Sometimes tenants find themselves in situations of financial difficulty, or decide to let a friend or family member move in, without their landlord's permission or knowledge, and against the lease. Because there are often stiff penalties for early termination, tenants may choose to sublet (find a new tenant to either replace them or let a new occupant move in and share expenses).
When this happens, the original Tenant (and any and all occupants named on lease) remains liable for any damage/fines/late fees and unpaid rent. If the tenant causes damage or owes money, chances are the original tenant won't have the resources to collect from their tenant. And it's the landlord that usually loses.
To avoid these unfortunate situations and additional liability, Landlords (especially Property Managers) will put a specific clause in the Lease that specifies NO SUBLEASING under any circumstance. IF YOU DON'T WANT to deal with this potential problematic situation... MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE IT CLAUSE IN YOUR LEASE!!!!
There are locations where it is not only very common, but encouraged. For instance, college towns and areas very near to airports. Typically many tenants in those areas will be very transient, coming and going for long periods of time, but still want a permanent annual address and place to call home. In these situations, tenants may sublet a room for extra income, or the whole place while they are away for the summer. As the landlord of a property in these types of places, it might be to your advantage and help you get a higher rental rate with a better quality tenant, if you ALLOW it to happen.
If you allow subletting, take extra precautions to protect yourself. Things you can do: add additional provisions in your lease to strengthen the language of who is responsible for any rent defaults, damage violations etc. Also, you can require additional security deposit money and require any additional tenants to provide a tenant application and background check to keep on file.
So how do Landlords
minimize potential risks involved? As with everything else in dealing with rental management, it's very important to spell out exactly what you want, don't want and any limitations, within a lease. If you don't want extra unaccountable tenants moving into your property to happen at all, make sure to say in the lease that this would be grounds for termination of the lease.
If you allow it, its equally important to spell out the terms within your lease. Add a line stating each occupant must provide a tenant application, credit report and proof of income and go through tenant screening, prior to being allowed to move in. Make sure to stay informed of everyone living on the premises. Tenants will not do this for you - and they could be letting someone move in that is problematic, without knowing.
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