What is Subletting?
Subletting is when a tenant has another person take over their rental for a period of time— often because they’ll be away for a time on vacation or traveling for work, or circumstances are requiring them to vacate the lease early. The original tenant is typically still liable for rent payments, any damages done to the property, or any other breach of the lease agreement.
Most states and cities don’t allow landlords to completely disallow subletting; however, there are restrictions you can put in place. In Colorado, landlords are legally not allowed to deny a reasonable request to sublet, but the request must be submitted in writing, and must follow any clauses previously set out in the original lease agreement. What will that look like for you practically? Let’s dive in.
Subletting for Landlords 101
The most frequent reason tenants request a sublet is because their circumstances have changed, either temporarily or permanently. A college student could transfer to another school far away and not need the apartment anymore; a professional person could be going on a two-month trip for work and not want to pay rent while they’re away. They don’t want to break their lease (or sour their relationship with you) and you want to continue collecting rent on the unit, so it can be a win-win if everyone plays their cards right.
There are two types of subleases: a short-term sublease would cover a situation where the tenant plans to return to the apartment after a temporary absence. In this case the original tenant’s name would remain on the lease and the liability for the condition of the apartment would typically remain with them as well. In a permanent sublease the tenant would be ending their lease early, vacating the property before the original move-out date. In this case the subtenant is effectively the new primary tenant, so a short-term lease agreement to cover the remaining term of the original tenant’s lease could be drawn up.
Tenant finds the subletter
Tenant is possibly responsible for subtenant
Subtenant may not be reliable
Lease violations or eviction
How Does It Work?
The first thing to know about subletting for landlords is that you should have a clause in your lease about subletting. Again, it’s not legal to fully deny your tenants the ability to sublet, so the best way to protect yourself is to be explicit about your requirements up front. We recommend including provisions stating that the tenant is not allowed to sublet without your written permission, and an outline of how the sublet will be handled.
Typically, the original tenant is responsible for finding the subtenant, but you’ll want to screen them the same way you would a regular tenant. Make sure your original tenant knows you’ll have the final say about the prospective subtenant; that helps streamline the process.
Another important protection many landlords are opting for these days is online rent payments. The last thing you want is for your subtenant to be able to claim they didn’t know how to pay you— or worse, that they sent the rent to the original tenant, who you’ll then have to track down to get paid. Paying online with a credit card or via bank transfer takes the guesswork out of the process for you, your original tenant, and the subtenant.
If you’ve gone through all these steps and are feeling confident that a subletting situation is right for you, the last step will be to formalize the agreement with a contract signed by all three parties. If you need help drawing up any of these documents, an attorney or a property management company can assist you in covering all your bases.
How All County Denver South Can Help
Being a landlord means a never-ending list of things to keep track of— if it’s not one fire that needs to be put out, it’s another. All County Denver South Property Management is here to help property owners get the best return on their investment through knowledgeable and trustworthy property management services. From managing tenant relationships to lease enforcement, we look forward to working with you to see how your investment can be a long-term, stress-free asset. For a complimentary quote, call us today at (720) 664-4550.