Legal Tips When Subletting an Apartment

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Subletting an apartment is one of the most prevalent practices within the rental property market in recent years. It is a good opportunity for renters to the shoulder costs and to hold on to their apartments when they travel to another city for work or vacation rather than leaving the property vacated for a few weeks to months. But despite the promising benefits of subletting, there are certain jurisdictions that must be observed to ensure that state laws governing the rental properties are not violated. Not only do landlords play a significant role in making sure that the legalities are taken care of, but they also need to determine whether a sublease is going to be put into place – after all, as the landlord you have the final say on the matter.

The most important sublease law that applies to many US states is that when subletting, one should always obtain a proper written request. The original tenant must prepare this written request and provide this to the landlord.  This request explains in detail the terms of the sublease. The landlord also earns the right to screen the new subtenant and can refuse the original tenant’s request if he or she deems it necessary or just.

sublease laws

There are two options currently available for landlords when the original tenant of your apartment or rental unit introduces the idea of subletting. The first option is to add the subtenants under the current lease agreement that you have with the original tenant. This means that the new tenant is bound to the terms that you, the landlord, and the original tenant/s have agreed upon. You have to be careful when opting for this method, however, because it will automatically grant any benefits the original tenant may have to the subtenants.  For example, while you may allow your original tenants to have access to a parking space, you may or may not want to grant your subtenants this access if it’s for a short duration.  It might be best to re-examine the agreement you’ve had with the original tenant before you include the subtenants into the contract.

The second option is to create a brand new lease agreement with the subtenants, which is separate from the original tenant’s occupancy agreement. This means that once the original tenant permanently vacates the rental unit, then that also obliges the subtenant to vacate the unit as well. But if they opt to stay, they must sign a brand new lease agreement with the landlord while observing the prevailing rental market rates and trends.  This is key to many rental properties that are subjected to local rent control.

There are additional information that landlords have to keep in mind when making their property available for subletting. It is important to run a background check and credit report on the new subtenants. It is also important to extensively discuss with the original tenant that the subtenants will not override tenancy of the property but instead you’ll maintain communication and all forms of correspondence with regards to the tenancy to the former. And lastly, always present the 6.14 notice to both the original and subtenants. This will inform both parties that if the original tenant decides to vacate the property, then the rental fee will be adjusted based on rental market standards.

If for any reason you decide not to allow subleasing, it’s important to note if a subtenant occupies the premises without your permission, you need to make sure you DO NOT collect rent from this person.  By collecting rent from this person, you are acknowledging that that person as a tenant.

Understanding your rights as a landlord is a crucial step in making sublease work. It will also be helpful as you try to weigh the risks associated with authorizing a sublease for your rental property so you can cut losses early on.

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