How To Sublease an Apartment: 5 Steps for Subletting

Updated September 15, 2023
12 min read
How To Sublease an Apartment: 5 Steps for Subletting


Subleasing an apartment has become a hot topic for many people today. Whether it's because you decided to study abroad, you're taking a vacation longer than expected, or you're planning a sudden move to a new city before your lease expires, subleasing can solve many real-life dilemmas. It offers a flexible and cost-effective solution that ensures your apartment remains occupied and taken care of while you're away.

To successfully sublease an apartment, however, it's crucial to understand the exact process. This involves examining your lease agreement, finding a reliable subtenant, creating a comprehensive sublease contract, signing the agreement, and handing over the property in good condition. So, ready to delve into the world of subleasing? We offer you a step-by-step guide and some crucial points to consider, ensuring you're well-equipped to sublease your apartment seamlessly and responsibly.

What Is Subletting?

Subletting, often referred to as subleasing, is a contractual arrangement where the original tenant, also known as the sublessor, leases their rented property to another person or the sublessee. This agreement allows the subtenant to use and occupy the space for a defined period, all while the primary lease agreement remains active. The notion of ‘sublease an apartment’ comes into play when residents need to temporarily leave their rental unit, but don't want to prematurely terminate their primary lease.

Now comes the important question — "Is it legal to sublease an apartment?" The reality, legality largely depends on your lease agreement and local laws. For instance, in some places like New York City, under section 226-B of the New York State Real Property Law, even if your lease forbids it, you have the right to sublease your apartment under certain conditions and with proper notice given to the landlord. However, this is not the norm everywhere, and in many U.S jurisdictions, if the lease agreement explicitly precludes subletting, doing so might lead to legal implications, including potential eviction.

What Are the Benefits To Sublease an Apartment?

Subleasing an apartment can often serve as an optimal solution in a variety of circumstances. It can provide an array of benefits for both the original tenant and the subtenant. From financial savings to flexible living solutions, let's delve into how both parties can reap substantial benefits by opting to sublease an apartment.

  • Financial relief for the original tenant: For the original tenant, one of the primary benefits of subleasing an apartment is it provides financial relief. If you need to temporarily vacate your apartment (for travel, work, or family reasons), finding a subtenant to cover your rental payments can help avoid breaking your lease and paying unnecessary break-lease fees.

  • Flexibility: Subleasing an apartment offers flexibility. It enables you to retain your original lease while being away for an extended period. This way, you can return to your apartment without needing to start the rental process all over again.

  • Broadens housing options for subtenants: On the other hand, individuals looking to sublease an apartment can take advantage of more diverse housing options. Subletting can provide relatively short-term accommodation without the need to commit to a long-term lease.

  • Ease of process: Although the process of subleasing an apartment may seem daunting, there are plenty of resources available to simplify it. For instance, real estate templates can streamline document creation and ensure all legalities are meticulously covered.

For the person originally on the lease, it acts as a valuable financial buffer and provides much-needed flexibility in uncertain times. However, the benefits do not solely rest on one side. For individuals looking to sublease an apartment, it opens doors to short-term lease opportunities and expands the range of housing possibilities that otherwise might be off-limits in a traditional rental market. 

Subletting an Apartment in 5 Steps

Understanding the importance of subletting can be crucial when navigating rental situations. For one, opting to sublease an apartment can provide tremendous financial relief for tenants who have to be away for extended periods. Instead of paying rent for an apartment you aren't using, subletting allows another person to cover these costs. This system also prevents tenants from breaking their lease prematurely, which can potentially result in hefty fees or sanctions. The ability to maintain the original lease while away offers convenience and flexibility that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

On the legal side of things, subletting helps maintain the integrity of leasing agreements and ensures fair and legal property occupancy. This is where a comprehensive and binding commercial sublease contract comes into play. Drafting a robust sublease agreement is paramount to protect both parties' rights and outline the terms and conditions governing the sublease. Lawrina offers valuable guidance and templates, facilitating a fair, transparent, and legally sound arrangement to sublease an apartment.

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Step 1: Understanding subletting regulations

Taking a leap into the subletting journey must always commence with a solid grasp of the rules and regulations involved. Begin by thoroughly poring over your lease agreement. Check if there's a clause addressing the right to sublease an apartment and be particularly attentive to the details mentioned therein.

On another crucial front, make sure you have a firm understanding of the local legalities surrounding subletting. The laws governing the ability to sublease an apartment can vary significantly depending on your location or jurisdiction. If you encounter challenges comprehending these laws or need advice pertinent to your specific situation, don't hesitate to consult with real estate lawyers when you want to sublease an apartment.

Step 2: Finding a suitable subtenant

Once you're equipped with the requisite knowledge and have the official go-ahead to sublease an apartment, the next step is to find a suitable subtenant. One of the critical aspects of a successful subleasing arrangement lies in the reliability of the subtenant. They must have a stable income to ensure timely rent payments and possess a sense of responsibility to keep the property in good condition. Scrutinizing their financial standing, rental history, and overall suitability are part and parcel of this process.

Initiating the process to sublease an apartment also involves actively advertising your property to garner a wider pool of candidates. Utilize a variety of platforms, both online and offline for this purpose. Seek assistance from local real estate agents, who often have access to prospective tenants looking for shorter lease terms.

