Updated on September 16th, 2022
A sublease agreement is a form used for re-renting a currently leased unit to a new tenant. It’s formed between the original tenant of a property (sublessor) and a new tenant (sublessee or subtenant).
Once signed, this agreement permits the subtenant to live in the rental property in replacement of the original tenant. The original tenant is still bound to the lease signed with their landlord, which remains in effect until the termination date is reached.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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1. THE PARTIES. This Sublease Agreement (the “Agreement”) made this [MM/DD/YYYY] is between:
Sublessor: [SUBLESSOR NAME] (the “Sublessor”), AND
Sublessee: [SUBLESSEE NAME] (the “Sublessee”).
The Sublessor and Sublessee are together referred to as the “Parties.” The Parties agree that the Sublessor shall sublet and the Sublessee shall take possession of the property located at [PROPERTY ADDRESS] (the “Premises”) on the following terms:
2. TERM. This Agreement shall begin with the Sublessee taking possession of the Premises on [MM/DD/YYYY] and shall end on [MM/DD/YYYY].
3. RENT. The Sublessee shall pay the Sublessor rent in installments of $[AMOUNT]. The rent shall be due on the [#] of every month. The rent shall be paid in the following manner: [RENT PAYMENT INSTRUCTIONS].
4. SECURITY DEPOSIT. The Sublessee will pay $[AMOUNT] to the Sublessor as a security deposit. Deductions permitted by State law may be made from the security deposit, and the remainder, if any, shall be returned to the Sublessee within [#] days of the termination of this Agreement.
5. UTILITIES. The Sublessee is responsible for the following utilities: (check all that apply)
☐ – Electricity
☐ – Water
☐ – Heat
☐ – Trash Collection
☐ – Cable / Internet
☐ – Other: [OTHER UTILITIES (IF ANY)].
6. MASTER LEASE. This Agreement is subject to the lease agreement signed between the Sublessor and the Landlord, hereinafter referred to as the “Master Lease.” A copy of the Master Lease has been attached to this Agreement. The Sublessee agrees to assume all of the obligations and responsibilities of the Sublessor under the Master Lease for the duration of this Agreement. The Sublessee agrees that if the Master Lease is terminated for any reason, this Agreement will terminate as of the same date.
7. ORIGINAL COPIES. The Parties to this Agreement acknowledge the receipt of an executed copy thereof.
8. GOVERNING LAW. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws in the state of [STATE NAME].
9. ADDITIONAL TERMS & CONDITIONS.
[ENTER ANY ADDITIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS HERE (OPTIONAL)].
10. ENTIRE AGREEMENT. This Agreement contains the entire agreement of all parties on these matters, superseding any previous agreement between them.
11. SIGNATURES. In witness whereof, the Parties agree to the terms and have executed and dated this Agreement below.
Sublessor Signature: ____________________ Date: [MM/DD/YYYY]
Printed Name: [SUBLESSOR NAME]
Sublessee Signature: ____________________ Date: [MM/DD/YYYY]
Printed Name: [SUBLESSEE NAME]
Landlord Signature: ____________________ Date: [MM/DD/YYYY]
Printed Name: [LANDLORD NAME]
How to Sublet an Apartment
Step 1 – Check the Lease
A tenant’s right to sublet depends on the original lease’s terms and state laws. While many states have specific requirements regarding subleasing, no state explicitly restricts subletting; state laws only differ in the level of power they provide landlords in permitting or restricting the act of subletting.
The majority of states permit subletting if it is not mentioned directly in the lease agreement. Additionally, even if a landlord establishes that subleasing is not permitted, they cannot unreasonably deny a tenant’s right to sublet.
What to do if the lease…
- Doesn’t mention subleasing: Subletting is most likely permitted. Check state landlord-tenant law to ensure permission doesn’t need to be obtained from the landlord; although receiving permission is always recommended to avoid liability.
- Requires landlord permission: Contact the landlord, explain the situation, and wait for their answer.
