What is a Sublet?

An essential property management term

Table of Contents

    A Sublet is one of the most common options for covering a portion of a lease if a current tenant needs to move out temporarily or earlier than expected. With this process, a landlord is responsible for finding a new tenant to live in the unit for a specified portion of a lease. Here are some of the most important things to know about what subletting is and how it works.

    What Is Subletting?

    Your typical lease length may not be the most ideal option for every tenant from the beginning, and unexpected changes in their lives may mean that they can no longer fulfill the remainder of their lease. Tenants that need to leave their unit for an extended amount of time, often for one or more months, may choose to sublet instead of attempting to break their lease early. Subletting, or having you find a new tenant to take over their lease, can be a particularly helpful option if your current tenant would like to keep their space available for them to return to.

    For example, college students may sublet their unit during the summer and a tenant that will be traveling or participating in an internship for a few months may want to sublet instead of paying rent for several months while they are away to keep their empty space available to eventually return to.

    What will my relationship with my new tenant look like?

    Many landlords prefer subletting over subleasing because you will have direct contact with your new tenant throughout the subletting process. You will be able to meet the tenant in person more easily than you might in a subleasing situation, and you will be able to create a new lease agreement with the new tenant from the beginning. This will place a higher level of responsibility on the new tenant instead of the current tenant when it comes to ensuring that rent is paid on time and the unit is kept in reasonable condition, which also makes handling any potential problems easier.

    How will I get paid if my tenant decides to sublet?

    Your new tenant will pay rent to you directly instead of going through the current tenant as they would in a subleasing situation, which is typically a safer option for both you and the new tenant.

    Am I required to allow my tenant to sublet?

    No, you are generally not required to allow subletting or subleasing. However, making a reasonable effort to make these options available whenever possible can go a long way toward maintaining a good reputation among tenants that may eventually come back and people in their lives that may be considering renting from one or your properties. Between the two options, subletting generally offers more rights and protections for landlords.

    Streamline Your Rental Property Management


    TheKey is the weekly newsletter for landlords, by landlords.

    Subscribe to get tips, news, and hacks for even the most seasoned landlords.

    More Resources and Tips

    Join the 550,000+ independent landlords who rely on TurboTenant to create welcoming rental experiences.

    No tricks or trials to worry about. So what’s the harm? Try it today!