Step 3: Forming a sublease agreement

After identifying a prospective subtenant to sublease an apartment, it's time to move on to the next critical phase: forming a commercial sublease contract. This document serves as a foundational agreement between you and the subtenant that clearly states the terms and conditions of the sublease. The key is to be as comprehensive as possible to preempt potential areas of misunderstanding and conflict.

Forming an agreement to sublease an apartment typically includes, but is not limited to, the following details:

  1. The exact duration of the sublease;

  2. The amount of rent due each month and the due dates;

  3. Security deposit specifics — the amount, refund conditions, and timeline;

  4. Other terms include maintenance responsibilities, utility payments, and refurbishment policies, among others.

Using a professionally designed template to sublease an apartment can lend a systematic structure to your agreement and ensure you cover all necessary points. Just make sure the agreement adheres to local laws and the original terms of your lease. It's always suggested to have a lawyer review the document to ensure its legality and comprehensiveness. In doing so, you can ensure all parties feel confident and secure in the sublease setup.

Step 4: Getting the agreement signed

Once the sublease agreement is crafted, the next step is to ensure all relevant parties sign the document to officially sublease an apartment. The first signatories should naturally be you as the original tenant and your chosen subtenant. This signed contract acknowledges that both parties have understood and agreed to the outlined terms. But don't stop there. It's also wise to involve your landlord in this process.

Having your landlord approve and sign off on the sublease agreement not only preserves transparency but also provides an extra layer of legal protection for all involved parties. Remember, every signature counts in ensuring a smooth and secure sublease an apartment. With these signatures in place, you will be one step further in the subleasing process.

Step 5: Handover of the property

Upon successfully signing the sublease agreement, it's time to finalize the handover of the property to sublease an apartment. Begin by removing your personal belongings and thoroughly cleaning the space in preparation for the new occupant. Keeping the property in good condition and cleanliness as a transition stage not only displays respect for the subtenant but also sets the benchmark for how you expect the property to be maintained in your absence.

Next, arrange for an in-depth walk-through of the apartment with the subtenant. During this walk-through, document the current condition of the property, detailing any pre-existing issues or damages. As a final step, hand over the keys and provide any necessary login details for shared facilities or utilities. By following these steps, you can effectively complete the process to sublease an apartment.

Things To Consider Before Subletting

Subletting an apartment can be a beneficial move for many renters, but it's crucial to tread carefully and consider several key factors to protect your interests. Here are a few important aspects to evaluate before embarking on the subletting journey:

  • Examine your renter's insurance policy: Not all insurers extend coverage to subletting situations. Hence, you must scrutinize this aspect of your renter's insurance policy. If your policy does not currently cover subleasing, it might be worthwhile to explore options that do.

  • Protect your belongings: If you're planning to leave furniture or personal items in the apartment during the sublease period, ensure these are adequately safeguarded within your sublease agreement. This could involve detailing the responsibility of the subtenant towards these items and the repercussions of any potential damage or misuse.

  • Recognize your continual accountability: It's fundamental to remember that when you sublease an apartment, you, as the original renter, are still contractually liable to your landlord. If your subtenant defaults on rent or incurs property damage, you may be held responsible.

In essence, thoroughly examining these aspects before you sublease an apartment guarantees that you can proceed with complete confidence and peace of mind.


Opting for the best way to sublease an apartment can indeed be a silver lining during uncertain times in our lives. Whether you need to relocate for an unexpected opportunity or deal with a personal situation, subleasing can offer a practical solution that provides both flexibility and financial relief. If carried out diligently, with thorough research and a firm understanding of the legalities and the rights and duties of all parties involved, subleasing can be a straightforward process.

However, as with any legal arrangement, it's important to approach each step with due caution and thoughtfulness. Always remember that the process of subleasing an apartment is a journey that should be navigated with patience and precision. Utilize resources, like the structured real estate templates, to help make the process smoother and legally sound. Do your homework, get your permissions, form comprehensive contracts, and manage the property handover efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is subleasing an apartment?

Subleasing, also known as subletting, involves an existing tenant allowing another person (referred to as the subtenant) to take over their lease for a specific period. People often opt to sublease an apartment when they need to leave their rented apartment temporarily but wish to return after a certain period.


Often, when people sublease an apartment, they do so with the intention of preserving their original lease and avoiding premature lease termination penalties. This arrangement can also provide financial relief, as it enables the original tenant to offset their rent obligations during their absence. 


Is it legal to sublease an apartment?

The legality of subleasing an apartment largely depends on the terms and conditions of the original lease agreement and local laws. Many lease agreements allow tenants to sublet their apartments, but some may necessitate landlord approval before proceeding.


If the lease does allow subleasing, it's still critical to get landlord approval and create a solid, written sublease agreement to ensure legal protection. Always remember that although it can be advantageous, it's important to sublease an apartment in a way that upholds all legal protocols and respects all parties involved.


What should be included in a sublease agreement?

When you're planning to sublease an apartment, it's critical to draft a comprehensive sublease agreement. This document should outline all terms and conditions of the sublet, including the duration of the sublease, the amount of rent, and payment due dates.


It should also detail the expectations regarding property maintenance, utility payments, and any refurbishment policies. If you're leaving any personal belongings or furniture on the property, the agreement should detail how they should be handled. The sublease agreement is intended to protect the interests of all parties involved when you sublease an apartment.