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Leaving Before the Lease Expires: Subletting

You may find yourself having to move to a new residence before the end of your tenancy agreement. Perhaps you have been transferred, or you purchased a home. Nonetheless, you are still responsible for the rent owing on the remainder of your lease.

If you find yourself in this situation, you will most likely need to find someone to whom you can sublet the premises. Subletting is a legal arrangement between you and another tenant. That person (the sublessee) agrees to live in your place, pay rent and respect the requirements of the rental agreement between you and your landlord.

When subletting, you are still the party responsible to your landlord, which means you are responsible for the sublessee's actions should he or she not respect the rental agreement. This responsibility includes damages and non-payment of rent. Be sure to sublet to someone you trust, preferably someone you already know. Subletting to an irresponsible person could result in having to pay for damages that you did not cause.

Subletting requires permission from your landlord. Landlords cannot unreasonably refuse a request to sublet, but they may decide whether or not to approve the new tenant based on the same criteria used when renting to you. In general, a landlord cannot charge you a fee for subletting and nor can he or she refuses to allow your search for a new tenant. Specifics about subletting vary from province to province, so check laws for your area before taking action. (For details see the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets).

As another option, consider working with your landlord to find someone to take over the rental premises, with the intention of assigning your lease to the new tenant. Assigning is a legal process where you transfer your obligations to someone else. The new tenant would take on the responsibilities of your lease, removing your liability risk. You must have your landlord's permission to assign your lease. Legal costs may be associated with assigning a lease.

TipCharge to Sublessor

When subletting, you cannot charge the sublessee more than what you would have paid for rent. You can charge less, but you must make up the difference so your landlord receives the amount of rent specified in the rental agreement.



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