Apartment renters may find themselves needing to move before the term of their lease ends. Can you get a new renter to take over the lease? The answer depends on several factors. Read on for tips on how to sublet an apartment correctly.
Read your lease agreement
If you’re considering subletting your apartment to another tenant, your first step should be carefully reading the written lease you entered into with your landlord. The language of the lease you signed determines what you can and can’t do, and you remain ultimately responsible under your lease during the subletting period (unless your landlord agrees in writing to let your sublessee take over your responsibilities under the lease). You may find that your lease strictly forbids subletting. If the lease permits subletting, inform your landlord about your desire to sublet at least a month before you intend to move out.
How to sublet an apartment
Follow the procedure set forth in the lease. Because subletting is a business arrangement, be sure to spell out your agreement with your sublessee in a written document that you, your sublessee and your landlord all sign. If your lease does not set out a detailed procedure, you can find a template for a sublease agreement at sa.berkeley.edu/legal/forms/sublease. Make sure your sublease document is acceptable to your landlord and under your state’s laws.
If your utilities are not included as part of your rent, be sure to reach an agreement with your sublessee as to who is responsible for them during the term of the sublease. Set forth your agreement in writing and make sure you and the sublessee both sign it.
If you have roommates, discuss your desire to sublet with them before you take further steps and get their agreement to your plans. If you and your roommates are all on one lease with the landlord, you’ll need their permission — again, in writing — to your subletting. If your sublessee fails to pay in this circumstance, you will be responsible for your share of the rent.
Even where your lease forbids subletting, it may be worth talking to your landlord to explain your circumstances. If the landlord agrees to allow the sublease even though the written lease forbids it, be sure to spell out your new agreement with the landlord and the terms of the sublease in a document you both sign that expressly states it supersedes the original lease terms.
Finding someone to sublet
The best way to find a sublessee is by networking among friends and family. If you have roommates, get their input on possible new tenants. Your landlord may have waiting applicants who could step into your lease. If you don’t personally know the sublessee, ask for references and their rental history.
Present the new tenant with a fresh, clean apartment so that he or she knows the standards you expect them to maintain while subletting. Remove your personal belongings. Take pictures or a video of the entire apartment to document the condition in which you left it to the tenant.