Apartment Subleasing How Does It Work

Apartment Subleasing How Does It Work

Subleasing your apartment might sound like the perfect plan when you want to offer housing to another person, such as your best friend, while taking the exciting opportunity to travel or study abroad for a few months.

But there are rules and regulations about apartment subleasing that you need to know about.

Can you rent out a small portion of your apartment? If you’re subleasing your apartment, you can do so with just one room or a section of your living space. On the other hand, you might want to rent the whole property to another person.

Is it legal?

Here’s where things get tricky.

Before going ahead and subleasing your apartment, you need to know how the process works and if you’re allowed to do it.

Apartment Subleasing: The Basics

Sublease Agreement Basics

How Does Subleasing Your Apartment Actually Work?

You should always check your lease to be sure that you are allowed to sublease, or sublet, your apartment. If you are allowed to, you might have to follow certain rules or steps, such as notifying your landlord about it in writing.

However, if your rental lease doesn’t say anything about subleasing, you can assume that you’re allowed to do it, as the University of Pittsburgh reports.

When you start the process of subleasing your apartment, you become like a landlord.

You will be required to collect, document, and account for a security deposit from the person who will be renting out your apartment or a portion of it.

This security deposit will protect you, in the same way that it protects a landlord, but you must have a lease agreement in writing to protect yourself should any problems arise with your subtenant in future, such as if they don’t pay rent.

You might think that if your tenant pays your landlord the monthly rental income directly you don’t have to be involved in the process. But this is not true.

You are still responsible if your tenant doesn’t pay your landlord on time or misses a payment. In addition, if your tenant causes any damage to the apartment, then you will be responsible to fix it.

Can You Earn Money While Subleasing Your Apartment?

Sublese Consent form Landlord

An apartment subleasing benefit that often comes up is the idea that you can earn more money from doing it.

It’s been said that this is especially the case if you live in an area that’s very popular as you could earn above rent from a subtenant who’s looking for a place in that part of the city.

However, there’s a catch worth knowing about.

Many leases that give subleasing the go ahead require the landlord to consent to the sublease, but they also determine that rent that’s paid by the subtenant as extra income apart from the original tenant’s rent has to be paid to the landlord, as Zillow reports.

Can You Earn Any Money From Subleasing As The Original Tenant?

Profit Agreement for Sublese

Of course, there’s still a chance to earn money if you’re subleasing your apartment to another tenant.

Landlords don’t want their original tenants to make a profit from their apartments, but some of them do realize that if they don’t share the profits from the subtenant’s rental income then this won’t give original tenants the chance to bring in more money.

So, they might agree to share the profits equally between themselves and their original tenants.

As the American Apartment Owners Association reports, if the original tenant has to give the landlord all the profits from the apartment rental income he’s getting from a subtenant, he won’t charge more than what he’s currently paying to rent out the apartment.

He would probably find it pointless to do so.

On the other hand, if he can share in the profit, he’ll agree to a higher rent than what he’s paying – which will benefit both himself and his landlord.

So, When Does Apartment Subleasing Work?

Air Travel

If you’re going out of town for a while, subleasing your apartment to someone who needs the living space can be a great way to make extra money while being assured that your apartment isn’t going to remain empty, which can make it a target for crime.

By having a tenant in your home if you’re not there, this also prevents you from having to move out of your place.

Staying on one apartment for a longer period of time can assist you in future when it comes to renting other apartments because it shows landlords that you’re responsible and have a good history when it comes to renting out apartments.

Can You Sublease Your Apartment Without Telling Your Landlord?

Sublease Kentucky

Most rental leases will state that you need your landlord’s consent to sublease your apartment, as well as his/her approval of the subtenant who will be living in your place. That’s why it’s really important to read the lease carefully!

If your lease doesn’t say anything about subleasing, you might think it’s fine to go ahead without telling your landlord, but this is not advisable. By getting in touch with your landlord and talking to him/her about subleasing your apartment before you go ahead, this will ensure a truthful and good relationship between the two of you.

However, you should always check your local laws because subleasing rules and regulations can vary quite a bit.

For example, in Kentucky and Iowa, you’re allowed to sublease without first getting your landlord’s approval – unless, of course, your rental lease forbids subleasing, as Flip explains.

The site adds that in New York you can sublet even if your lease prohibits you and your landlord doesn’t want you to. However, your subtenant has to be as qualified as you. This is probably to ensure that they will pay the rental income without a problem.

Finally, in Arkansas, you can face jail time for apartment subleasing without your landlord’s approval.

This just shows how important it is to find out what the laws are in your state because they really do vary from one to another.

How Much Can Subtenants Be Charged For Rent?

Subtenants risk

Most people who sublet won’t pay the full rent for your apartment, as they will want to negotiate the amount down a little bit.

A good average is to charge 70 to 80 percent of the normal rent, as Trulia states.  

This doesn’t mean the subtenant will pay their rent on time, though. The responsibility to pay rent will always fall on your shoulders.

Because of this, you need to ensure that you have enough money to pay the rent if your subtenant fails to pay it.

As the original tenant of the apartment, you could pay rent to the landlord and collect rent from the subtenant, or you could find out with your landlord if he/she would like to receive the rent from the subtenant directly.

Getting the money from your subtenant first can be a useful way to stay on top of the situation and know that they’re paying rent on time.

Can Your Landlord Deny You The Chance To Sublease Your Apartment?

Breaking the lease contract

If he/she does, they have to have a good reason for it!

Sometimes, a landlord will deny his tenant the chance to bring in a subtenant if the latter has poor credit history or doesn’t have a job.

This makes sense because the landlord wants to be assured that the subtenant will be able to pay the rent on a monthly basis.

That said, the landlord cannot deny a subtenant based on things like religion or race, and certainly not because he just doesn’t want to deal with the stress of having to sublease the apartment, as Law Info reports.


Apartment subleasing could be a great idea when you want someone else to live in your apartment when you’re not there.

But it can be complicated, which is why you should always make sure you know the facts and rules in your state before you proceed.

It also helps to know the person you’re leasing to very well, to avoid surprises, such as in the case of a subtenant who causes damage to your apartment and leaves you liable for it.

Related Questions

How is an assignment different from a sublease?

Property Owner

An assignment occurs when a tenant wants to leave his apartment permanently.

The new tenant takes their place and will be liable to the landlord, but the previous tenant won’t be.

The new tenant takes over the lease completely, as Money Under 30 reports.

How should you get apartment subleasing approval from your landlord?

Make sure you have these three things, as Flip outlines: a letter containing the new arrangement with your subtenant, a rental application for the subtenant, and a subtenant agreement that is signed by both you and your subtenant.

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