Sublet Agreement

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Sublet Agreement

A Brief Introduction About the Sublet Agreement

It is hugely common for tenants to leave their rented properties for a short period or to sublet a portion of their said property to a new tenant, this entire process is called as subletting. There may be the case of temporary official transfer, travel, home visit, etc. that prompt the tenants not to give away the rented house entirely but only for a short period of time.

According to the law, tenants have the right to sublet apartment or properties, and the agreement that makes this process legally protected is known as Sublet Agreement.

Sublet Agreement is an agreement between the original landlord, tenant, and subtenant. How the subtenant will pay the rent will be decided by both the landlord and tenant, but the original tenant often bears the liability and responsibility for the action of the subtenant, for instance, for late rent payment, any vandalization, etc. the landlord can take action against the tenant.

It should be noted that the terms sublet and sublease are interchangeable in most cases, and thus, when we talk about sublet vs. sublease, the difference should be considered only when specified.

Sublet Agreements can also be referred to as Sublease Agreements or Sublet Contract.

Who Takes the Sublet Agreement?

Sublet Agreement or Sublease Agreement is taken or signed by the original tenant of a rented property and a subtenant. The subtenant is found by the tenant himself in most cases. It must be noted that even though the tenant finds a subtenant to give a portion of the space or entire space for a short period within the original lease period, the landlord of the house remains an extremely important member of the agreement.

In the original lease of the house, the owner often puts a clause that may allow the tenant to bring a subtenant but only with the landlord’s written permission.

Purpose of the Sublet Agreement

In the lease agreement signed between the landlord and tenant, sometimes, the landlord prohibits the tenant from subletting the property without written consent. However, in most cases, after the landlord’s permission, a tenant is allowed to sublet the property or part of it for a short period or long period.

Tenants sometimes may find themselves in a situation where they don’t want to give away the entire space but want to save some money by giving away a part of their space. They can also be in a situation when they have to move out of the city for a short period of time. In such a case, they don’t want to get into a hassle of leaving the current space and coming back to find a new space.

We all know how big a mess it can create to leave a settled house and then find another one after a few months. The tenants also invest a lot in fixing small issues in the house, such as repairs, maintenance, electricity, fixing, etc. Leaving a house in a short period of time can cost a lot of money and energy. Subletting or subleasing helps tenants a lot in such situations.

Here is a list of purposes that Sublet Agreement serves –

  • Flexibility for original tenants
  • Allows new tenants without breaking the original lease
  • Permits tenants to save money
  • Accommodates more than one tenant
  • Might help someone who is in desperate need of a rented space
  • To divide the expense of different house charges such as repairs and bills etc. between two tenants
  • To legally give away already rented the property for a small period of time

Contents of the Sublet Agreement – Inclusions

It is very important to note that the Sublet Agreements are subjected to the original lease agreement signed between the landlord and the tenant. In case of any breach by the subtenant, the owner of the property holds the original tenant responsible. In most cases, lease agreements have a clause that stops tenants from subletting the space without the landlord’s written consent. Hence, the owner’s involvement and his permission are very important procedural elements.

If the tenant has a good relationship with the owner, he can still get some benefits and stop himself from getting scrutinized for the subtenant’s mistakes.

Apart from the basic details such as names, phone numbers, and permanent addresses of the landlord, tenant, and subtenant, the Sublet Agreement will include the rent details, time period details, deposit details, maintenance rules, and late fees, etc.  It is mandatory to add the details of governing law in the agreement.

Issues like repair, bills, maintenance, etc. are small, but they are the one that creates a maximum problem later on, especially if the relationship between the tenant and subtenant is not very friendly. Hence, it is advisable that you clear out every little detail before signing the agreement and maintain a friendly relationship.

The original tenant should always keep in mind that the Sublet Agreement doesn’t absolve him from the original lease agreement. Hence, it is suggested that the tenant should be highly alert and responsible while drafting such an agreement. The Sublet Agreement will also have a clause mentioning the original lease.

How to Draft Sublet Agreement?

After taking the permission of the landlord, there are certain things that the tenant should keep in mind while drafting the agreement. Here is a list of such things –

  • Make subtenant aware of the lease agreement and its clauses
  • Finalize terms and conditions with the subtenant
  • Discuss late fee charges and vandalization policies
  • Decide deposit details and who it will be paid to
  • Explain governing law to the subtenant
  • Include landlord to avoid further confusion and conflicts
  • Give clarity about the portion of the space to be rented

The clauses of any agreement can get really complicated for some people sometimes, but with the help of them, future conflicts and arguments are brought to a solution. If your subtenant doesn’t fully understand the meaning of all clauses in the agreement, then before making them sign the Sublet Agreement, you must guide them and make them aware of the governing laws as well as the meaning of each clause.

You must not hide information about any additional expenses from the subtenant. Like most partnerships or relationships, even this one requires mutual faith and honesty.

Negotiation Strategy

Like most other rent agreements, even the Sublet Agreement requires the original tenant to negotiate with the subtenant and make him understand about the key clauses and terms to avoid any conflict and legal intervention in the future. He should make sure he doesn’t have to bear the cost of any damage caused by the subtenant.  The tenant can charge the subtenant what he wants, but he should avoid charging more to maintain a relationship and to give him a fair deal.

The tenant should also be able to negotiate with the landlord. In many cases, landlords may not be very supportive of the subletting process.

Benefits of Sublet Agreement

  • Allows tenants to rent their space for a shorter period of time
  • Allows tenants more flexibility
  • Less hassle for tenants and landlords
  • Divides the rent cost between tenant and subtenant
  • Helps tenants in the case of temporary relocation
  • Timely maintenance and repairs

Drawbacks of the Sublet Agreement or Sublet Contract-

  • The amount of liability subletting puts on the original tenant is the most tricky part of the agreement. As mentioned above, in case of any breach or late payment, the landlord stands well within his rights to hold the original tenant responsible
  • Original tenant has to make sure that the subtenant follows clauses and rules of the main lease agreement between the tenant and the landlord
  • Involves risks for all the parties involved

What Happens When You Violate Sublet Agreement?

Most states protect the tenants by legally allowing them to sublet the property for a period within their original lease.  However, It is suggested that the tenant take the landlord’s permission to maintain a healthy relationship and to keep him in the loop but, if the landlord doesn’t allow subletting, the tenant can take law’s help. The house owners sometimes don’t prefer to give their space to more than one party for various reasons, and while you may be protected by the law in some states, it is only in good interest to take the owner’s written permission.

Further, the Sublet Agreement is a legal document, and if any party involved breaches the terms and conditions of the agreement, the other parties can take the court’s help and use the governing laws(1). The landlord can hold the original tenant responsible for any breach of the original lease agreement between the tenant and him. The tenant can also have a subtenant held accountable for breaching the Sublet Agreement.

It is pertinent for all the involved parties to know about the governing laws in advance. A good study of the laws or an expert’s help can benefit in the case of any conflict. A good relationship between the tenant, the landlord, and the subtenant can also make things easier for smooth for everyone. It is suggested that the issues should be resolved without any legal intervention(2).