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Are you looking for a way to make rent cheaper? Do you want to move somewhere else in Iowa without breaking your lease? If so, you may want to sublet. Here are crucial tips for getting the process started.

Definitions

Before you consider a sublease, you need to understand the relevant terminology.

  • Original lease: This is the contract you signed when you began renting the property.
  • Iowa sublease agreement: Separate from the main lease is a contract specifying the terms of the sublease. These conditions may change depending on state requirements. All involved parties must sign this contract before subletting.
  • Original tenant: You, the person who originally applied to and occupied the property, are the original tenant.
  • Sublessor: Instead of using the term "original tenant", a contract may refer to you as a "sublessor."
  • Subtenant: This is the person who will sign the Iowa sublease agreement alongside the sublessor and landlord.

Tenants

As a sublessor, you have several responsibilities on behalf of yourself and the new person. These duties include...

  • Paying rent and other fees
  • Maintaining the rental property
  • Notifying the landlord about any issues or changes
  • Verifying the subtenant beforehand
  • Understanding all the terms and conditions
  • Ensuring both leases are upheld by all parties

Landlord's Permission

In Iowa, it is legal to sublet provided your lease does not prohibit it. There is not much outlined on the matter beyond that.

While you don't legally need your landlord's permission to sublet, obtaining it will prevent future complications. If you are a trustworthy tenant who has given at least a 30-day notice, there is little reason for your landlord to deny the request.

Why a Landlord Might Refuse an Iowa Sublease Agreement

Subleases can be risky for landlords. As with any other tenant, they need to carefully consider who they are allowing on their property. A landlord may not give you permission to sublet if the subtenant has an unfavorable rental, credit, or criminal history. The individual's income may also be a major factor.

Your status with the landlord may also affect their approval. If they don't consider you responsible due to previously missed rent payments or disruptive activity, they will not trust your judgment on an additional tenant.

Sublessor

To avoid issues during the sublease period, you should do the following:

  • Keep a signed copy of the original lease and the Iowa sublease agreement
  • Pay rent on time, even if the subtenant is behind on their portion
  • Ensure all parties are in agreement about the terms of the sublease
  • Send the landlord an advanced notice before moving out or renewing the original lease
  • Give notice if the subtenant needs to move before the end of the lease
  • Ensure the subtenant adheres to Iowa state laws
  • End a sublease agreement if the subtenant becomes problematic
  • Document any changes made to the original lease or sublease agreement, including a rise in rent, an extended sublease end date, or an additional security deposit
  • Either add long-term roommates to the lease or have them sign a sublease, even if they are not paying rent
  • Give a copy of every document to the subtenant
  • Ensure open communication between all parties involved in subleasing the property
  • Talk with the subtenant to reach an agreement on paying utilities and identify other house rules

Build Your Own

Before subletting, you should verify that the contract contains certain information. This includes basic details such as the start and end dates of the sublease. You also need the address of the rental property, including the unit number.

The contract should clearly state the terms of the sublease, including parts of the original lease that apply to the subtenant. What you are responsible for as the sublessor should also be outlined.

To start drafting an Iowa sublease agreement, download a free template (PDF or Doc) or use our custom sublease agreement creator.

eSignature

Lease signing is your biggest opportunity to lay the foundation for a pleasant tenant experience, and that relies on making the process as easy and efficient as possible.

With DoorLoop, you can get your subleases eSigned in a few seconds. You can also get to the eSignature step much more easily by creating reusable sublease templates that are autofilled with tenants' information.

DoorLoop also makes it so simple to find the best tenants in the first place by syndicating your lisitngs on popular websites Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, Apartments.com, and more. You can also make sure you're bringing in the best tenants by screening your prospects in seconds through DoorLoop.

For more information about DoorLoop, learn more or schedule a free demo.

FAQs

Does the original tenant still pay rent?

Yes, you do. As the original tenant, you bear most of the legal responsibilities of an Iowa tenant. This includes making timely rent payments.

That said, the payments do not have to come from you. It is possible for the new tenant to submit full payments on your behalf. However, if they miss a payment, you are held responsible since you are the original tenant.

What happens to the original lease agreement? Does a sublease agreement override it?

The original lease is still in place, though it may have a few updates to include references to the sublease. A sublease acts as an extension of the main lease. However, the original rental contract takes priority. While the new tenant is required to adhere to the terms in each lease, you are the tenant held responsible if they do not.

What about the security deposit?

Sometimes, the landlord only requires a security deposit for the original lease. This would have been paid when you moved in.

Other times, the sublessor and subtenant may need to pay separate security deposits or one combined amount. Make sure to get clarification on this from your landlord. You should also speak with the new tenant beforehand about how to handle the payment.

When you move out, the landlord will mail a security deposit refund to the original tenant. If the subtenant had to pay an individual deposit, you may be able to ask the landlord to mail their refund separately.

What protections do tenants have under an Iowa sublease agreement?

To avoid legal conflicts, it is important to keep a copy of an Iowa sublease agreement. This document protects you from the landlord unjustly charging you or claiming you have violated the lease. It protects the subtenant from being wrongfully evicted if they have abided by the sublease agreement.

An Iowa sublease also acts as documentation to show in court if the landlord is not upholding their side of the agreement. Ultimately, it gives both tenants peace of mind for the duration of their sublease.

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David Bitton

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!