Customize an Iowa residential sublease agreement (above) and read further about subletting laws in Iowa, required disclosures, optional addendums and what other Iowa landlord tenant laws apply to residential sublease agreements.
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What is a Sublease Agreement?
A sublease agreement is used when a tenant who holds a lease with a landlord wants to rent the property to a third party. In simple terms, a sublease agreement allows a current tenant to find another person to pay the weekly or monthly rent. Generally, a sublease outlines similar rights and responsibilities as the original lease agreement.
There are several reasons for an Iowan tenant to seek out a sublease agreement. With one of these, the lessee becomes the sublessor and rents out their space to another tenant. When this agreement is entered upon, the new tenant becomes a rider on the lease and is considered a sub-lessee until the end of the sublease agreement.
This is a fairly advantageous arrangement for both parties. For the original tenant, it allows the tenant to leave the premises without breaking a fixed-term lease. When this party takes on a sub-lessee, the responsibilities of the property are passed on to the new tenant but the original lease remains valid. This is perfect in college towns for a tenant because there are periods, typically in the summer and winter, when the original tenant may want to go home or travel. With a sublease agreement, someone can dwell in the unit for the two or three months, and rent will continue to be paid. During this arrangement, as one might expect, the original tenant becomes the sub-lessor and the new renter will be the sub-lessee.
For the sub-lessee, this is advantageous as well. First, one of these arrangements is far less constricting than a traditional fixed-term lease. In fact, similarly to a month-to-month, there’s no preset lease term to consider. Additionally, the sub-lessee can rent for a short amount of time when they are waiting for a potential property to come onto the market.
In the state of Iowa, subleases are only illegal if the original lease explicitly states that they aren’t an option in the unit. Having said that, it’s also a good idea to receive prior approval from the landlord when entering into a sublease agreement. Once the agreement is signed, the responsibilities attributed to the original tenant shall be transferred to the new sub-lessee. For example, the responsibilities of prompt payment of rent and the proper management of the unit will fall squarely onto their shoulders.
Unfortunately, if the sub-lessee falls far outside of the lease agreement, this can cause trouble for the original renter. It’s also noteworthy that the sub-lessee may not have legal responsibility if there is a Notice to Quit furnished by the landlord. For this reason, it’s essential that the sub-lessor execute things like credit and background checks to ensure that they will be renting to a responsible party.
Writing an Iowa Sublease Agreement
For the sake of legality, it’s critical that the sub-lessor has an ironclad sublease agreement. For this reason, certain sections will need to be present so that there is a strong legal framework. Here are the most important sections to include:
Identification for all Parties
Since this is a legally binding document, the parties that are involved should be explicitly named at the very start. In Iowa, the first name that will need to be documented will be the person that is subleasing. For the sub-lessee, this means that the full name should be included as well as their middle name or at least their middle initial. Secondly, the original tenant, who will be referred to as the sub-lessor, will need to include their information as well. This should be the same information requested of the sub-lessee, and once this information is collected, the address, email address, phone numbers, and any other pertinent information should be included so that there’s a resource for contacting both parties should the need arise.
In documents like these, it’s actually fairly common for the involved parties to forget to include the landlord in the identification section, but this part should not be neglected. In this section, it’s advisable to include the number, name, email address, and physical address of the landlord who owns the property and any management companies that help to run the property. This will provide this information for the sub-lessee should the need to contact the landlord arise.
Describe the Rental Unit
After the parties have been recorded with all of their information, it’s time to identify the property in question. This means that the full address of the unit will need to be noted in the sublease agreement, which includes the street, the building number, the lot, any side streets, and the unit number. Also, include the county and district as well.
Next, before the move-in date, if there’s any damage that is present on the property, it should be noted clearly. This is to establish that the damage happened before the new sub-lessee moved onto the premises so that the new tenant isn’t deemed responsible for the repair after move-out. For those sub-lessors that opt to allow the sub-lessee to use preexisting furniture, it’s essential that these furnishings are listed. It should also be noted whether this furniture will be returned after the end of the sublease period.
The Rental Agreement and the Security Deposit
Finally, the next section should very explicitly outline the terms of the arrangement. One of the first things that should be done is to set out the dates that the sub-tenancy will start and end (if there is a preset end date). If the sublease agreement is eligible for renewal, then the method required for renewing the agreement should be outlined here as well. If there is an option for a sub-lessee to take over the original lease once it’s completed, then information for this should also be explicitly laid out.
Next, since rent must be paid on time and for the proper amount, then the total amount of rent, its due date, and where it’s payable to should also be included. Sometimes, the rent must be mailed in. If this is the case, the address of the management company or the landlord must be provided for the use of the sub-lessee. After this information is provided, the amount of any security deposits should also be placed here. Not every landlord charges one of these to a sub-lessee, but if there is one, the repayment period and how the deposit may be used for repairs needs to be recorded.
As with any legal document, it’s crucial that there’s a section for the involved parties to sign. Not only should there be a section for the signature, but a section for the parties to print their name and date the document should also be made available to confirm their consent.