Grab your FREE Louisiana residential sublease agreement sample and read further about subletting laws in Louisiana, required disclosures, optional addendums and what other Louisiana landlord-tenant laws apply to residential sublease agreements.
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What is a Sublease Agreement?
A sublease agreement in the state of Louisiana is an agreement that allows the tenant who has signed the lease assigns their rights to the unit to another person. This will ensure that the tenant does not need to break the lease if they cannot stay on the property, and they will not have to continue paying the rent when they leave. The agreement adds a third party to the original arrangement that will have all of the same terms, and it will be legally binding, so the sub-tenant will be responsible for paying the rent that they have agreed to pay each month as well as other expenses.
With that being said, this is not a true contract between the sublessee and the owner of the property; it is simply an arrangement that is between the original tenant and the sublessee. So, this means that if anything happens that would terminate the lease, the sublessee would not have a legal claim to the unit. Some property owners will work out a deal with the sublessee, but that is not guaranteed in all counties in the state.
When it comes to utilities, they can be left in the original tenant’s name, but they will need to either be paid by the sublessor or the money for the bills will need to be given to the original renter in a timely fashion. This agreement does not break the original one that was signed by the sublessor; it simply adds a third party into the mix so that it is legal for the new tenant to live in the unit. This means that the original tenant will need to still pay the rent when it is due if the sub-lessee fails to comply with the terms of the lease.
The tenant that signed the original lease will be responsible for the sublessee, which means that if they are excessively loud or continuously breaking the terms of the lease, it will need to be addressed. A good way to avoid a tenant who is not compliant with the terms of the lease is to do a credit and background check before inviting them to live in the unit.
Some landlords will request that any sub-agreements for the property are put in writing and approved by the landlord or the management company before any changes are made. If a sublease agreement is not permitted in the unit, it will be mentioned in the original lease as well as any other rules that will apply. In addition, a security deposit may be requested as well to take care of any issues that need to be repaired in the unit when the sublessee moves out.
When a lessee needs to leave a property for an extended period of time, to avoid the costs of breaking a lease or continuing to pay while not dwelling in a unit, he or she may take on a sub-lessee. This is perfect for those circumstances where a tenant is locked into a fixed-term lease but wants to not accrue additional costs. Effectively, when starting a sublease agreement, the lessee becomes the sub-lessor, and the sub-lessee becomes his or her tenant.
Here are situations where a sublease might be preferable:
- When the original tenant is a student: In college towns, this is very common because students that have fixed-term leases need to go away for the summer and winter sessions. During this time, they can take on a sub-lessee and simply have these individuals pay the market rent on the property while they are away. This is advantageous for sub-lessees that are studying during these same sessions, and there’s the added advantage of moving into a place that has been furnished.
- When the original tenant wants to move out before the end of the lease: When new, favorable properties come onto the market, it’s a good idea to seize on the opportunity. Unfortunately, these properties can come onto the market at inopportune times. When this is the case, a primary tenant can sublet their unit to another individual so that the rent is covered until the end of the lease. For the sub-lessee, this is also advantageous because they can “suss out” the quality of a property before taking over a lease after the lease term has ended.
- When the original tenant has an extended vacation: If the original tenant is going away for months at a time, this is a great way to not have to pay the months of rent. This can also benefit the sub-lessee if he or she doesn’t want to sign a full-term lease in an area.
In the state of Louisiana, these documents are legally binding, but it’s absolutely critical that the parties understand that the agreement is between the original tenant and the sub-lessee, and that, in most situations, the landlord will not be involved in the minutiae of the sublease. For this reason, if the sub-lessee is problematic, this can cause issues between the landlord and his original renter, which is why background checks are suggested when creating a sublease agreement.
Subletting Laws in Louisiana
If a tenant is thinking of subletting the property that they are renting from the landlord, they need to make sure that they are following the rules and regulations set out by the state for this type of arrangement. In the state of Louisiana, there are no laws pertaining to subletting property, so as long as there is not a clause in the original lease for the property, there should not be an issue subletting the space. Some landlords will require that they are a part of the process so that they can make sure that they approve of the new tenant, but they will not be able to simply deny your request to sublet the property.
What to Include in a Louisiana Sublease Agreement
- The name of both the sub-lessor and the sub-lessee.
- The street address of the property that is being subleased.
- The amount of rent that the sub-lessee will need to pay each month. This should also include information on where the rent should be dropped off and whether or not there will be a late fee that they will need to pay if the rent is late.
- The amount of money that the sub-lessee will need for a security deposit for staying in the unit. Also, include the length of time after the unit has been vacated before it will be returned to the sub-lessee.
- The terms of the sublease agreement. This will include the date that it begins as well as the date that it ends. If there is a possibility of the sub-lessee renewing the lease after the term has ended, it should be listed in the sublease agreement as well. Also, include the number of days notice that the sub-lessee will need to provide if they decide to vacate the premise while subleasing.
