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A sublease agreement, sometimes referred to as a sublease contract, sublet contract, or a residential sublease agreement, is a contract between the current tenant and a tenant who will replace them. It is used when someone is living in a rental property (such as a house or an apartment), but they want to rent it out to someone else while they are still named on the master lease.
The main tenant may or may not remain on the property while the sublease is active. This sort of rental agreement is often used when a tenant decides to find a roommate or if they are leaving the area because they are in the military. It may take the form of a room rental agreement if the main tenant remains on the property. Subletting requires the landlord's consent. The main tenant should read their lease carefully to determine if subletting is allowed. If the agreement says it is allowed, that may act as prior written consent. Otherwise, the tenant should obtain the landlord's permission in writing before beginning the process.
There are many different aspects of a lease to consider such as the start date and end end date of the new lease, the monthly rent, and if there are any additional fees for the subleased premises. Try to include as much information as possible or have a lawyer look over your contract to ensure nothing is left out. It should match the master lease in all its provisions.
When you rent an apartment or home, the length of the lease agreement is generally determined ahead of time, with the most common commitment being one year. Unfortunately, life can be unpredictable. Life events, both good and bad, can interfere with your ability to maintain your tenancy for the full length of the original lease . It may be a new job that’s out of the area, a marriage, a new baby, or a summer away for a student. To avoid owing money, a broken lease, or an eviction for the time you aren’t living on the property, many tenants look for a new tenant to take their place and fulfill the rent payments due for the remainder of the term.
The original tenants can use a free sublease agreement form to make the agreement formal and legally binding. While this can help you avoid attorney's fees in drafting the document, it's still a good idea go get legal advice if you plan to use a sample sublease agreement that you've found online. As mentioned earlier, though, it is important for the tenant to read the master lease to determine if subletting is allowed. If it is, the tenant should make sure that the information in the sublease matches the information in the master lease. It’s equally important that the master tenant choose a sub-tenant with care because in most jurisdictions, the master tenant will be legally responsible for damages caused by the sub-tenant (although they may have the right to bring a legal action against the sub-tenant in civil court).
Sublease agreements are an extremely helpful potential option for people who need to move before the end of their lease. By using one, both the original tenant and subtenant can solve their housing problems in a legally binding manner that helps them both.
From a technical perspective, any residential unit could potentially be sublet. However, whether it’s legally permissible is a different matter. The master lease between the landlord and the main tenant will include a clause about whether subletting is allowed. It may also state that the main tenant needs written permission from the landlord. The most common residential units for subleasing include apartments and condos.
Many tenants could likely tell you about nightmare situations that can occur with informal subletting; the original tenant often finds themselves on the hook for damaged property and unpaid rents. Oral agreements are difficult, if not impossible, to legally enforce. Even in situations where the main tenant and subtenant are good friends or related, misunderstandings can and do happen. Using a written agreement template with detailed sublease terms can provide clarification and accountability for both parties. The landlord can't enforce any of the lease provisions against the sub-tenant. They can only enforce the main lease against you. So, ultimately, you are responsible for everything, including damage to the real property. In a worst-case scenario, the sub-tenant might refuse to leave when you return, forcing the landlord to evict both of you. To protect yourself, prepare a clearly written agreement explaining all of the provisions from the master lease such as rent, length of the tenancy, and security deposit.
A sublease agreement template requires information from the original lease to detail the terms. It should also include the amount of rent the sub-tenant will pay, which, depending on the circumstances, may be equal to or less than the original lease. For example, if you’re bringing in a roommate, they would pay less than the full amount of rent since you’d still be making use of the property as well. Yet, if you were leaving the area for some reason, the sub-tenant would pay all of the rent. Remember to include how the rent should be paid. For example, money orders mailed to a specific address and made out to the landlord or property management company. A solid sublet agreement will also address utility payments, security deposits, a lead-based paint disclosure (if the unit was built before 1978), an inspection form, and any applicable insurance the subtenant is required to have.
The other basic clauses that should be included in the agreement include:
The following guide provides a blueprint for current and prospective landlords to learn how to navigate all the ins-and-outs of leases and their associated real estate actions, such as sublease agreements, property management, and eviction notices.
First, please understand that this guide makes the assumption that subletting is allowed. After you’ve made the decision to sublease the property to someone, it’s time to execute the sublease package and transfer possession of the property. Make sure that you meet with both the main tenant and the sub-tenant in person to go over the terms in the agreement. This will give the sub-tenant the opportunity to ask questions and you, as the landlord, to make sure that the document includes all of the matching provisions.
Just like a master lease, a sublease is state specific. Unless it meets your state’s legal requirements, it will not be legally enforceable. Make sure that everyone signs and dates the agreement after it’s reviewed and approved. Make copies of all of the documents. You, the tenant, and the sub-tenant should be given copies of the executed lease package.
When a violation occurs with a sublease, the tenant may have the option of filing for an eviction. How do you find out about lease violations aside from failure to pay the rent? Some violations, such as a utility shut off, may cause the landlord to be notified by an official. For instance, if the water is shut off or if the tenant is ticketed because the grass is overgrown, the city will contact the owner of the property. During a scheduled inspection of the property, you may find a pet that isn’t allowed or people living on the property who are not listed on the sublease.
If there is a violation, you must inform the sub-tenant of the violation. This notice should be given in writing by the master tenant. Consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to determine if the landlord may issue the written notice if they receive a notice of the violation from a city or town official. It should inform the tenant of the lease violation and request that they correct it. Written notice is legally required and it must be delivered in a way that the sub-tenant will find it. This could be certified mail or it could be securing the notice to the front door or main entrance of the residence.
Most sub-tenants are good people who won’t contact you unless there is a legitimate issue. However, there are people who are difficult. They may even seem perfectly nice at first. State law governs how landlord-tenant disputes are handled (even if the property is sublet). It is important that you know the laws in your state so that you can abide by them. In some places, cities also have their own ordinances that relate to landlord-tenant disputes. That includes both notices and the eviction process.
We hope that this guide will serve as a helpful resource for your needs. Additionally, if you ever have any questions about specific legal documents, feel free to check out our Free Legal Forms Library.
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