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What Is a Sublet?

People who rent apartments or houses typically have to sign a lease for a fixed period of time. If during that time you're planning on not living at that apartment or house for a while, you may be able to rent the space out to someone else. This process of renting out an apartment or house that you're renting is called Subletting.

Am I Always Allowed to Sublet My Space?

Many leases have clauses in them regarding subletting.  Some landlords let you sublet freely, others don't let you do it at all. You should always review your lease before subletting your space. City ordinances may also affect your ability to sublet.

What If I Want to Sublet My Space?

There are two ways to have someone else legally move into a space you're renting before the end of the lease: subleasing and assignment.

  • Sublease arrangement:
    • You are still responsible for the rent being paid by the new tenant, as well as for any damage to the premises before the end of the lease
    • The new tenant will pay you rent, not the landlord
    • You should have a written agreement with the new subtenant, spelling out his or her obligations
    • Most leases require the landlord's approval of any subtenant prior to the time the subtenant moves in
  • Assignment:
    • Allows you to transfer you the lease to someone else - so the new tenant will be responsible for everything you promised in the original lease 
    • Almost always requires the landlord's approval - you should check the provisions of the lease

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Sublet My Space?

Because Landlord-tenant law is constantly changing, it can be complicated. Also, there may be variations from state to state regarding subleases and assignments. An experienced landlord-tenant attorney can help you protect yourself in the event that you decide to sublet your space.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 01-06-2015 02:09 PM PST

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