- The final thing that needs to be included is the signature of both parties.
How to Sublease in Louisiana
Before getting into the details of subleasing in this state, it’s important to note that the state of Louisiana doesn’t have laws on the book about subleasing. For this reason, for those wishing to sublet, it’s a good idea to consult the original lease. Some properties explicitly forbid subleasing units on the property, and if this is the case, subletting can make the original lease forfeit.
Once the lease is consulted, it’s also a good idea to reach out to the landlord to confirm that the sublease is acceptable. The best way to do this is to send certified mail so that receipt is verified. Here’s what to include in the letter:
- The sub-lessee’s information: In addition to the full name of the sub-lessee, it’s a good idea to provide contact information for anyone that’s renting the unit. Background checks can be performed by the landlord using the information provided as well.
- The reasons for subleasing the unit: Information is essential, so a tenant should fully explain the reasons for subletting the property to a sub-lessee. Whether this is a temporary arrangement or a sublease until the end of the original fixed-term lease period will need to be conveyed as well.
- How to reach the original lessee during the sublease: Should circumstances warrant it, a means to contact the original tenant should be provided. Not only is this useful when the sub-lessee has proven to be problematic, but this also provides a way for the landlord or management company to reach the tenant if there is important correspondence or a change of status on the property.
- A copy of the sublease agreement: This is a means to provide the landlord with an understanding of the specific terms of the sublease.
Once the document has been sent to the landlord, the tenant should provide at least a 30-day waiting period before starting the sublease. This gives the landlord ample time to either accept or challenge the sublease. After this time has elapsed, the tenant can assume that the landlord has given the go-ahead to sublease the unit.
How to Write a Sublease Agreement
In most cases, the tenant that is looking to sublease will need to be 100% sure that the content of the sublease agreement is all-encompassing and provides a good framework for a stable arrangement. These are legal documents, so for the sake of the courts, it’s essential to understand what is allowable during the sublease period. Here are a few sections to include in this sublease agreement:
The Involved Parties
When a sublease agreement is being used, similarly to a standard fixed-term or month-to-month lease, the parties involved will need to be outlined at the very beginning. This is to establish the legality of the document as well as to establish who is bound by the lease by the courts. Both the original tenant and his or her sub-lessee will need to provide their full names.
The Forwarding Address
The tenant should provide his or her address to the original landlord, but for the sake of the sublease, this information should be provided as well, even if this is a relatively short sublease. This just provides a place where the sub-lessee can find the forwarding information of the original tenant in case important correspondence must be forwarded. This is especially relevant for those subleases where the original tenant receives a rental payment from the sub-lessee so that the rent can be paid.
The Physical Parameters of the Sublease
Sometimes, the sub-lessee only will be renting part of the unit. This can be the case when there are multiple sub-lessees or when the original tenant is still dwelling on the property and is renting a room. In these situations, some parts of the agreement should explicitly state the sublet area so that the new temporary tenant has clear demarcations of their space.
Like a fixed-term lease, it’s a good idea to establish the precise term for the rental. This provides a clear move-in and move-out date so that there’s no confusion in the future.
Information about the Payment of Rent and Utilities
Providing all of the pertinent payment information is critical so that there’s no confusion on the part of the sub-lessee. This means that the sublease needs to include the cost of the rental payments that are due on a monthly basis as well as the due date for this rent. Additionally, for short-term subleases, it’s a great idea to note the total rent that’ll be due during the rental period as well as the rough price of the utilities. If there is a special method of paying the rent or the utilities, this section should clearly provide it for the renter.
The Security Deposit
In the state of Louisiana, there is no upper limit for the cost of the security deposit provided by the state. Still, in most situations, fixed-term leases tend to have security deposits that are either one or two months’ worth of rent. In some situations, since this is usually paid at lease signing, the sub-lessee is not responsible.
For those situations where the tenant is moving out, this security deposit can be passed along to the new sub-lessee. When tendered, the sub-lessee must be made aware that this deposit can be tapped into if there is damage to the property. Also, Louisiana state law states that the landlord must return the security deposit within 30 days if there is no damage, and he or she has a forwarding address in which to send it.
Rules of the Original Lease
It’s imperative that the sublease agreement expressly provide all of the rules of the original lease so that there’s no confusion. For example, the policy of the property for pets, noise, cleanliness, and smoking should be clearly stated. These are very important because violations of the original agreement can lead to eviction, which will primarily affect the original tenant. This is especially important for things like noise; most rental units have established quiet periods that tenants are supposed to know, so clearly stating this is in the sublease agreement a good idea.
As with any legally binding document, merely stating the involved parties is not enough. To close out the document, the identified parties will have to sign so that the agreement is deemed legal. Once signed, the sub-lessor and sub-lessee should also print and date the document as well.