You can use a Sublease Agreement to sublet an apartment, an entire house, or a room within a rental property. Think of it as a “lease within a lease.”
Select your state below to find a sublease agreement form customized for the laws in your state.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
People who share a rental as roommates may want to enter a roommate agreement instead of a sublet situation.
What is a Sublease?
A sublease agreement is a contract between the current tenant (sublessor) of an existing lease and a new tenant (a subtenant or sublessee).
In a sublease, the subtenant is subject to the terms and conditions of the original lease. Additionally, the actual tenant remains solely responsible for damages, payment of rent, and any breach of the initial Lease Agreement.
A sublease agreement is also called a:
- Sublease Contract
- Sublease Form
- Sublease Rental Agreement
What is the difference between a roommate and a subtenant?
The main difference between a roommate and a subtenant comes down to the type of rental agreement signed:
Roommate — A roommate is another individual that lives in the same rental property and is typically a signed party of a lease agreement.
Subtenant — A subtenant is an individual who is a signed party of a sublease agreement and who leases the property from a tenant rather than a landlord.
How to Sublease an Apartment
If you are curious about how to sublease an apartment or house, we explore the steps for subletting as either a subtenant or an original tenant. But first, you should understand precisely what properties you can sublet.
Subletting as the Original Tenant
If your name is on the lease agreement for your apartment, you’re the current tenant. Your landlord may allow or forbid sublease agreements, so it’s essential to read your lease agreement carefully before deciding to sublease.
Once you sign a sublease agreement, you remain fully responsible for paying rent, handling utilities, and keeping your property in good condition.
The separate sublease agreement between you and the subletter exists independently of the original lease agreement between you and your landlord.
Subletting as a Subtenant
You’ll become the subtenant if you seek (or have been offered) short-term housing from an original tenant. Your process is slightly different, with your most significant concern finding a legitimate, reliable sublet opportunity you can trust.
Follow these steps for subletting success as a subtenant:
- Search for sublet availability on subletting websites like Sublet.com and Airbnb.
- Review the original lease to understand the landlord’s expectations.
- Negotiate your sublease terms to create a fair agreement.
- Photograph and note existing damage in a rental inspection checklist.
- Sign the sublease agreement.
What type of property can I sublet?
From renting a room in a house to subletting an unused basement, any property currently being leased can be sublet if the landlord allows it. This includes the following:
- Mobile home
Now, review this easy-to-follow summary of how to sublet an apartment:
First, review the original lease to see if you can sublet your apartment. Then,
- Notify the landlord of your intent to sublet
- Post the sublet online
- Show the property to potential subtenants
- Sign a sublease agreement
How to Write a Sublease Agreement
Include the following sections when drafting a simple sublease agreement:
- Premises: address and description of the residence that is being leased
- Tenant: full name and address of the original tenant
- Subtenant: full name and address of the subtenant who is taking over the lease
- Term: when the sublease will begin and end
- Original Lease: details of the original lease, including the date and landlord
- Rent: the amount of money payable by the subtenant to the tenant each month
For a more in-depth look, this step-by-step guide will help you create a sublease agreement and start subletting your property.
- Describe the Premises
When creating your sublease agreement, your first step is to describe the property and include the address. It is essential to define precisely what the sub-tenant will rent, for example, a single room or the entire rental unit.
- Name the Tenant and Subtenant
Include the names of the original tenant and new sub-tenant in the sublease agreement.
- Outline the Term of the Sublease
Decide how long you would like to sublet the property to your sub-tenant. This is known as the “term” of the sublease.
A subtenant does not necessarily need to sublet the rental property for the same time as the original tenant’s lease. For instance, the sublease agreement could be month-to-month or for a fixed term.
- Explain the Details of the Original Lease
Your new subtenant must know of any provisions in the original lease agreement.
For example, if pets are allowed on the premises, or smoking is prohibited in the rental unit, include this information in the document. A general statement explaining that the sublease and sub-tenants must comply with the original lease is also sufficient.
- Determine the Rent Amount
Here, define precisely how much money the sub-tenant owes each month. This sub-tenant will pay this amount to the original tenant unless otherwise stated.
If the sub-tenant fails to pay rent or causes damage to the property, the original tenant is liable to the landlord. If the sub-tenant breaks a sublease agreement, the original tenant is solely responsible for remedying the situation.
Other standard provisions found in a sublease contract include:
- Landlord Approval: if the original lease requires, the tenant must get written approval
- Sublease Security Deposit: how much the subtenant must pay as security against damage
- Late Fees: how much extra the subtenant must pay if rent is not paid on time
- Utilities: whether utilities are included or whether the subtenant must pay for utilities
- Furnishings: whether or not the premises will be furnished
- Alterations: usually, the subtenant is not allowed to make any alterations to the premises
- Policies: whether things such as smoking, pets, or subletting are allowed
Sublease Agreement Sample
Below you can find what a sublease agreement typically looks like:
Frequently Asked Questions
How much can I charge a subtenant for rent or a security deposit?
Maximum rent and security deposit amounts are limited by the same state laws and regulations as standard leases. Check your state’s Landlord-Tenant laws to be sure the rental costs on your sublease agreement are legally valid.
Is subletting illegal?
In short, no, subletting is not illegal. Suppose you obtain the necessary permission from your landlord and abide by the subletting laws of your state and municipal government.
In that case, it is legal to sublease an apartment, house, room, or any other property that you are currently renting.
Some state and local laws allow you to sublet a property you rent, even if your lease explicitly forbids it.
However, landlords can evict or even sue sublessors and sub-tenants in other states if they don’t receive permission to sublet. Always check the laws in your area.
Do I need a written sublease agreement?
Always request a written sublease agreement if you are a sublessor or a subtenant. Verbal contracts and a physical, signed contract do not hold up in court. Protect yourself and create a written sublease agreement.