What’s a sublease? Can I? How? What’s the scoop on subleasing?

Posted on May 1, 2017

What’s a sublease? Can I sublease my place to someone else? Sometimes, yes, but only with our approval.

Lives and situations change. We get that. Sometimes you have to leave town or your plans change and you won’t be here when you thought you would. Can you “break” your lease? No. But you can often sublease your rental to someone else.

What’s a sublease?

A sublease is an agreement between someone who signed onto an original lease and another person who is willing to fill in for the original person, take their place in a unit, and make payments for them. A sublease is between the two parties (the original lessee and the sublessee) and is not an agreement directly with Elkins Apartments.

Any disputes regarding a sublease are resolved among and between the two parties (original lessee and the sublessee). The original lessee will be held responsible for any and all terms and conditions, including paying any balances due, resposnibility for damages, etc, under the original lease. The sublease does not change the terms of the original lease in any way, nor does it absolve the original lessee from any obligations under that lease. Rather the sublease obligates a third party to handle certain responsibilities of the original lessee while benefiting by being able to live in place of the original lessee.

In a perfect world, a sublease is a win-win-win: the original lessee wins because they can move on to whatever is calling them to live elsewhere yet have someone else cover their payments. The sublessee wins because they get a great place to call home. And we win because everyone is happy, payments are made, and obligations are met.

What’s the process of subleasing my place?

The process of subleasing is pretty simple. You find someone to whom to sublease. You get a sublease form. (Please check with the office to be sure you have the absolute latest version). You decide on a few key terms (how much they are paying, to whom they are paying it (subleases can be paid directly to us, or to the original lessee who then is responsible for paying us), who is paying a small sublease fee, and a few other nuts and bolts), you both sign it, and you are done.

Can I sublease if I have fellow lessees?

Yes. You can sublease if you are the only person on a lease. You can sublease if you are one of 5 or more people on a lease.

Do my original leasemates have to sign off on a sublease?

No. A sublease has no impact on the terms of the original lease–especially because it does not remove the original lessee from his or her obligations under the original lease–and as such the other original lessees do not have to sign the agreement. Again, it is an agreement between you and the person wishing to sublease from you. Your other agreement, the original lease, is between you, the other lessees, and Elkins Apartments and remains unchanged.

Do I need Elkins Apartments approval to sublease my place?

Yes, you need our approval to sublease your place. Per the terms and conditions of the original lease, we must approve all subleases before the sublease becomes effective.

What if my sublessee flakes out and doesn’t pay?

Per the terms of the original lease, you, any other original lessees, and the sublessee, would all be individually and jointly responsible for any and all charges on the account, regardless of whether those charges were incurred by yourself, another original lessee, or a sublessee. Again, the key thing is that our legal relationship is first and foremost with the original lessees, who all remain jointly and severally liable for all terms and conditions of the lease as well as any and all balances due on the lease account.

When I sublease, will my security deposit be returned immediately?

No. You remain a party to the lease for the entire period of the lease. Your security deposit will be handled as it would have been had you lived in the unit the entire period of the lease. Therefore your security deposit will be accounted for upon move out and will be returned, or additional charges bill, per the terms of the original lease.

Will I be held accountable for damages to the unit?

Yes. As an original lessee, you are responsible for all terms and conditions, one of which is to ensure the unit is returned to us in move-in ready condition. If your leasemates decide to trash the place, which we certainly hope they will not do, you, they, and the sublessee will be held responsible, together and separately. Your recourse in this situation is directly to the sublessee.

So, what if my sublessee trashes the place?

Per the terms of the original lease, you, any other original lessees, and the sublessee, would all be individually and jointly responsible for any and all damages to the unit, regardless of whether caused by the sublessee or any other party.

What if sublease before move in and I never move in?

You remain responsible for any and all charges on the account, which includes damage deposit reconciliation. A sublease does not remove you from the original lease, but it very well may help you cover the costs of that original lease if your situation changes.

Can I request that the sublessee pay me a security deposit?

Yes. You can ask a sublessee to pay you an amount that is held as a security deposit. This would be strictly between you and the sublessee. If they provide you a security deposit, then you must account to them at the end of the lease term, the entirety of the security deposit within 45 days, per Indiana law.

Such arrangements are solely between the two primary parties to the sublease. Any such deposit has no effect whatsoever on the security deposit required under the original Elkins Apartments lease terms and will never be considered a payment to Elkins Apartments. We have no role in such payments.

What if I am the sublessee?

