You've probably heard the term "subletting" a few times, and it could be a familiar word to hear. However, the subletting definition is often unknown or misunderstood. Therefore, it's important to find out what subletting is and the pros/cons of subleasing your rental property.

You may be interested in subletting an apartment and want to get enough information about this to make an informed decision.

Subletting means that you allow someone else to rent all or part of the house or another building that you rent from someone else.

You remain the tenant, and the landlord expects you to pay while you're renting the property. This also means that landlords don't have a new tenant or new renters.

A sublease agreement is a legal contract and claims that the original tenant decides to let someone else stay on the property and pay rent to them. It is the responsibility of the original renter to ensure that payment is made each month with a sublease.

With that, there are often certain conditions where a sublease is permitted. For example, landlords have the right to say no to even a short-term sublease. As the owner of the property, they have more rights and can refuse to do this.

Ultimately, this is similar to a roommate situation, but it can be different. For example, if the original lease did not include the roommate, subleases are there to legally bind the roommate to make the payment each month and handle any other costs that you negotiate with each other.

Whether it's one room or the entire property, most laws require it to be short-term, with the date of moving in/out less than the original lease. With that, you must get consent from the landlord.

What are the benefits of leasing the space to someone else? This is a subject that many people wonder about, so here are the answers you seek:

Benefits of Subletting

Avoid Breaking the Original Lease Agreement Early

One of the best reasons for subletting is to not break the lease early. If you terminate your rental agreement too soon, the landlord is often paid early termination fees, which can cost a lot and damage your renting history.

You could be going on an extended vacation and want a sublease to help you. That way, you're not breaking the lease, and the other person lives there like a roommate until you get back. They have the freedom to live as they want in your apartment for the duration of their lease term.

However, as the original tenant, you must still pay rent to the landlord and cover the expense. Generally, the roommate sends you the money for the bill, and you send it to the landlord.

Saves Money

Everyone knows that if you're not staying in the home yourself and are still paying rent, you're wasting money. Subletting allows you to move from the area and travel for an extended period of time, but you don't have to pay monthly rent for the apartment yourself. This is a huge benefit and one reason why a sublease could be beneficial.

Cons of Subletting

Difficult to Find an Ideal Tenant

Though there are perks of subletting a room to someone else, there are a few downfalls. Generally, it's hard to find a good tenant to rent the apartment. Therefore, if you plan to sublet, it could be a stressful and time-consuming process.

This is why having a sublease could be a drawback. You want to find an ideal tenant and could run into various obstacles. For example, they might not show up for the interview or aren't a good fit for the rental.

Many landlords hire someone to handle the screening process, and you might want to, as well. However, this adds to the costs you must pay.

They Could Break the Sublease Agreement and Stop Paying Rent

Once you find a subtenant, you can move away or go on vacation. However, that doesn't fully guarantee that the subtenant sticks around until you come back.

They could have a life situation come up, which forces them to move away. Therefore, the original lease agreement between you and the landlord is broken. You are still the original tenant, even when subletting. This means you must pay the rent each month, even if the subtenant doesn't pay you.

Ultimately, you are still the tenant with your name on the document saying that you're renting from the landlord. If the subtenant fails to keep up their end of the bargain, you may have to sue them for restitution for breaking the sublease agreement. However, that could still put you without a place to go when you get back.

Tenant's Right to Sublet the Rental Property

The tenant has a legal right to sublet the home, but they must get written permission or consent from the landlord. Without that, you're in a breach of your lease agreement. If the landlord finds out, you could be evicted and may have other legal actions taken against you for subletting the apartment.

With that, the landlord cannot withhold permission without a valid and clear reason why they don't want you to sublet the apartment or home. If the landlord refuses to permit you to sublet, there must be a specific reason why (also written).

When it comes to a sublease, it is not legal for the tenant to sublet the full home or property. This breaches your status as a reliable tenant and could be a lease breaker, depending on the law in your state.

How Subletting Works

Make Sure It's Allowed

As the tenant, you may not have subletting experience or understand the laws and legal issues revolving around subletting. However, that doesn't mean that you can break the sublease or do anything that isn't legal yourself. Therefore, it's important to understand the municipal laws in place.

For example, as a tenant, you can't sublet four or more units from the property owner, even if you're leasing them all. Ultimately, this is more for commercial sublet issues. However, it's crucial to know what's legal.

There are many ways to see if you can have a subtenant in your apartment. The first thing to do is check the rental agreement and lease. Read through the original lease and see if you can get legal advice from a law firm specializing in lease agreements and rental property agreements.

You shouldn't do anything of a legal nature without talking to a legal professional, such as a lawyer. This information is for informational purposes only. It's best to take the lease to an attorney for help if necessary.

Advertise the Sublet with Marketing

Once you know that it's okay to sublet apartments in your state or city, you must prepare to do so. It's time to put the sublet on the real estate market to find a subtenant that can help with subleasing the property and taking over the rent.

There are many ways to list the sublet and market it. Most people do it online to save money, but you can enlist the help of professionals.

If you sublet the space yourself, there are many websites out there that let you do it for free. With that, you can use social media outlets and post about it there. You only need one qualified subtenant to sublet the home, and it's worth it when you, as the tenant, get as much exposure as you can.

Just remember that subleasing requires a legal contract between you and the subtenant. With that, make sure that everyone knows it is a sublease situation so that they don't feel like you are spamming them.

Screen and Interview Potential Subtenants

Once you've put the sublet on the market, responses should come in. Depending on how you market it determines how many messages you see and how good they are. If you put in a few hours for marketing, you should have plenty of potential subtenants come to you daily through phone calls or texts.

When you have a list of subtenant options, you should interview each one and screen them to see if they're a good fit for the sublet agreement. They shouldn't have a poor renting history. The worst thing you could do is take on a subtenant that breaches the lease agreement.

If you don't have experience with screening tenants, it's best to work with trained professionals who can screen and interview the potential tenants. This comes at a cost but could be worth it to get the best tenant. Ultimately, this is a legal contract between you and another person, so it is best to request a month's rent in advance.

Handle Rent Payments

As the original tenant, you have a legal obligation to fulfill the terms of the lease. Therefore, you must take the rent payments from the other person and give them to the landlord. Even if you aren't in the same area, you're still the tenant. It's your legal job to do be the go-between for the subtenant and landlord.


Now that you understand what subletting is, you can determine if it's right for you. Remember, you are still the tenant of the apartment and are subleasing it to someone for a certain period. This is a legal contract between you and the subtenant for the portion of real estate you want to make money on while you're gone.

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!