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Sublease agreement

This Agreement is entered by and between Jonas Adam, individually or collectively as the "Signee" and Jane Smith, as the "Signer", together referred to as the "Parties".
The Contract is dated [the date both parties sign].

1. Agreement terms

The Parties agree that the following agreement is dependent on the terms presented as follow:

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Sublease agreement

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What is a sublease agreement?

A sublease agreement is a legal contract that allows the original tenant of a property to rent some or all of that property to another tenant. Under this structure, the original tenant is known as the sublandlord while the individual or corporation they are renting the property to is known as the subtenant. The sublandlord can sublease all or part of the property to the subtenant, and the lease can be for a shorter or equal period of time as the sublandlord's lease agreement with the actual landlord.

The agreement that the original tenant has with the original landlord, also called the original lease, sets the fundamental terms for the sublease agreement. For example, the sublease agreement cannot be for a longer period than the original lease agreement is for. For however long the original lease agreement is for, it's important to note that having a sublease does not change or invalidate any of the terms of the original lease. All of those terms still apply, and the original tenant is still responsible to the original landlord for whatever is agreed upon in the original lease, such as the stated rent and any sort of notice period or liabilities.

Who should use a sublease agreement?

Although a sublease agreement is technically between two people, there are three total parties involved in the terms of a sublease agreement. These are:

  • The landlord: this is the individual or company that owns the rental property to begin with, and they typically have entered into a lease with the original tenant, who then in turn becomes the sublandlord to the subtenant
  • The original tenant, and the sublandlord: this is the individual that signs the original or master lease agreement with the landlord. At some point during the rental, they have decided to rent out all or part of the property to someone else, and so in turn they become a sublandlord themselves.
  • The subtenant: this is the individual that rents part or all of the property from the sublandlord for part or all of their rental. 

Like all agreements, a sublease agreement is designed to make the rights and responsibilities of different people clear in a transaction and proactively avoid any issues. So it's recommended that even if you know the other person of people in the agreement, you still create a sublease agreement to ensure everything is clear.

What else is a sublease agreement known as?

A sublease agreement can go by several other names, including but not limited to:

  • a sublease
  • a residential sublease agreement
  • sublease contract
  • sublet agreement
  • sublet contract

What should be included in a sublease agreement?

The sublease agreement can contain several different terms depending on the terms of the original master agreement, as well as any requirement specific to the state, city, or county that the agreement is taking place in, or any law specific to the type of property that is being rented. However, there are several common details that are included in sublease agreement.

The first important point is outlining whether the entire property or a portion of the property will be sublet. If it's only a portion of the property, then exactly what portion of the property is being sublet should be clearly outlined. This should also specify what entrances or exits from the property the subtenant can use, as well as noting what parking spots, garages or other such facilities that subtenant can use.

Next, the sublease agreement should include the cost of the sublease, including any additional cost related to utilities like electricity, garbage, water, Internet, etc. This is commonly overlooked and is important to make explicit in the agreement itself, as questions about costs are a very common source of disputes.

The next part of the sublease agreement should outline whether the sublease agreement is for a fixed term or renews automatically. Keep in mind that the sublease agreement is still bound and superseded by the parameters of the original lease agreement.  So the term of the sublease agreement cannot go beyond the term of the master lease agreement, for example.

A sublease agreement should also include provisions to protect both the sublandlord and the original landlord themselves. These protections could come in the form of a damage deposit being required by the subtenant, as well as requiring the subtenant to have renter’s insurance. Lastly, in the interest of protecting all parties involved, the sublease agreement may require a residential rental inspection report to be completed and attached to the sublease agreement itself.

Once the sublease ends, don't forget to use a security deposit return letter.

How should I sign a sublease agreement?

You can sign a sublease agreement either in person on paper or electronically through one of the several popular electronic signing (e-signing) applications, such as Docusign or Hellosign. Both of these methods are equally valid for the agreement, although signing online may be more convenient. 

However you signed the agreement, ensure that it is filled out completely by you and the other party and that both of you have a copy of the agreement for your records after it is signed. In many cases it is also advisable to share a copy of the agreement with the landlord as well for their own records.

