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A sublease of a residential property can be a solution to a variety of problems, or it can create problems of its own. Subleasing is a legal process that is binding on all the parties involved.

If you have ever wondered, "what is subleasing?" read the information that follows.

Definition: A sublease is a legal agreement by which someone who is renting a residential property is allowed to rent it to someone else for a period of time. If you find that you are unable to continue meeting the terms or your lease, or if you want to find a roommate to share expenses, you might decide to create a sublease. For example, if you have lived in a property for 9 months of a 12 month lease and you get a job offer in another city, subleasing to another person for the remaining 3 months allows you to fulfill your part of the lease agreement. This will also benefit your landlord because no rental is lost.

You want to sublease, Now What?

The first, and most important, thing to consider is whether your lease agreement allows or prohibits subleasing. If a sublease is allowed, be sure that you contact your landlord, advise him or her that you would like to sublease the premises and get the landlord’s consent. It is recommended that you do this, even if your lease does not prohibit subleasing. If your landlord is agreeable, we also suggest that you give your landlord written notice of your intent to sublease and keep a copy of the notice for your records.

If you have decided to sublease your rental property, and your landlord has consented, you will need to prepare a Sublease Agreement. A real estate sublease is a document that specifies the rights and obligations of an existing tenant (you and anyone else on your lease) and another person(s) who wants to sublet the property (the subtenant). The underlying lease between you and your Landlord is called the Prime Lease. The original Landlord is also referred to as the Landlord in the sublease. When preparing a Sublease form, understand that the laws of each state are different. You must have a Sublease Agreement that conforms to the laws of the state in which the property is located. A copy of the Prime Lease must be attached to the Sublease Agreement.

Potential Concerns

There are a variety of concerns to bear in mind when you address the question of how to sublease. Prior to leasing the property, you applied for your lease and your landlord vetted you. Both you and your landlord will want to know as much as possible about the person, or persons, who will be subleasing the property. has a program to screen prospective tenants, so we can do all the vetting for you. Even if you know the prospective subtenant, it is good to get as much information for your landlord as possible. This will prevent a myriad of potential problems in the future.

Also, unless your Sublease states otherwise and your Landlord has consented, you are still responsible for the payment of rent and damages under the Prime Lease. If your Subtenant does not pay the rent, you are responsible and your credit can be affected. That is one reason why it is so important that you do a thorough tenant screening. Using a written Sublease will reduce misunderstandings between you, the Subtenant and the Landlord.

After Sublease is Signed

After signing the sublease and obtaining any necessary Landlord consent, the Subtenant is entitled to possession of the property for the duration of the Sublease, which is often the full remaining term of the Prime Lease. The Subtenant is taking over the obligations and benefits of the Prime Lease. The Subtenant usually has to pay a deposit to the Landlord in an amount equal to that you paid in your original Lease. Your landlord may decide to hold your deposit until the end of the Prime Lease or may decide to return your deposit at the time the Sublease is signed and the secondary deposit is paid. In some states, it is illegal for a Landlord to hold two deposits, so be sure to check with an attorney or review the laws of your state.

As you can see, the decision to sublease a residential property requires research and due diligence on your part. provides a variety of information in our tenant resource center that you will find helpful. In addition, we offer a landlord community that is a place where you can get expert advice on issues you have pertaining to rental property. For the best information and assistance, browse other articles.

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