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There comes a time when the original tenant of a rental property may need to consider securing a sublease agreement with a new tenant as the best way to meet their end of the rent and other terms they agreed with the landlord.

The situation may be that the original tenant wants to avoid breaking the original lease agreement by leaving the property prematurely, which would result in them losing out on their security deposit.

A sublease agreement will require the new tenant to meet obligations that may be the same as the ones the original tenant agreed with the landlord. Except for the amount of rent due to the landlord, all other terms on the original lease agreement will remain the same. The original tenant becomes a sublessor and the new tenant will be called a subtenant.

Although the process of securing a sublease is fairly straightforward, there are many specific laws in different states that govern how the contract to sublet a property should be handled.

This article will focus on the specific laws concerning securing a Maine sublease agreement.

Sublease Agreement

In the same way that a lease agreement is signed between a landlord and a tenant, a sublease is a rent contract between the original tenant and the new tenant. When a sublease agreement is signed, it may or may not involve the original tenant moving out of the property.

However, even though the sublease is signed between the two tenants, in most cases the landlord would want to know about what is going on and give their consent.

What to Include

When the original tenant decides to sublet the property, certain things need to be included in the agreement, such as:

  • The names of the original tenant and the new tenant are usually the first things that need to appear in the agreement
  • Specific dates of the agreement, and any terms that may affect the new tenant such as whether they can renew the lease when it expires
  • The mailing address and any unit numbers of the unit
  • The total amount of rent that is required by the landlord, as well as the date of the month it is due
  • Any security deposit that the subtenant is required to put up before moving into the property
  • Signatures of both parties, as well as the consent of the landlord

How to Write One

The same amount of care that the tenant took when signing the original lease is also required in the agreement signed with the new tenant. There is a lot of obligation that the new tenant must take on when they sign a sublease agreement, which is why every detail must be handled according to state laws.

Below are the details that must be included in any sublease agreement signed in the state of Maine:

  • Distinction Between the Two Parties

There are two main parties involved in the signing process, who are the sublessor and the subtenant. A normal sublease form will have the full name, address, and contact numbers of the original tenant appearing first, followed by the same details for the new tenant.

It is customary, although not required by law, to provide the details of the landlord as well, especially the telephone number where they can be reached.

  • Description of the Property

A full description of the property that the new tenant is about to take over should be included to avoid any confusion. This means a clear street address must be listed, as well as any other particulars, such as the unit number if the property is part of a larger building.

If the original tenant intends to leave behind any furniture, this should also be specified because the area being taken up by those items will not be available for use by the new tenant, which is an important consideration regarding rent.

  • Definition of the Rental Agreement

The following terms of the new rental agreement must be specified:

  1. Dates of both the sublease and original lease agreements
  2. Amount of rent the new tenant will be required to pay
  3. Any penalties for late payment of rent that the landlord might expect
  4. The security deposit that is required before the new tenant moves into the property if this has not been taken care of between the sublessor and the landlord
  • Discussion of the Rules for the Unit

Every property has specific rules that all tenants are expected to agree to before moving in, such as noise and pet policies. If there are any issues with the apartment that may affect the subtenant, these should be disclosed, such as

  1. The walls being painted with lead-based paint
  2. A radon disclosure
  3. The presence of bedbugs or any other pests
  • Landlord Consent and Signatures

If the landlord requires consent before allowing a subtenant to sign any new lease agreement, they will need to show in writing that they have given their approval. They can do this by signing their name and address at the bottom of the document.

The process will not be complete until the two main parties, which are the subtenant and the sublessor, have both placed their signatures on the document, including the specific date on which the lease was signed.

Maine Laws

Maine does not have the most complicated subletting laws. In fact, besides the specific details that were highlighted in this article that need to be included in any subletting document, the most important thing an outgoing tenant needs is the landlord's approval.

When this has been obtained, all that will be left is for the subtenant to agree to stick to the terms of the lease and the process will be concluded without any hindrance.

Sublessors

The agreement that is signed between the sublessor and the subtenant puts certain responsibilities on the former's shoulders. In many ways, the sublessor will now be acting as the subtenant's landlord in that they will be required to ensure the following:

  • If the subtenant decides to vacate the property without having breached the terms of the rental agreement in any way, and without having caused any damage to the property, the sublessor must pay their security deposit back and in full within 21 days of vacating the premises
  • The sublessor must also give a subtenant who fails to pay rent three days' notice to vacate or pay their rent in full to avoid eviction

Build Your Own

Any tenant that wishes to sublet their property but wants to avoid breaking any subletting laws by missing some vital information, can now do so with the help of DoorLoop.

Using this app, a tenant can download the following free templates:

Alternatively, you can use this sublease agreement creation tool to build your own from scratch.

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.

Final Word

Rather than the property owner losing out on their rent and the tenant having to pay penalties for breach of the rental contract, a sublease agreement can save both parties from incurring losses. As an added advantage, the subtenant will also have a convenient property to occupy.

However, to ensure that the rights of everyone involved are protected, it is important to follow all the relevant details of the lease to the letter. This is why every property owner, tenant, and prospective subtenant has to fully understand what is expected of them when signing a rent lease in Maine.

FAQs

How Is a Sublease Different From an Original Lease?

The main difference between these two types of lease agreements is regarding the parties involved. A lease is signed between the tenant and the property owner, while a sublease is between the sublessor and the subtenant. All other aspects, such as rent and security deposits remain the same.

Is Subletting Legal in Maine?

Yes, subletting is completely legal in the state of Maine, as long as the laws that are specific to that state are followed and the landlord's consent to take allow the subletting of their property is obtained.

What Is the Best Way To Terminate a Sublease in Maine?

Each tenant has to comply with their portion of all the agreements between them and the property owner to remain on the right side of the law in case they wish to terminate the rental contract.

Failure to provide notice of their intention to vacate the property, or if they do not pay their rent on time, will mean that terminating the rental contract will be difficult for the tenant.

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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!