A sublease agreement is a legal contract between a tenant (sub-lessor) and a sub-tenant to rent a residential space for a specified period. Where’s a sublease agreement template is a pre-formatted draft that an individual can utilize to make a sublease agreement.
Subleasing allows the original tenant to vacate and rent out rented space without violating the initial lease agreement (master agreement) payment terms. The subtenant pays the property’s rent; however, the obligation to pay rent to the property owner remains with the tenant.
Note: Tenants can sublet part (room) or the entire residential space (house).
State and local laws sometimes intervene when it comes to subleasing. Subletting in some states might be permitted by law regardless, even if the master lease prohibits it. Sub-lessors should consult the master lease as well as states laws before subleasing, for in some states, subleasing without permission is penalized by eviction.
The following parties commonly actualize a residential sublease:
- Landlord – The landlord is the property owner. He or she initially leases the space to the tenant through the original lease, referred to as a master lease.
- The tenant or sub-lessor/sub-landlord – He or she enters into a residential lease with the property owner and a sublease agreement with a third party.
- Subtenant – He or she enters into a sublease agreement with the sub-landlord.
Basic components of a sublease agreement template are; personal information of the sub-lessor and the subtenant, property address, the number of occupants, rent and utilities, security deposit, additional terms, signatures, and inventory checklist.
Property that Can be Sublet
Different types of properties can be subleased. This is all dependent on whether the master lease and/or the landlord has permitted it. Most master agreements will always have a subleasing clause that stipulates whether subleasing through the help of a sublease agreement is allowed or not. With that in mind, any residential property can potentially be sublet.
However, the most common sublet residential properties are the following:
- Apartments (single and multiple room apartments)
- Storage spaces and garages
- Basement suites
- Mobile home
Importance of Written Contract
A sublease agreement template is meant to communicate its signatories’ expectations as well as the contractual obligations of the three parties (landlord, sublessor, and subtenant).
A sublease agreement template should be written. Why? This is because oral or verbal contracts are difficult to enforce legally. Misunderstandings should be expected when leasing and subleasing; without a written contract, it is usually a case of what was said and what was not said.
However, with a written contract, terms are clearly laid out, and the at-fault party can be easily identified, and quick and amicable solutions can be arrived at – written contracts offer clarification and accountability.
Therefore, a sublease agreement template effectively serves its purpose (protection from liability) if it is written.
Tip: A residential sublease agreement template can also be referred to as sublease contract, sublease form, sublease rental agreement, and sublet contract.
The Process of Subletting
Subleasing is a long process that needs attention to detail if at all it is to be successfully executed. Implementation of a sublease is generally dependent on certain conditions that sublessors ought to be aware of. These general regulations touch on diverse aspects of the sublease.
They include; subleasing must be allowed by law and master lease, sublease term is predetermined and should not exceed initial lease, information in the sublease should resemble that in the master lease, the sublessor remains legally liable for damages caused by subtenant to property and monthly rent and any additional fees should be declared.
However, regardless of all the other general conditions, the most necessary condition is to go through the process with the help of an authentic and proper sublease agreement template that records and captures all essential parts of the dealing procedure for any legal or personal matters in the long run.
Apart from the general (overall) regulations, knowing how to practically sublet effectively step-by-step also ensure that misunderstandings and disputes are reduced. This article will guide sub-lessors on how one can sublet their rented space in compliance with the law and existing master lease step-by-step below.
Read the master residential lease agreement
Firstly, the tenant should read the master lease. Depending on the state of residence, a master lease can be used to prohibit subletting. Therefore, it is important to ascertain what is stipulated in the master lease before proceeding to determine if subleasing is the best alternative for the particulate circumstance.
Check the concerned state laws
Next, sub-lessors should consult local and state laws, for they too govern subletting. State landlord-tenant laws have certain requirements put in place to ensure subleasing is legally executed. Some states will permit subleasing even if the master lease has prohibited the sub-lessor from subletting hence the need to check both the master lease and the state laws. Sub-lessors should look for whether subleasing is allowed and if the landlord’s permission is needed.
