Am I responsible under a lease if rental mangement let a subleaser move into my apartment without getting them to sign sublease agreement?

UPDATED: May 21, 2012

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Am I responsible under a lease if rental mangement let a subleaser move into my apartment without getting them to sign sublease agreement?

An email with the prepared sublease agreement (my name and the subleaser’s name) was emailed to myself and the subleaser. I was told that it needed to be signed by a certai date, which I did, I then the state for a new for a job. Later that week, I even contacted the property mangement to confirm that the subleaser came in to sign the document. I was told over the phone that he did. I was later contacted to destroy my parking pass so that he could be issued one. Now, over 2 months later I was contacted that the subleaser left and had never signed the agreement. Am I am responsible for the rent?

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are responsible for the rent--and you would have been responsible even if the sublessee had signed the agreement. That is because on a sublease, as opposed to an assignment of a lease, the sublessee does NOT take over your lease and you are not released from the lease; rather, the sublessee leases (subleases) from you, and you are the sublessee's landlord while remaining the main landlord's tenant. You are still obligated to the landlord as per the terms of your lease; so you pay the landlord, while the sublessee pays you. (That's from a legal point of view; as a practical matter, it could be arranged that the sublessee's payments go directly to the landlord, bypassing you, but legally it is that you still owe the landlord and the sublessee owes you.)

You would have a claim against the sublessee for the rent for the time he or she was there, if it has not already been paid; and likely for another 30 days of rent at least, since even with no in-force written lease, a tenant or subtenant must give 30 days notice terminating his or her tenancy. You could potentially sue the sublessee for these amounts.

If you are not actually inquiring about a sublease situation, where you remained on the lease and the subtenant leased from you, you should re-post your question with additional detail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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