When we think of subleases, a certain I Love Lucy episode comes to mind. In it, the Ricardos decide to sublease their apartment, only for the plan to backfire when their trip is cancelled, resulting in them living with other residents.
While this is a hilarious episode that shouldn’t be missed, when such a situation occurs in real life, it’s no laughing matter. Subleases are serious agreements that demand plenty of planning and proactivity. If you’re not careful, you could create problems for yourself or even for the subletter that would otherwise be perfectly avoidable.
Today, let’s highlight what you need to know about subletting your unit.
Do You Have the Landlord’s Consent?
Your landlord may not be comfortable letting a stranger take over your unit, even temporarily, when the expectation in the rental agreement is that you would be living there. If you have the landlord’s consent, you can sublet the unit.
Your landlord may suggest alternative solutions or, if you don’t look after your unit or pay your rent on time already, outright refuse. If you sublease without consent, the landlord can apply to terminate the tenancy within 60 days of first discovering the arrangement.
You Must Obey the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act
The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act stipulates that you can’t charge a subletter more than the rent that you pay. Not only that, but you can’t request additional fees in exchange for them assuming the lease. We highly recommend going over the Act with your landlord to ensure everything planned is compliant, just to be safe.
Tenant Insurance Does Not Protect the Subletter
The individual renting the unit in your stead is not covered by your own policy. This means that, in order to have active contents insurance, liability, and living expense protection, they must obtain their own tenant insurance before moving in.
In addition, and yet another reason to thoroughly screen and vet subletters, certain risks are not covered by your own tenant insurance. These include situations where a subletter steals your identity.
The Best Subleases are Grounded by Rules
How long will you be away, and is it guaranteed that you’ll be back on the given date? What about the number of individuals staying – is the unit more suitable for a single subletter rather than a larger household? And then, there are your plans if this is a temporary arrangement – do you have a backup solution in case your travel or other plans fall through, resulting in you needing to reassume the lease? Also, how are you and the landlord going to stay in touch with each other and the subletter, and when? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself, and your answers should inform the rules to be set by yourself and the landlord for the sublease if they permit you to proceed with it.
Set the Subletter Up for Success
The individual(s) subletting your unit will be in a new environment and possibly feel slightly out of their element. Therefore, to ensure the arrangement is stress-free and successful for everyone, prepare accordingly for their arrival.
How does one go about doing this? Having a clean and comfortable environment is important. In addition, ensure that the subletter has access to emergency evacuation routes, the garbage and recycling pickup schedule, laundry room rules, insights into how specific features and amenities in the unit and building work (like the elevator or secure entry doors).
Subleases can be convenient and easy to manage when carried out properly. For further insights or advice on how to sublet a unit, feel free to reach out to us at Rent in Ottawa Property Management today. We’re happy to help!