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When a tenant wants to give their property to another renter while maintaining their lease, this is called subleasing. A tenant can sublet an entire rental unit or rent out a room. Most subleases are for a year, but you may be able to sublet temporarily with your landlord's approval. Once authorized, you can form a sublease agreement.

Sublease Agreement

First, review the original lease agreement to see if there's a policy against subletting. If not, notify the landlord of your request to sublease and wait for their approval.

To protect yourself, only accept written consent in the form of certified mail, an official document, or a verifiable email. All parties need to be in agreement about the terms of the sublease before signing.

Sublessor

As the original tenant, you must...

  • obtain consent from the landlord before you sublet
  • request a free copy of the original lease and the sublease agreement
  • ensure rent and utilities are paid on time

Landlord Permission

While there may not be anything against it in the lease, your landlord may reject your request to sublet for the following reasons:

  • subtenant having a poor rental or credit history
  • tenant being behind on rent
  • prior lease violations
  • landlord wanting to raise the rent or charge an additional security deposit to accommodate an extra person
  • the request being sent too close to the requested date
  • nearing the end of the original lease
  • new tenant already occupying the property
  • destructive relationship between the tenants

End of Rental Term

As the original tenant, you must give a thirty days' notice (at minimum) before renewing the original lease or vacating the property. The subtenant cannot renew alone, but they might be able to obtain an independent lease.

If the property is undamaged, you will receive a refund of your security deposit. You may also receive the subtenant's deposit if applicable. As the original tenant, you should provide a change of address before moving. This is usually not required of the subtenant.

If you choose to renew your lease, it will only apply to you. The sublease must be renewed separately.

Build Your Own

You can download a free sublease agreement below or build your own from scratch:

DoorLoop has resources to learn about and download other legal documents as well.

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 Virginia have special laws for subletting?

The Virginia Landlord-Tenant Handbook states the conditions of subletting are dictated by the lease. If the original lease agreement does not expressly reject it, a landlord should be willing to sublease.

What are my legal protections as a sublessor?

As the sublessor, you are bound by the original lease and the new sublease. However, these contracts also protect you from unfair treatment by your landlord. By adhering to both leases, your landlord cannot break the agreement without violating the law. The new tenant is also protected for as long as they uphold the contract.

Is having a roommate the same as subletting?

It depends on the terms of your rental agreement. Usually, a landlord requires long-term guests to be added to the lease. Some landlords may require roommates who pay a portion of the rent to sign a sublease.

How do I avoid issues while subletting?

Subletting is a risk. As the sublessor, you take responsibility for the new tenant. This can hold you liable for damage or other legal issues if something goes wrong. Protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Verify the subtenant is reliable, responsible, and law-abiding
  • Always pay rent on time (even if the subtenant is behind)
  • Immediately address any issues with the new tenant
  • End sublease agreements with problematic subtenants
  • Ensure no damages to the property
  • Check the master lease for additional terms and conditions
  • Always seek approval before altering the sublease
  • Only accept permission in writing along with a date and signatures

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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!