Definition of "Sublease"

Christine Rollins real estate agent
Christine Rollins, Real Estate Agent Triad Realty

If you came here looking for the Sublease definition, chances are that you know what it means, but you need more information about it, with scenarios and facts to better grasp it. That’s why we’re here!

The obvious and stiff sublease definition is that of a lease agreement between the lessee of an original lease, and a new lessee. For example: John signs a lease for an apartment with its owner Brian that allows John to sublease it to another person if desired. John unexpectedly is offered a position in Europe and, whether out of fear of not liking it and deciding to get back or because his bilateral contract with Brian would require him to pay off a large early termination fee he is not willing to pay – John decides to sublease the apartment for the remaining term of the original lease to a friend called Regina.

The thing is: the sublease represents the agreement between John and Regina. Brian, the original lessor, is *not* a party to the sublease. Any dispute between owner Brian and lessee John typically cannot be passed on to lessee Regina, just like any dispute between Regina and John cannot be passed on to its owner Brian. Because of that confusion and lack of accountability, most renters frown upon and do not accept any subleases to their properties.

A sublease is not illegal. Actually; it’s not a matter of being legal or illegal – it’s up to whoever is the real estate owner to tell them how their home is to be used. However, because of shared responsibilities, there are some cases where, even if the homeowner is fine with a sublease, he or she might not go forward with the idea because the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) does not permit subleasing – typically over claims that the lack of accountability and control that subleases provide produces instability, lack of safety, and, ultimately, devalues the properties within the Homeowner’s Association.

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