Approval from landlord
Landlord permission is vital when it comes to subleasing. Ordinarily, a 30-day notice informing the landlord of one’s intent to move out and sublet is recommended. The notice should entail details such as the reason for moving out, duration of absence, and written consent from roommates if any. Note, even if the master lease has forbidden subleasing, one can ask permission from the landlord by letting them know the urgency and need for moving out and ask for directives of how they should proceed.
Estimation of the apt price
Subsequently, once the landlord has given the go-ahead, the sub-lessor can then decide the right amount to charge the subtenant. Decide whether all that is needed is just enough to cover the monthly rent or one wishes to make extra money with the sublease. Care and caution should be taken when setting the rent price, for there are laws that govern subleasing rental rates. Some states prohibit sub-lessors from making a profit through a sublease.
Find the right subtenant
Once the price is set, sub-lessors can then proceed to find potential subtenants. Finding a fit for the sublease can be a bit time-consuming, for it involves applications, interviewing, negotiating, and selection of a subtenant. Ideally, finding someone that one is already familiar with and trusted, such as a friend or relative, is the simplest option. Alternatively, one can use online platforms and college or university boards to find prospects. Listing the property involves cleaning the place up, taking quality pictures, and posting ads on the platform with contact information.
Sub-lessors with roommates should let the roommate choose the subtenant; after all, they will be living with the subtenant. Applicants should then be screened; the last thing one wants is a subtenant who is not responsible and financially unable to meet their rental obligations.
Show the property
Requests to view the property will soon start coming in, and it is the sublessor’s responsibility to show the potential subtenant the property to determine if it meets their expectations. Ask for references as they are effective tools for information verification.
Lastly, negotiations have to take place before the sublease agreement can be prepared. The primary objective of negotiations is to obtain the highest lawfully allowed rental rate while at the same time mitigating potential risks. Applicants with more beneficial negotiated terms to the sub-lessor are more suitable.
The following factors should be put into consideration when negotiating;
Employment history will to a great extent, determine an applicant’s financial ability. The qualities to look for when reviewing employment history are job and financial stability. The employment history should be at most 3-5 years. Sub-lessors can ask the applicant to submit their current pay stubs (last two weeks preferably), past income/income tax filings records (Form W-4 for employees and Form 1099 for self-employed individuals).
Applicants who pay rent in advance should be more desirable to the sub-lessor. If the sub-lessor can negotiate an advance payment of more than three months, the applicant is considered to be financially able and reduces the risk of any unprecedented events of late or failure to pay rent.
Most states have a set maximum security deposit that sub-lessors can ask from subtenants; the objective, therefore, when negotiating, should be to obtain this maximum security deposit.
Applicants with good references are more desirable. If there are no references, the sub-lessors should aim to mitigate any risks associated with the sublet maximally.
Subleasing Laws by States
As earlier mentioned, most states have state laws governing subleasing. However, some like AL, AZ*, CT, IN, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, TN ND, NE, FL, IA, IL NH, NM, UT, VT, MA, MD, MS, WA, WI, WV, and WY have no statutes regarding subleasing.
