Many landlords are familiar with the term subleasing (or subletting), but few actually understand the full implications. Subleasing involves a primary tenant renting out their space to another tenant. There have been many horror stories circulating in recent years about tenants performing this practice without the knowledge of the landlord, which is considered illegal.
However, there are times when subleasing is done in a legal manner, with the approval of the landlord. It’s more common than one might think, but the circumstances tend to be the determining factor. Here’s everything there is to know about subleasing, especially if you’re a landlord with property to rent.
SUBLEASING VS. ASSIGNMENT
The terms “subleasing” and “assignment” may appear similar, but there are some differences between the two. Subleasing involves a secondary tenant paying rent directly to the primary tenant, or the landlord, where the primary tenant who is on the lease is held responsible for payments made on time, as well as the state of the property.
By contrast, an assignment involves a new tenant taking over the existing tenant’s lease, which is essentially a hand-off. The secondary tenant becomes the primary tenant, while the previous primary tenant walks away from the contract with no responsibilities to the property.
SHORT TERM VS. LONG TERM SUBLEASING
Subleasing can be short term or long term, depending on the situation. Tenants may wish to enter into a shirt term subleasing for a variety of reasons such as traveling, or migrating to a different locale during a particular season. While they may still be technically on the hook when it comes to paying rent and maintaining the property, landlords may allow these tenants to sublease the property for a short period of time to cover rental costs.
By contrast, long term subleasing is done with the intention of eventually passing off the property rental contract to a new tenant. Though similar to the aforementioned assignment, a long term sublease may not kick in right away. Secondary tenants may rent the property for a while before the full exchange is done, and the primary tenant is able to walk away.
HOW TO SUBLEASE
Landlords should always be aware of subleasing, regardless of the situation, or if otherwise stated in a contract. Landlords should always be aware of who is residing in their property, and what their background is. Property management companies know full well how tricky this process can be. The wrong subtenant can create a nightmare scenario for a landlord, which is why any and all subleasing propositions should go through official channels. Background checks should be done, including credit histories to prevent delinquent payments.
In the end, the primary tenant is still liable for paying the rent, and guaranteeing the upkeep and maintenance of the property. However, costly disputes can still occur which means due diligence should be practiced before any subtenant steps foot onto your property.
ADHERE TO ALL LAWS
Various provinces in Canada have specific rules regarding subleasing, and it would serve landlords well to familiarize themselves with all the details before choosing this option. A list of subleasing laws for the province of Ontario can be found here.
Understanding these laws will help you draft the appropriate contract that is legally binding, and leaves no room for misunderstanding. Or- allow your property management company to take care of this stage for you, so that you can be sure you haven’t missed anything due to the complex legal language in provincial law.
If you’re comfortable with your tenant subleasing your property, then be sure to follow the above advice to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Failure to do so can lead to sticky situations that can be hard to resolve, especially given how difficult it can be to remove delinquent tenants from a property.
For ultimate peace of mind ,when subleasing, consider hiring a property management company that knows the ins and outs, and how to deal with any complex problems that may arise. This will grant you extra confidence when subleasing. Contact RentCore today for more information on subleasing, and whether you should allow your current tenant to pursue it.