Welcome aboard! You are leasing your place from our tenant, and you are also assuming all terms, conditions, and obligations of the original lease. You do this by executing the sublease agreement with the current lessee, and as approved and accepted by us.

If I am a sublessee, and I pay a security deposit to the person subletting me the place, is this credited to me at Elkins Apartments?

No. This is very important. Any payments made to third parties are to those third parties. Such payments are not made to us and would never be credited to you in any of our accounts. If you need to recover any such payments, then you would need to address that with the person subletting to you. We likely won’t know anything about such payments and we certainly probably never received the money.

As an example, let’s say you take over for Bob W. Bob already paid his portion of a security deposit to us. We hold that until the end of the original lease term (even though he is leaving, he is still subject to the lease terms and conditions, and deposits are accounted after move out). You move in. You are making payments for Bob, per your sublease, and perhaps you send Bob a security deposit payment because he requested it. At the end of the lease, we do a security deposit accounting and send the lease primary representative the full amount of the refund. He divvies it up among the other lessees, including Bob. Why didn’t you get a piece of that secdep pie? Because you are not an original leaseholder and there is no documentation that Bob’s security deposit was becoming your’s because you were paying him. Instead, Bob owes you, by law, an accounting of the deposit he took from you, and a refund, if any.

I’m a sublessee, can I obtain access to our location’s financial account information from Elkins Apartments?

No. You can, however, request confirmation of your own payment history.

Can a sublessee have a pet or ESA/service animal?

Regardless of whether there is a pet on your current lease, a sublessor may NOT allow a sublessee to bring a pet. Any such pets, or ESA/Service Animals, are subject to our animal policies and procedures, and for a sublessee are generally not allowed.

I’m a sublessee, can I get a copy of the final accounting of the security deposit from Elkins Apartments?

Generally, no. The security deposit is accounted for per the terms and conditions of the original lease, which stipulates that the accounting, and any refund or amount due, be sent directly to the primary representative on the lease. Other parties to the original lease may request information about the accounting. Because a sublessee is not a party to the original lease, we are not able to send the sublessee any security deposit information directly, although you may request that information from the individual you sublet from, or any original lessee.

I’m a sublessee, can I access the online portal?

No, sublessees do not, by default, have access to the portal. Only original lease signers are able to access the online portal. However, we have a form that you can use to have the original lessee(s) grant you permission to access the account. This protects the original lessees, and must be signed by all lessees.

I’m a sublessee, can I make electronic payments?

Yes. We have forms that allow you to setup both one-time and recurring electronic funds transfers from checking accounts. You can also do it yourself if you have the original lessee(s) provide yo with portal access permission.

Is there any way to work around these restrictions?

Yes, you would need to have all original lessees (not just the sublettor) execute an agreement that provides permission to do the different things you would like to do. In terms of getting copies of account information or security deposit reconciliation information, you could, of course, simply ask an original lessee for a copy. Although Elkins Apartments will not provide this information to individual’s who have not co-signed the original lease, the original lessees may, solely at their discretion, provide a sublessee with such information.

5 Key things to Remember about Subleasing Your Apartment or Home

  1. The sublease is between the original lessee and the sublessee.
  2. The original lessee is NOT removed from the original lease and remains fully responsible for all its terms, conditions, and payments.
    What the sublease essentially allows you to do is bind someone else to those original terms and to make your payments for you, but its up to you, and only you, to ensure that they make those payments. If your sublessee doesn’t meet their obligations, Elkins Apartments only recourse is to pursue you and the other original lessees, separately and jointly.
  3. The sublessee has most of the rights and responsibilities of the original lessees, with some important exceptions.
  4. The sublessee cannot access the tenant portal, and cannot request financial information about the account. The sublessee cannot request a security deposit accounting. These restrictions protect you and the original lessees. The sublessee is not a party to the original lease. The sublease is between an original lessee and a third-party. The third-party does not have the right to access financial information related to the original lease. As such, the original lessee is the only person who can provide account information to a sublessee. This not only protects the rights of all the original lessees.
  5. Because a sublease is an agreement between an original lessee and a third-party, that agreement may include terms and conditions that differ from the original terms.

At the risk of being repetitive, its really important you understand that a sublease does not remove the original lessee from any legal obligations of the original lease, instead it allows you to create an agreement, between the original lessee and another party, where that person agrees to do certain things for you, in exchange for the privilege of taking over your spot in one of our places.

So, subleases are usually a win-win-win! If your needs have changed, and subleasing might be of interest, let us know how we can help you. We can answer questions and may be able to help match people who are looking for a short term sublease with folks who wish to sublease for a short term. Win-win-win!