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How to Get Your Landlord’s Approval for Subletting an Apartment

By Teri Dormer

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When you sign a lease for an apartment, you may not be paying close attention to how much money it would cost to break your lease early. After all, if you could foresee the reasons why you might need to move in a hurry, you probably wouldn’t be looking to move in the first place. 

Breaking your lease early can cost thousands of dollars – unless you can find someone to take it over instead. Subletting an apartment isn’t always the easiest solution, but if you can coordinate a sublet with your landlord, you’ll save more than a pretty penny along the way. 

Before asking your landlord how to sublease an apartment, here are steps you should take in advance, including researching your state laws and finding the perfect candidate for the swap.     

Research Local Laws and Sublease Rules 

The final decision on whether or not you’ll be allowed to sublease your apartment isn’t always up to your landlord. Before submitting the request, it’s important to research your state and local laws on subleasing beforehand. 

In some cases you’ll find subletting without your landlord’s approval could cost you a major fine or even land you in jail. In other cities or states, you’re fully allowed to sublet an apartment without the express permission of your landlord, even if they deny the request. 

Knowing your local laws in advance can help ensure you’re prepared for how to frame the request to your landlord and how you’ll be allowed to proceed without it. 

Request to Sublease an Apartment 

In addition to the local laws surrounding sublease rules, you’ll want to look over your lease agreement before submitting a request to bring another tenant in on your lease.

Even if state or local laws indicate you’re allowed to sublease without your landlord’s approval, you should never let someone live in your apartment or condo without discussing the transition with your landlord first.

Because you’ll want to get your landlord’s approval to sublease your apartment or condo in writing, it’s recommended you submit your formal request in writing, too. You can research sample sublease application letters online, but you’ll want to make sure to include a few standard points: 

  • The specific details of your lease, including the date it was signed and how much time is remaining in your lease. 
  • The reason why you’re requesting the sublet. Giving your landlord the honest details may help them decide whether or not to let you transfer your remaining lease term to someone else. 
  • The efforts you’ve made to find a suitable candidate to take over the least and as many personal details supporting that candidate as you and they are comfortable sharing.   

Subletting an Apartment Successfully 

Just as important as making sure you understand the laws of subletting your apartment and getting your landlord’s permission along the way is finding the right person to take over for you. 

Your best bet is to try offering the lease to someone you know and trust, but if that doesn’t work out, it’s important to do as much research as possible on the person you’re recommending to your landlord. 

While you may have to offer to sublet at a discount compared to the full price of your rent, it might be tempting to charge more money if you live in a high-demand area. Before you try turning your apartment into a secondary source of income, double-check the laws if you live in a rent-controlled city, because you could be breaking a few.