In this arrangement, you're still the tenant – but you double-down as a pseudo-landlord, leasing your place to another lessee! But before you can do it, you should read your lease to make sure it's an option (some apartment communities don't allow it). Assuming it's OK, it's almost certain you'll have to first obtain permission from your landlord – and you'll need that in writing.
It's professional and proper to notify your landlord of your interest in subleasing at least 30 days in advance. Before writing your request letter, there are a few steps you can take to increase the odds that he or she will say yes.
Find a responsible tenant
Finding a suitable tenant can be challenging – and your landlord has veto power – so begin your search as soon as possible. It's best to choose someone you know to be dependable, but if you have to vet strangers, be sure to verify their income source and credit. You need the same assurance that this person will be reliable that your landlord needed when they decided you were a good candidate for tenancy.
Do you have roommates? They need to be onboard with your candidates, too. Their approval might also increase the odds your landlord will agree to the sublease. Get it in writing and submit it along with your request letter.
You also might want to write up a sublease (you can find boilerplate language online) to make clear the terms between you and the sublessor. Things to include are the dates of the sublease, the amount of rent they'll pay and whether they'll be covering the utilities and who they will be paying. Oftentimes, in order to ensure rent gets paid, the tenant (you) would continue to pay rent while the sublessor pays you.
A written lease is proper, but having one prepared ahead of time will allow your landlord to review it to make sure he or she is comfortable with the terms, not to mention show that you're taking the matter seriously when making your request.
Your request letter should contain all the basics – your reason for wanting to sublet, the start and end dates of the sublease, the name of your proposed tenant and their current address, contact information for your time away and your roommate approval form.
Sample request letter
Here's some language for a sample letter requesting sublet permission. Use it in part or full when submitting your proposal. Simply fill in the brackets [ ].
Download Word Doc of Sample Letter
Current Address of Your Apartment, unit ###
City, State, Zip Code
Landlord Or Apartment Company's Name
Address as Printed on Your Lease
City, State, Zip Code
Re: Notice of Intent to Sublet
Dear [Landlord's Name]:
I currently live at [address with unit number]. We signed our lease [XX] months ago and there are [XX] months remaining.
In light of [your reason for wanting to sublease – a family situation involving an illness, a wonderful educational opportunity that involves travel abroad, etc.], I would very much like your permission to sublet my apartment while I am gone during the period from [start date] through [end date].
I have already found a wonderful candidate for the sublet. [Name of person] is a [fill in details here. For instance: current graduate student in the Engineering School at the University of Central Florida with a 3.9 GPA. She works part-time at Publix and volunteers at the Food Bank of Central Florida. She has excellent references. You'll find them attached, along with a copy of her credit report. She will be happy to furnish any other necessary information.]
I will remain responsible for paying the rent and fulfilling all the other terms of the lease during my time out of town.
Thank you so much for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you so that we may discuss further.
[Your email address]
[Your phone number]
Make sure you get permission
Subleasing an apartment without express permission can land you in pretty hot water, or worse, out on the street when your tenancy is terminated. Even if you have a great relationship with your landlord, or he or she lives off site or is inattentive much of the time, getting their permission is still the right thing to do and may be required by law.
This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.