Why Is Subletting Bad?

If you don't carefully choose your tenant, subletting can turn into a nightmare.

If you don't carefully choose your tenant, subletting can turn into a nightmare.

Subletting isn't objectively bad, and can help you get out of your lease early if you want to move or travel. But subletting horror stories abound, and if you're not careful, you could land in legal or financial trouble. Before you sublet, investigate the background of the tenant you're choosing and create a carefully worded subletting contract that protects your rights.

Lease Issues

If your lease doesn't allow you to sublet your apartment, subletting could land you in serious legal trouble. You or your tenant might be evicted, and you could have to pay hefty fines. Your landlord could also sue you for damages caused by your tenant. If you decided to sublease your apartment, you'll need your landlord's permission, and should also draft a lease agreement with the person subletting your home.

Property Damage

If your tenant damages the property, you'll be liable for the damages. You can add a clause in your subletting agreement requiring that the tenant pay you for damages, but you'll still have to pay your landlord. And if your tenant skips out on the lease or doesn't pay for damages, you'll be stuck footing the bill. If you don't pay, your landlord could sue you.

Missed Rent Payments

When you take on a tenant, you run the risk that she won't pay rent. If she skips out on rent, you'll still have to pay your landlord. If you've moved out and are paying somewhere else, this could be a serious financial problem. Even worse, if you're not in regular contact with your tenant, you might not know that she's skipped out on the rent until your landlord has served you with an eviction notice.

Tenant Complaints

When you sublease your place, you're taking on a tenant of your own, which means you'll have to deal with any issues the tenant has with the property as well as any complaints about the tenant herself. If the tenant causes serious problems, you might have to evict her. This can be a time-consuming process, and finding a new tenant can be challenging.

About the Author

Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.

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