- Prohibits subletting: Don’t give up – call the landlord or schedule a time to meet so you can go over exactly why you need to sublease. Be sure to ask their reasoning for the restriction. Usually, the landlord doesn’t want to risk an un-screened tenant living on their property. Because of this, offering to perform the screening on the subtenant will result in the landlord granting permission.
Step 2 – Find a Sublessee
If the tenant has already found a sublessee, head to Step 3. If not, they’ll need to begin the search for a potential renter. The following includes a number of ways in which the tenant can go about locating a subtenant:
- Post on a rental platform – There are several online platforms tenants can use to list their available room or unit.
- AirBNB.com – Percentage-based (varies based on location)
- Sublet.com – Free (Premium costs $15-$50)
- SpareRoom.com – Free (upgrading costs $10.99 – $139)
- Craigslist.com – Free, except for NYC, Boston, & Chicago, which cost $5.
- LeaseBreak.com (NY specific) – Free
- Leverage social media – Post about the availability on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another comparable platform.
- Utilize school resources – For college students, universities will have a central bulletin board that can be used for posting vacant units. Additionally, many schools have online platforms specifically designed for leasing to students. This is especially useful for those leaving on summer vacation and need a subtenant for two (2) to three (3) months.
Once a potential subtenant has been found, the tenant should screen them using a rental application. This ensures the renter has a means to pay the rent and confirms they have a solid rental history. This is a similar process landlords go through when screening potential tenants.
Step 3 – Negotiate & Sign
Once a subtenant has been found and approved, both parties will negotiate the terms of the sublease. The sublease agreement is not a mirror copy of the original lease agreement, although it will contain similar provisions. The sublessor should attach a copy of the original lease to ensure the sublessee understands their obligations to the landlord.
Upon signing the lease, the sublessor can set up a date and time for the sublessee to move in.
Step 4 – Move Out & Collect Rent
After finalizing the agreement, the sublessor will move out and the subtenant will begin the move-in process upon the date stated in the form. After move-in, the sublessee will be obligated to make regular rent payments to the sublessor. Payments are not made directly to the landlord unless this has been pre-arranged between the parties.
It’s important to remember that the original tenant is still bound to the master lease signed with the landlord. This means they are liable for the sublessee’s rent payments, any damages, and any lease violations. Once the sublease ends, the original tenant will either move back into the property or will end the lease officially.
What Should be Included?
Sublease agreements are typically two to five pages in length. Depending on the rules and conditions the tenant establishes, their complexity can vary substantially.
The following terms should be included in every sublease:
- Party Names – The full names of the original tenant (sublessor) and the sublessee.
- Term – The start and end dates of the sublease.
- Property Info – The full address of the rental. Include the unit or room number (if applicable).
- Rent – The amount of money the subtenant is required to pay on a regular basis to the sublessor.
- Utilities – Any utilities (electricity, water, heat, etc.) that the sublessee will be responsible for.
- Signatures – The sublessor and sublessee must sign the document. The landlord may also sign if required per the lease.
- Copy of the Master Lease – A copy of the original (master) lease agreement should be attached.
While not a legal requirement, the following clauses can be included in the agreement for added protection and clarity:
- Security Deposit – By requesting the subtenant to pay a security deposit, the sublessor can use the deposit towards any damage the subtenant may cause during the sublease.
- Move-in Checklist – A condition requiring a move-in checklist to be completed is recommended if the sublessor will collect a security deposit from the sublessee. This helps to prevent the sublessee from claiming new damage existed prior to move-in.
- Contact Information – If there are any issues or in case of emergency, the subtenant should be able to check the sublease for the sublessor and the landlord’s contact information.
- Dispute Resolution – Covers how the parties will go about resolving any issues during the lease. This helps to avoid litigation, which can be extremely time-consuming and costly for the parties involved.
- Smoking – Even if the master lease allows smoking, if the tenant doesn’t smoke themselves, they can include a clause that makes smoking prohibited in the rental.
- Guests – Establishes if guests are permitted, the number of nights they can stay (if permitted), and related information.