Before You Sublease, Be Sure to Get a Landlord Consent to Assignment

Before You Sublease, Be Sure to Get a Landlord Consent to Assignment

by Belle Wong, J.D., April 2019

Even if you're renting the apartment of your dreams, life happens and you may find yourself in a situation where you need to move out before your lease ends. If you're not able to get your landlord to agree to let you terminate your lease early, subleasing your apartment can often be the most viable option. But before you sign a sublease agreement with a third party, it's important to get your landlord's consent.

Woman and couple standing in a home reviewing paperwork

What It Means to Sublease

Subleases are different from leases. A lease is a contract between the master tenant and the landlord, while a sublease is between the master tenant and a third party, often referred to as the subtenant.

As the master tenant in a sublease situation, you are taking on a similar role as a landlord. Just like a lease, the sublease outlines all the terms and conditions that apply to the rental of your apartment, but in this case, these terms and conditions are between you and your subtenant.

This is an important legal distinction because it means there is no contract between your landlord and your subtenant. You are the contracting party in common in both the lease and the sublease, so if either your landlord or your subtenant encounters issues with the rental arrangement, it is you they will notify to resolve any problems.

Why You Should Get Your Landlord's Permission

A sublease without landlord consent is rife with potential dangers. Even if you only need to sublease for a short time, getting your landlord's permission means any problems that might arise with your subtenant will be that much easier to deal with.

Unlike with an assignment of lease, with a sublease you remain liable for rental payments on your unit, as well as any damage to the rental property. There are also other issues you might not foresee, such as a subtenant who requires eviction, that will be easier to deal with when your landlord already knows you're subleasing.

Landlord Consent to Sublease

While some leases do permit tenants to sublease rental premises, in most cases a lease either states that the landlord's permission is required or is silent on the issue of subleasing altogether. If your lease doesn't contain a clause about subleases, in all likelihood it's permissible for you to sublease, as long as you get your landlord's consent. The first step is to have a conversation with your landlord and see if they agree orally.

If that goes well, protect yourself by then having your landlord sign a landlord consent to sublease. Remember, signing a sublease with your subtenant establishes a legal relationship between the two of you, so make sure you lay the proper foundation with your landlord first.

When subleasing an apartment, it's always best to discuss the situation with your landlord and get their written permission before you sign any paperwork with a subtenant. Having this paper trail may help protect you down the road should anything go amiss with the tenant who moves in to your former residence.