A California sublease agreement allows you (the tenant) to rent out all or a portion of the property you’re renting to another person who wasn’t a part of the original lease. In California, subletting is only legal if you have your landlord’s written consent. If your lease says you can’t sublet, don’t risk potential legal issues by subletting.
The new tenant (known as the “subtenant” or “sublessee”) has to comply with the terms of the original lease. Additionally, you’re still responsible to your landlord for any rental payments, damages, or lease violations, so be sure you have a written sublease agreement with the new tenant to protect yourself.
How to Write a California Sublease Agreement
- Identify the parties — Give the full name of the sublessor and sublessee.
- List the address — State the property’s full address and the area being subleased (like a bedroom or the basement).
- Define the lease term — If it’s a fixed-term sublease, provide the start and end date. If it’s a month-to-month sublease, note this and the advance notice the subtenant and sublessor must give before vacating or terminating the property.
- Identify the rent amount and terms — California law allows a landlord to increase the rent if you choose to sublease, so be sure you’re collecting enough rent to cover this new amount. State the amount of rent, when it’s due, and how it must be paid (by check or cash).
- Identify other financial responsibilities — In the sublease, include information about the utilities the subtenant is responsible for paying, such as electricity, telephone, gas, water, trash collection, cable, internet, etc.
- Identify the security deposit — State the amount and why the sublessor may keep the security deposit in part or in full.
- List other restrictions — You can include other legal provisions under California law, such as guest policies, smoking policies, or similar policies.
- Sign and date the agreement — In addition to you and the subtenant signing the agreement, you should have your landlord sign their consent to the sublease and a witness to the sublessee’s signature.
- Attach the original lease — Attach the original lease to the sublease, and note in the sublease that the terms of the original lease will also apply to the subtenant. Include spaces for signatures or initials indicating that all parties know the original lease was attached to the sublease.
California Sublease Laws
You should check your original lease agreement to see if you can sublet your apartment. It’s recommended that a tenant receive written permission from their landlord before subletting in California. Once you’ve filled out a California sublease agreement, you will effectively be responsible for your subtenant.
A sublessor must honor the terms of the sublease agreement (as well as the original lease) and follow all California laws regarding the eviction process, security deposits, and all other landlord-tenant matters.
California Landlord-Tenant Laws: Various Sections of the Codes of California
In California, a sublessor must:
- Give a subtenant 3 days written notice to pay rent or leave
- Return the security deposit within twenty-one days (21) of the end of the sublease
- Depending on whether the subtenant has lived at the rental for under one year or over one year, provide thirty days (30) or sixty days (60) written notice of your intent not to renew the sublease and/or original lease
California Sublease FAQs
Is subletting illegal in California?
No, subletting is not illegal in California unless the original lease specifically prohibits it.
Can a tenant sublet without permission?
No, a tenant in California must get their landlord’s permission before subletting.
How can I get out of a sublease agreement in California?
You must carefully follow the terms of your agreement to get out of a sublease agreement in California. Both subtenant and sublessor must provide a notice of their intent to vacate or terminate the sublease and provide that notice enough days in advance to satisfy California landlord-tenant law.
Can I be evicted as a sublessee?
Yes, you can be evicted as a sublessee if you do not pay rent or otherwise breach the lease. If either the landlord or sublessor wants to evict you, they must follow the same rules as required for original tenants.