted should the landlord find out. You can even be sued.

Collect Reliable Information on Subtenant

In many cases, the burden of proof rests on your shoulders as the tenant when it comes to finding a subtenant. Landlords will appreciate it, too, if you do the legwork before you request subletting. Having a list of references or other pertinent information will help the landlord feel more comfortable about approving a sublease arrangement.

Don't forget that even if your subtenant is the most reliable person on the face of the planet, you are still responsible for the dwelling if anything should go wrong. That means that if your rental agreement states that smoking is not allowed indoors and your subtenant decides to light one up, you will still be responsible for any damages that occur as a result of the smoking.

Have a Plan for Deposits

When you rent a unit, you're going to have to put down a security deposit. It only makes sense that your subtenant should do the same, right?

Well, that is mostly right but somewhat incorrect. You'll have to check with your state laws to see if it's even an option available to you. Some states won't allow you to legally collect a deposit from your subtenant, so you'll have to decide whether or not that's a risk you want to take.

Paying Rent Is Important

Before you turn the keys over to your subtenant, you need to know how rent is expected to be paid. It sounds like a no-brainer part of this type of agreement, but it is something that needs to be discussed.

In some cases, the subtenant is more likely to pay you, the tenant, and then you would pay the landlord. Remember, when it comes to the amount that should be paid, you can't expect more than what you pay in rent. In other words, you can't use the opportunity to get some extra cash on the side.

In fact, when it comes to how much you get from your subtenant, it will likely be less than the expectation that you're going to cover the balance. You can't forget that the landlord needs to be paid in full every month. If the landlord doesn't get the monthly rent, you could end up getting evicted or even sued for violating the sublease agreement.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you get it right the first time to save yourself a headache!