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Sublease

DEFINITION

Leased property from a tenant to another tenant.

EXPLANATION

Although similar, an assignment differs from a sublease. A sublease involves a tenant leasing a property to another tenant while still being liable for the terms of the original lease.

In this case, no new lease is created between the landlord and the subletter. Rather, the original lease remains intact and the original tenant acts as a middleman between the landlord and the subletter to uphold its terms. The original tenant is responsible for facilitating all communication and ensuring all repairs and rent payments are made. A subletter is expected to pay the rent, although the original tenant is ultimately responsible if the subletter fails to do so.

Some landlords may prohibit subleases. A lease may include a provision that expressly prevents subletting (Civil Code Section 1995.230). If it doesn’t, however, a tenant has the right to do so. If a landlord does not allow subletting, but has accepted rental payments from the original tenant while the subletter lives on the property, the landlord’s acceptance of payment indicates his or her consent of the subletter.

If a tenant chooses to sublet a property for more money than the original terms of the lease, the landlord is entitled to a portion of the income (Civil Code Section 1995.240).

Example of Sublease

Subleasing allows for a tenant who has signed a lease to move out without the burden of paying rent every month on a place they will not be staying at.  A good example is if a college student finds out that they will finish school a semester early and have signed a 12 month lease. The student can sublease their apartment to another student who may only need a place to stay for a semester which is covered by their 12 month lease. The original tenant can avoid any termination fees and simply give their lease to a third party. This options favors the landowner as well due to the fact that they will no longer need to spend time finding a new tenant. The original tenant still hold interest in the apartment, so if they want to renew the original lease at the end of the 12 months they have the option to do so.

Subleasing Laws by State

Depending on where someone is trying to sublease or opt into a sublease, the laws can vary in different states. In places like New York City or San Francisco, there are laws in place that prohibit a landlord from forbidding subleasing under specific conditions. It is important to understand the laws that govern subleasing before you contact your landlord or property owner to ensure everything falls within the guidelines set by the state.

Subtenant Rights

In most cases, a subtenant’s rights will go hand and hand with the original lease holder’s. This applies to multiple facets of being a subtenant, everything from the end date of the lease to the rules that the original tenant was subjected to usually stand for the new tenant. This arrangement does have a tendency to vary as every landowner will make decisions on these types of scenarios.

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