How Does Subletting Work?

Written by amber keefer
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Individuals may choose to sublet a property when they will not be living on the premises themselves. Individuals often decide to sublet to someone else if they will be travelling for an extended period of time, and do not want to lose the lease on a house or apartment while they are away. Other individuals may be moving to another home, but still have time left on their current lease. Some people who are renting a larger residence may choose to rent out spare rooms even while they are occupying that same property. This can help to pay the rent for a more expensive rental property. But before subletting a property or any part of a property to another party, be sure to check with your landlord beforehand to make certain that subletting is allowed.

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Defining Your Expectations

Once you check your lease for a sublet clause and receive your landlord's permission to sublet the property, there are several things to consider before entering into an agreement with the other party. Bear in mind that the person who sublets from you will be responsible for paying you rent, which you then will pass on to the landlord. Be sure to screen the person carefully. Remember that your name is on the actual lease; therefore, you will be the person responsible for paying for any unpaid rent or damages to the property. Your landlord may ask to screen the person as well. Ask for references, particularly from the person's previous landlords. In addition, request that the individual sign a written sublet agreement that clearly defines all the terms including the amount of rent to be paid each month, and on what dates the sublease will begin and end. In some states, an oral agreement is binding, but still can be challenged in court should problems arise.

Taking Steps to Protect Yourself

Consider collecting a security deposit in advance. That way, you will have some protection if the person subletting the property fails to pay rent, or incurs costs to repair any damages. If there are no problems when the person moves out, you can return the security deposit when the sublet agreement is terminated. Note in writing the condition of the property at the time that the person subletting from you takes possession. Taking pictures or use a video camera to document the condition of the property is even better. Require that the person sign off on it before giving over the keys. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself. You also could find yourself responsible for any unpaid utility bills when you return, unless you have the foresight to specify that the utilities be changed into the name of the person subletting until you return.

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