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Is It Ever a Good Idea to Let Your Tenant Sublet?

A female subletting tenant carrying boxes with personal belongings.Being a rental property owner usually entails a diligent search for the perfect tenants. Some tenants attempt to cut costs by subletting their area to others, whether you agree to it or not. Typically, this arises when tenants, committed to a long-term lease, find themselves away from their dwelling for a prolonged stretch. Opting not to cancel the lease, tenants may see subletting as a more favorable choice. The purpose of this article is to aid you in handling this issue and securing a resolution that suits all parties.

Subletting refers to the act of a tenant leasing a portion of their residence, like a bedroom, while they continue to inhabit the space. Although this arrangement might appear beneficial for tenants seeking additional income, it can provoke worries among landlords. As someone who owns property, it’s crucial to balance the merits and demerits of allowing subletting. It’s time to explore these factors more thoroughly.

Who is Responsible?

Subletting, a frequent occurrence, manifests in two distinct forms. The first is legally subletting, where the property owner gives the tenant permission to rent out either a section or the entirety of the property to another tenant. Alternatively, an illegal sublet happens when the tenant subleases the property to another without the landlord’s consent.

It’s crucial to note that in subletting, the original tenant remains legally obliged to adhere to their lease agreement and ensure payment of the total rent. This implies that the original tenant maintains ultimate accountability, even if subletting is explicitly allowed. Even when things run smoothly, there’s a great deal of trust placed in the original tenant to make sure the subtenant respects the lease’s conditions.

Reasons Not to Allow Subletting

The prerogative to allow or disallow subletting is yours alone as the property manager or landlord. That said, there are exceptions where regulations, including those from homeowners’ associations, can limit subletting. Should such agreements forbid subletting, this might constitute the sole basis for you to deny your tenant the option to sublet your rental unit.

Additionally, the risk of not being able to collect rent from a subtenant—who stops making payments while the original tenant is away—might dissuade you from allowing subletting. This would necessitate locating your original tenant to obtain the rent, an endeavor that might be both arduous and time-consuming. It’s essential not to take any payments from a subtenant in the event of an unlawful sublet. Receiving payments from a subtenant, even one subletting illegally, may unintentionally grant them rights to your property, with eviction being the only recourse to revoke these rights.

Reasons to Allow Subletting

A number of property owners authorize subletting as a strategy to maintain occupancy. It’s especially relevant when a tenant will be absent for a long stretch. Sustaining a favorable relationship with your tenant is key, and granting them the ability to make necessary arrangements is a valuable tactic. By permitting your tenant to sublet, you also minimize the risk of vacancies and the associated turnover expenses, provided that the rent is consistently paid on time.

Subletting Agreements

Creating a precise subletting contract that clearly states your expectations and your tenant’s obligations is the best practice. No matter your position on subletting, your lease should contain a clause that precisely indicates what is permitted and under what circumstances. A bit of transparent communication can prevent miscommunications and secure a pleasant and worry-free leasing relationship for both sides.

When thinking about authorizing subletting, it’s critical to implement protective measures for both your interests and your property. A primary step involves conducting a comprehensive screening of the subletting tenant, akin to the vetting process for any prospective tenant. After identifying an appropriate tenant, setting up definite expectations and rules for the sublet arrangement is crucial. This involves drafting and executing a sublease contract that comprehensively details the terms and conditions of the subletting deal. The establishment of a sublease agreement can act as a safeguard against any potential disputes or complications that could arise later on.

Wondering about the implications of letting your tenant sublet your property? No worries, Real Property Management Unlimited has got you covered! Contact us online or call 516-875-1600 to talk to a rental property expert today. Our team of pros is here to help you make the best decision for your property in Locust Valley or nearby.


Originally Published on April 1, 2022

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