The Advertiser - Real Estate

I’m renting – can I sublet one of the bedrooms?

REISA Legislatio­n and Policy Adviser Paul Edwards takes a look at subletting ...


The short answer is yes, you can. The long answer is yes, you can – but you have to follow the rules set out in the tenancies legislatio­n. This scenario is quite common and is called subletting. This happens when you want to rent a room to another person. It is not a rash decision to make because the important thing to remember is that in this arrangemen­t, you become the head tenant and effectivel­y the landlord to your subtenant.

First of all, you must think about the situation carefully. You will be a landlord. You will need to collect the rent, make sure the subtenant complies with their responsibi­lities under the lease and ensure they do not cause any damage to the property. The last point is crucial as you – as the head tenant – will be responsibl­e to your landlord for any damage that your subtenant causes. Sure, you can then claim against your subtenant, but this can be a lot of hassle.

If you have made up your mind to go ahead with the subtenancy, then you must get written permission from your landlord.

Put your request in an email, be polite and respectful, say what you have in mind and ask for the landlord’s support in considerin­g any suitable applicatio­ns. Don’t do what one tenant told me that they did and tell the landlord: “Well, if you say no, I will move them in anyway”.

The good news in this situation is that your landlord cannot unreasonab­ly refuse your request to sublet the property. They must have a good reason for saying no.

The bad news however, is that they can consider all the applicatio­ns for a subtenancy in exactly the same manner as they considered yours in the very beginning.

But be patient and let the landlord and property manager do their job – never forget that it is still the landlord’s property and so they do have a right to be involved in the process.

The big question I always get asked from tenants is: “What if I just move them in anyway and don’t get permission from the landlord?”

The big answer back is that you have breached your lease agreement and the landlord can terminate the lease within 21 days of becoming aware that you have sublet the property.

Communicat­ion is the key to wanting to sublet the property – just ensure you keep the landlord and property manager informed about the steps you are taking and get their approval before signing anything with your subtenant.

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