What types of property can a sublease agreement be used for?

A sublease agreement can be used for almost any property that is owned by someone -- the landlord -- and then leased to someone else, the tenant. Both the landlord and the tenant, as well as the subleaser, can be either an individual or a corporation. Individuals can sublease property to individuals, businesses can sublease property to businesses, and a mix of both can happen as well. 

On the residential side of things, and individual or corporation may sublease the entirety or part of properties like an apartment, condo, or house. They can also rent something like a garage or other storage space on a property. 

For a commercial sublease agreement, the property rented can include anything from an office space or a store to a warehouse or other storage facility for goods. It's important to note that business rentals are often more complex, especially if the property itself is used for commercial activities, such as retail or manufacturing. In that case, it is strongly recommended that you work with a lawyer to ensure that your commercial sublease is properly written and that all factors related to your business are taken into account.

What is a prime lease?

A prime lease is just another word for the original lease agreement signed between the landlord and the tenant. It is important to remember that any sublease that is signed between the tenant and the subtenant is still by the stipulations outlined in the original agreement, also called the prime lease agreement. Terms that carry over between these two agreements include the total rent payments and when it is due, the term of the agreement, and other protections and responsibilities.

Do I need to tell my landlord that I want to sublease?

Different geographies and individual rental agreements will have different restrictions on subleasing. The first important thing to do is to check your existing original rental agreement to see if it includes any language about subletting. 

Even if the original lease does not include any restrictions on subletting, it is still usually a good idea to check with your landlord to ensure this is acceptable to them. Often times in the sublease agreement you will want to include a section with the landlord's contact information and any other information pertaining to their acknowledgment of the sublease itself.

Roommate Agreements and Sublease Agreements

Disputes happen among roommates on a regular basis as conflict happens when living with someone. A roommate agreement can provide clarity about the expectations of a roommate. Something like prohibiting subletting the room without approval is an example of a detail that could be included in the agreement. The last thing anyone wants to do is pay a large sum of money to break a lease due to roommate-related tension. 

The following are details that can and should be included in a roommate agreement:

  • Rent payment details should be outlined and forms of payment accepted. 
  • Bills should be discussed as splitting utilities is a common practice. 
  • Notice to vacate terms should be outlined. Termination of the lease terms should also be discussed. 
  • Guests should be discussed as it is a shared living space with another person.
  • The resolution of conflict steps needs to be outlined as well. The last thing anyone wants is to be uncomfortable where they live. 

Take your roommate agreement seriously as it can help in times of conflict. A great roommate is hard to find if the expectations of the roommate are not specified. 

Rent Receipts and Sublease Agreements 

The common practice of asking for a receipt occurs during all kinds of business transactions. A rent receipt is just proof that you have paid the rent. These receipts are important for everyone and especially those that are subleasing or paying in cash. Take these receipts seriously as they could be the proof that a tenant needs to fight an eviction notice.

Obtaining rent receipts is not required and for those paying by check or autopay online, they are not necessary. The following are details that you should ask for on your rent receipt from a landlord: 

  • The name of the tenant along with the address of the rental should be listed.
  • The date that the payment is taking place needs to be noted. 
  • The payment should be specific in terms of whether it is paying for utilities or the rent. 
  • Both parties should sign the receipt as well to make it valid.

Getting any important documents signed and receipts generated is important. Rent is no different as it is extremely important to both the tenant and landlord. 

Security Deposit Return Letters 

Security deposits are often required to move into a property. This deposit is a sign of good faith and provides the landlord with peace of mind. A security deposit return letter details the expectations of the landlord in regard to how a rental unit is left by the current tenant. Damages or the breaking of the lease can be covered by the deposit.

The security deposit return letter should include the following details for the protection of both the tenant and landlord: 

  • Both names need to be included as well as the address of the rental.
  • Expectations should be clearly detailed for how the rental should be left. 
  • The dates that the lease begins and ends should be listed.

States vary in their laws on how long a landlord has to return a security deposit. It is important to research local laws in regards to returning a security deposit.

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