Definition of a Sublet


A sublet agreement is an agreement a tenant makes to rent a piece of real estate property to a tenant who is not on the current lease. The tenant does not become the landlord with respect to the sublease, and the landlord usually must approve the new tenant and the sublet agreement. The sublet agreement does not alter the contract between the landlord and the current tenant, unless the landlord makes additional changes to the lease.

Lease Transfer

A sublet can allow the current tenant to leave the property without breaking the lease. According to the city of Boulder, Colorado, the current tenant can transfer the lease to a new tenant by using a sublet agreement. The new tenant assumes responsibility for paying the current rent and fixing damage to the apartment, but the previous tenant must pay these bills if the new tenant does not pay them. The new tenant also pays the cash equivalent of the security deposit for the property to the previous tenant, in exchange for the right to collect the current security deposit minus repair costs from the landlord.

Temporary Sublet

A sublet agreement can be a temporary agreement. Many college students who live in places that are popular vacation destinations will rent their apartment to a tourist during the summer months, since the student will not be attending college classes during the summer. After the sublet agreement ends, the student moves back into the apartment, and the original lease continues.

Sublet Approval

Some landlords do not allow sublet agreements. The landlord usually performs a background check on prospective tenants and determines whether they have the income to pay the rent and whether the tenant has a reputation for making payments on time. The additional expenses of this investigation may not be worth paying if the sublet tenant only plans to stay on the property for a short period. According to the city of Boulder, Colorado, the tenant may have the right to force the landlord to allow a reasonable sublet agreement under local law.

Tenant Rights

The original tenant can only assign rights that the original lease establishes. According to the state of Michigan, if there are five months remaining on the current lease agreement, the original tenant can only offer a sublease to a new tenant for a period of five months. If the original tenant is not allowed to have visitors or has to keep current rental insurance, these rules also apply to the new tenant.

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