The Virginia sublease agreement allows an existing tenant to rent (“sublet”) all (or a portion) of a rental property to a new tenant (“sublessee”). Under this contract, the sublessee is obligated to make recurring payments to relieve some of the rental obligations of the initial tenant’s lease.
The sublease has three parties who are: 1) the original tenant (who becomes the sublessor); 2) the new tenant (called the sublessee), and; 3) the landlord who gives approval.
Depending on the agreement between the parties, the sublessee pays rent to either the sublessor or to the landlord. The sublessor, who is the original tenant, remains 100% responsible for the property, just as if continuing to rent it alone. Whatever the sublessee does, good or bad, becomes the responsibility of the original tenant.
Subleases are more common in commercial properties than in residential ones. However, rather than vacating a rental unit early by breaking the lease without a good legal cause, and having to pay a penalty, a sublease may be a good idea. It is an effective way for the existing tenant to get another party to help pay the rent remaining on the lease contract. A sublease may be a good alternative if the landlord will agree to it.
Subletting Laws in Virginia
The lease and sublease agreements govern these relationships and any terms and conditions of subletting. The only law that impacts this area in the state of Virginia is one that says if the original lease agreement permits subleasing and the landlord must approve the new tenant, then the landlord must respond to the original tenant’s request for a sublease approval within ten days of the request being made. Approval by the landlord of the sublease tenant should not be unreasonably withheld; however, a landlord may have financial and other requirements before making the approval.
What to Include in a Virginia Sublease Agreement
Here is the checklist of what to include in a sublease agreement:
- Names and Contact Information: Include the names and contact information of the original tenant, the new subtenant, and the landlord.
- Rent and Payment Terms: Show the rent for the sublease, the day of month it is due, and how to pay it.
- Security Deposit: This is limited to two month’s rent. The landlord may hold only one security deposit. The sublessor holds the new one and must refund it within 45 days after the subtenant moves out, less any appropriate deductions.
- Sublease Space: Describe the sublease space.
- Expense Sharing: If any expenses are shared, show how they will be allocated.
- Termination Date: Show the date that the sublease ends.
- Notices: Show how any legal notices are to be delivered.
- Signatures and Date: Have a place for signatures and the date signed.
If a new application is made by the sublease tenant, then attach a copy of the application form to the sublease to make the application a part of the agreement.