Your Tenant & Subletting

Subletting is a hit-or-miss situation. Sometimes it’s great, and other times…not so much. If you’ve recently found out your tenant is subletting, there are a few details to consider before taking action.

What is Subletting?

Subletting is a very common practice and most landlords allow their tenants to do it. It is actually quite a profitable technique, and a lot of the time it can be profitable to both the landlord and tenant. Tenants who sublet are usually looking for a way to make extra money while still being able to afford and keep the unit.

Subletting can be long-term or short-term, depending on the situation. It’s basically when a tenant finds another person to to lease from them. In other words, the tenant will collect rent from the subletter and give it to the landlord every month, except the original tenant won’t be living in the unit. (There’s also the possibility that the tenant rents out a single room in the unit.)

The main issue with subletting is the fact that a landlord has no real, legal relationship with the subletter. The original tenant is responsible for the actions of the subletter. They simply collect the rent and give the appropriate amount to the landlord.

Preventing Subletting

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of subletting, you should put a clause in your lease that prohibits tenants from subletting. Here is a sample clause:

SUBLETTING. The Tenant agrees not to sublet, part with, or share the Premises with any persons other than the persons named as the Tenant or any other person approved of in writing by the Landlord to occupy or reside in the Premises.

You should also perform regular inspections of the unit, so that you are aware of the conditions of your property.

Agreeing to Subletting

If your tenant has asked you for permission to sublet and you agree, make sure that the appropriate affairs are in order. You should agree upon specific terms and draw up a contract. For instance, you may want to specify that the tenant is responsible for any damages caused by the subletter. Make sure you and the original tenant sign the contract so that you are both on the same page (figuratively and literally). Keep in mind that the subletter is the original tenant’s responsibility. That being said, if you decide you want the subletter out, you will have to go through the eviction process for the original tenant.

Finding Out Your Tenant is Subletting Without Permission

When you find out that your tenant is subletting without your permission, there are two possible reactions: you either don’t care, or you want to put a stop to it ASAP. You need to ask yourself how you feel about the situation. If your tenant has been subletting for a while and no issues have come up, you may want to consider letting them be. When you are getting rent on time and the unit is being maintained, there’s really no reason to intervene. However, if you’re uncomfortable or if it is a lease violation, talk to your tenant.

Let them know that this is unacceptable and that they must terminate the sublease immediately. If this does not work, talk to the subletters and make them aware of the circumstances. They may not even know that the original tenant isn’t the landlord. Best case scenario, they will willingly vacate. If you don’t want to put the subletters out, you can try evicting the original tenant and signing a new lease agreement with the subletters, thereby giving them the right of tenancy. Warn the original tenant that if they do not comply with your wishes, they will be given a notice to quit. Make sure to always comply with your state’s laws.