A Texas sublease agreement is the binding contract that will allow an existing tenant (or sublessor) to rent (or sublease) all or some of the rental property to the new tenant (or subtenant). Then, the subtenant is held responsible for making the regular payments, which could be equivalent to rent due from the original lease, though that's not always true.
The sublease establishes responsibilities for everyone involved, including potential roommates, and is a written agreement. Therefore, it can be included as court evidence if there's a dispute. Likewise, it protects the interest of the landlord by:
- Providing Continuity - The original tenant doesn't break the lease, but you continue holding them accountable.
- Permitting - You get to approve of who is living in the home.
- Clear Guidance - Everyone understands the rent payment and rules.
- In the Loop - You know what's happening on the property at all times.
- Paper Trail - You have a paper trail you can use in court if you must evict.
An original lease should include clauses that relate to subletting, and a Texas landlord can provide one. You tell the initial tenant what they can do and what rules to follow. Typically, the Texas sublease agreement features similar responsibilities and rights as what the original tenant dealt with.
The landlord wishes to maintain control of the rental property, so the tenant can only sublet with his/her permission and can only use the sublease agreement provided.
In fact, a tenant must get permission from the landlord before they sublet as per Section 91.005 in the Texas Property Code.
After getting the landlord's permission, the subletter is responsible for paying rent as outlined in the agreement.
What To Include
The Property Code in Texas doesn't list specific requirements for a Texas sublease agreement, though it does require a tenant to get permission first. However, the landlord must protect their best interests to ensure compliance. Consider including this information:
Names of Parties Involved
The first section names the parties involved. This includes the landlord, the original tenant (who is the sublessor), and the new person (subtenant). Make sure everyone is clearly identified from the beginning.
Include the physical and legal description of the property, as well as the street address. List the type of dwelling it is and offer a unit number where applicable. If the subtenant is only occupying one portion of this property, make sure that's spelled out in writing.
Security Deposit Amount
The landlord has a right to charge the subtenant a security deposit. Though it may feel unnecessary since you have one when you leased the property initially, it's crucial. With more people living in the house, there's a larger risk of damage. Plus, you might want to protect yourself, and a security deposit does this effectively.
If you do not charge one person the security deposit and make someone else do so, it could lead to discrimination lawsuits. Therefore, it's best to ask for a security deposit from your new renter if they sublease.
There are multiple options available. You may charge the new tenant half the original security deposit, providing a refund of that amount to the sublessor. Likewise, you can charge the full amount for everyone, making refunds contingent upon maintaining the lease terms.
Make sure you list the terms of the security deposit carefully. Section 92.103 of the Texas Property Code requires you to send a refund within 30 days once the tenant vacates. You don't want to get accused of withholding the deposit; offer instructions on how to retrieve it.
Sometimes, landlords list who's responsible for paying each portion of the rent. This isn't required because the original tenant is the one you go after for full rent payments. That sublease agreement can be used to emphasize that fact. Include a sentence stating that and ask the sublessor to initial and sign.
Though the sublessor is responsible for rent, that doesn't mean your subtenant can't be held accountable, too. That person should know they might face legal action if they don't pay rent on time. Include information about eviction for non-payment of the rent.
How to Write One
When writing a sublease agreement, here are the steps to take:
- Choose the Property Type - Most common options include an apartment, condo, and house.
- Name Current Tenant/Tenants - Add your name and everyone on the original lease.
- List Addresses for Notices and Rent - Often, this is the same address as your rental property, but make sure to include that.
- Name Subtenant/Subtenants - This is the name of who is subleasing your property.
- Name of Landlord - The landlord on the original lease must also be included on the sublease.
- Copy of Original - Make a copy of the original lease when you sublet to protect yourself.
- Address of Subtenant - The address of the house or apartment the subtenant plans to sublet should be included.
- Additional Property Information - When subletting a house or apartment, clearly state the aspects of the property available to your subtenant. This includes bathrooms, bedrooms, storage units, furnishings, and parking spaces.
- Date of Sublease Term - Determine when the sublease starts and ends.
- Calculate Rent - The landlord should list the portion of rent that the subtenant must pay and the full amount. Any additional fees and utilities should be included, as well as who pays for what.
- Restrictions - If the landlord has restrictions for the property, such as no smoking or pets, those must be stated.
Once the sublease agreement is filled out, you're the landlord for the new tenant, too. Therefore, you've got to honor the terms and laws for evictions and other landlord-tenant needs.
Texas requires a sublessor to:
- Give the subtenant three days to pay rent (written notice)
- Return security deposits within 30 days of the sublease end
- Give a written notice of 30 days of your intent not to renew the original lease or sublease
The same laws in the lease must be followed by the subtenant. Ensure they know the rules by including them in the sublease. Things to cover include:
- Drug/criminal activity
- Enforcing no improvements or renovations without permission
- Non-payment of the utilities
- Use of common areas
- Overnight guests
When you include the rules in the sublease agreement, you know everyone's being treated the same. Likewise, other tenants can't complain because all rules apply to everyone.
Here are a few special laws in Texas:
- Smoke Alarms - Landlords have to install smoke alarms in each bedroom; they must be tested and approved by certain organizations.
- Lead-based Paint - If dwellings were built prior to 1978, there must be a lead paint disclosure as per federal law. The original tenant should have signed, but you now have the subtenant sign.
- Asbestos Addendum - Landlords with properties built before 1981 can include an asbestos addendum. List locations of known asbestos and dates of testing.
The sublessor should abide by all Texas laws that govern security deposits, evictions, and more. They must also follow the conditions set forth in the original lease. Generally, the subtenant is now the tenant.
Build Your Own
Doorloop is the best solution when you want to create a sublease agreement in Texas. We offer free templates to build your own. Test it out today!
What Is DoorLoop?
DoorLoop was created in response to a growing need for a platform to help manage rental businesses. You can use the software to run background checks, create professional leases, and track rental payments on one intuitive platform.
To see it at work for yourself, schedule a free demo.
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.
Subletting can be very beneficial when everyone respects the agreement and upholds their obligations. The original lease is often rewritten and signed by the new renter, which reduces any problems the landlord must deal with. Craft your sublease agreement easily with Doorloop today!
Is It Legal to Sublet in Texas?
Subletting isn't illegal in Texas, but you can't sublet without getting consent from the landlord. Check your original lease to determine if there's a right to sublease. If that's not included, you may ask the landlord specifically, though they have the right to say no.
Can Tenants Sublet without Getting Permission?
No, the tenant cannot sublet without the landlord's permission to do so. It is up to the tenant to tell the landlord of their request, getting written permission from the landlord before subletting. Both the tenant and landlord must be in agreement here.
What If a Property Gets Subleased without the Landlord's Approval or Consent?
According to rental laws, tenants may not keep landlords off the rented property without a valid reason.