The following states, in contrast, have laws put in place;
|Alaska||§ 34.03.060||Sublessors are required to seek permission from the landlord to sublet. If the master lease prohibits subleasing, the only option available to tenants is to ask the landlord for permission. Subtenants should provide written offers to landlords detailing their age, marital status, current occupation, occupants, credit, and renting references. Landlords can deny applications based on insufficient credit or financial capability, too many occupants, minor applicants, pets, potential to carry out business activities in the property, poor recommendations, and applicants unwilling to adhere to master lease requirements.|
|Arkansas||AR Attorney General “Landlord and Tenant Rights”||tenants can sublet provided the landlord permits it. The landlord should determine the sublease rental rate.|
|California||§§ 1995.010 to 1995.340||Tenants can sublet/sublease if the landlord allows it or if it is not specifically prohibited in the master lease. Landlords have the right to deny subleasing, and if the property is sublet without the landlord’s permission, he or she can legally take a percentage or all the sublease rent.|
|Colorado||–||Tenants can sublease if it is allowed or not specifically referenced in the master lease. Landlords cannot deny subletting without reasonable justification.|
|Delaware||§ 5508||Tenants can sublet/sublease if the landlord allows it or if it is not specifically prohibited in the master lease. Subleasing cannot unjustifiably be denied.|
|Georgia||Georgia Landlord-Tenant Handbook.pdf||The right to sublet is entirely dependent on the master lease.|
|Hawaii||§ 521-37||Tenants/sublessors can sublease without direct consent from the landlord, and if at all the rental contract does not require the landlord to approve.|
|Idaho||–||Tenants can sublet as long as the master lease does not specifically prohibit it. However, the landlord’s approval is recommended.|
|Kansas||§ 58-2511||Subletting is allowed for tenants renting property for less than two years or on a periodic lease such as a month-to-month lease provided written consent from the landlord is provided. Presumably, tenants renting for longer than two years can sublet without the landlord’s permission unless otherwise stated in the master lease.|
|Kentucky||§ 383.180||Subletting without the landlord’s permission is prohibited, and if the tenant sublets without consent, the landlord is within their rights to evict them with a ten-day notice.|
|Louisiana||CC 2713||Sublessors can sublet, provided the master lease does not prohibit it.|
|Maine||§ 2-1303||Landlords are allowed to deny subletting unreasonably. Landlords should be informed before subletting.|
|Michigan||–||Tenants can sublet without the landlord’s permission, provided the master lease does not explicitly allow or prohibit it.|
|Minnesota||Minnesota Attorney General “Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities”||Tenants can sublet if at all the master lease does not explicitly prohibit it. Permission should be sought if the rental contract declares so.|
|Missouri||Missouri Attorney General: Landlord-Tenant Law.pdf||landlord’s approval is needed before subletting. Subletting without approval is punishable by paying double the rent.|
|Montana||§ 70-24-305||Written consent must be obtained before subletting.|
|Nevada||NRS 40.2514||The master lease determines if subleasing is allowed. Landlord’s approval is required. Subleasing without consent is punishable by eviction.|
|New Jersey||–||Subletting is allowed if at all the master lease does not prohibit it. Seeking permission is recommended.|
|New York||§ 226-B||Written consent is needed before subletting unless the rental contract allows subletting. Landlords who unjustifiably prevent subleasing must give the tenant an option to vacate with a thirty-day notice. Sublessors should issue a notice of intent by certified mail before subletting.|
|Oregon||§ 90.555||Written agreements are required for subleases longer than three days. The sublease should state the rights and obligations of each party (landlord, tenant, and subtenant) which include rent payment and other fees such as utilities.|
|South Carolina||§ 27-35-60||Tenants should not sublet without written consent from the landlord.|
|South Dakota||§ 43-32-17||Landlord approval is needed before subletting.|
|Texas||§ 91.005||Sublessors should seek permission to sublet before doing so.|
|Virginia||§ 55.1-1204(F)||Tenants can sublease if at all the signed rental contract does not prohibit it. If the master lease states that the landlord can approve or disapprove, they have ten business days after receiving a sublease application to approve or reject. No response should be interpreted as approval, and sublessors can sublet.|
Free Sublease Agreement Templates
Here are a few free sublease agreement templates for you to download.
Forms by State
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a roommate and a subtenant?
The primary difference between a roommate and a tenant is the type of lease agreement they sign. A roommate is a person who lives in the same rented space as a tenant. Roommates share their rental obligations through a roommate agreement. On the other hand, a subtenant is an individual who is renting part or the entire rented space from a tenant and NOT the property owner.
What is a Standard Residential Lease Agreement (Master Agreement)?
A standard residential lease agreement made between the sub-lessor/tenant and the landlord for a fixed lease term (has a fixed start and end date) that cannot be terminated early or changed before the expiration date.