A Virginia sublease agreement is a legal document that an original tenant (or “sublessor”) can use to rent out a property they’re currently renting to a new tenant (or “sublessee”). This rental can include the entire property or simply part of the property, such as a room in a house.
A sublease agreement is only between the sublessee and the sublessor, not the landlord. It cannot alter or override the original lease, and the sublessor is still held to the terms of the original lease. Such terms include ensuring rent is paid on time and taking responsibility for any damages — even if the sublessee causes them.
How to Write a Virginia Sublease Agreement
- Date the agreement – Write the date on the sublease agreement when you sign it.
- Name the current tenant(s) – List all tenants in the original lease.
- Name the subtenant(s) – Write the name(s) of all the new tenants under the sublease.
- Record the dates of the sublease agreement – State the start and end date of the sublease, formatted in mm/dd/yyyy.
- Record the address of the subleased property – Write the address of the property
- Specify details of the property – Identify the apartment number or the number of bedrooms being sublet.
- List terms of the original lease and attach a copy – List the entire period of the original lease. Format the dates in mm/dd/yyyy and attach a copy of the lease to the sublease.
- State the rent – State the total rent for the entire sublease term and the rent amount the sublessee is responsible for paying each month. If the sublessee must pay for the utilities, additional fees, or a security deposit, also list those in the agreement.
- Include additional information about the property and sublease conditions – If there are parts of the property the sublessee isn’t allowed to use — such as parking spaces, storage units, furnishings, etc., then clarify them here. Also, state if there are any restrictions, such as not allowing smoking or pets.
- All parties sign the sublease agreement – The sublessor and the sublessee must sign and date the agreement and print their names. If there is a guarantor, their information must also be recorded here.
Virginia 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 Virginia. Once you’ve filled out the Virginia sublease agreement, you will be responsible for your subtenant and liable for any violations of the original lease.
A sublessor must honor the terms of the sublease agreement (as well as the original lease) and follow all Virginia laws regarding the eviction process, security deposits, and all other landlord-tenant matters.
Virginia Landlord-Tenant Laws: Chapter 12 of the Code of Virginia (Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act)
In Virginia, a sublessor must:
- Give a subtenant five days (5) written notice to pay rent or leave
- Return the security deposit within forty-five days (45) of the end of the sublease
- Provide thirty days (30) written notice of your intent not to renew the sublease and/or original lease
Virginia Sublease FAQs
Is subletting illegal in Virginia?
No, subletting isn’t illegal in Virginia. Unless the original lease specifically forbids it, it’s allowed.
Can a tenant sublet without permission?
Subletting is usually outlined in terms of the original lease agreement, but generally, you must have your landlord’s permission. To avoid any confusion or potential issues, ask your landlord if you can sublet your rental, even if your lease doesn’t require it.
Upon written request—preferably sent by certified mail so that you have a record of when it was sent—your landlord has 10 days to respond, either approving or rejecting your sublet request. Your landlord can only reject the request for reasonable, legitimate reasons. There are no specific provisions in the Virginia Landlord-Tenant law regarding what is deemed “reasonable”. Still, generally, landlords have looked to financial instability, suspected illegal activity, etc., as grounds to deny consent. If you do not receive a response from your landlord, consent to sublet is implied.
How can I end a sublease agreement?
In Virginia, a sublease is legally binding. For original tenants and landlords, the only grounds to break a lease are laid out in the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (for example: if the rental unit violates Virginia’s Health or Safety codes). For subtenants, the same laws apply, and the same protocol must be followed. The Virginia Landlord-Tenant Handbook is a valuable resource to review for understanding the relevant laws and procedures.