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Is a tenant allowed to sublet a space?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2021 | Real Estate Litigation

Sometimes, people rent spaces with the goal of making money off of doing so. They may feel that they can sublet parts of the space to bring in an income, saving them money on their rent.

For example, a renter who leases a three-bedroom property for $1,000 may decide to sublet two of the rooms for $550 each. They’ll essentially make money living in the home by subletting the space and remaining in the third bedroom.

This kind of setup can work well for some people, but it’s not always legal or agreeable to the landlord. If a tenant violates their lease, there is a possibility that the landlord may evict them and anyone else who is on the property.

Can tenants legally sublet a property in California?

Tenants cannot legally sublet a property in California if the lease prohibits it. However, if the lease prohibits assignment and not subletting, then subletting is legal. Putting it more simply, if a lease does not specifically prohibit subletting, then the tenant usually can sublet legally.

Tenants who want to sublet a space should review their leases to determine if it has been prohibited before renting out the space. Landlords have ultimate control over who lives in the rental if it has been prohibited, but there are some exceptions.

For example, if the landlord didn’t expressly prohibit subletting, then subletting should be allowed. Additionally, certain cities have provisions that allow some kinds of subletting to occur to make rentals more affordable. For instance, in San Francisco, it’s possible to have roommates legally added or replaced to make living within the city more affordable for everyone.

Landlords normally won’t deny a subtenant without good reason or unless they’ve already refused subletting and are backed by state law. They might refuse a subtenant who has poor credit, is a danger to others, doesn’t provide enough information or provides false information to them.

If a tenant wants to sublet, they should talk to their landlord first to verify that doing so is their right. If the landlord is agreeable with the sublet and the subtenant, then this will help prevent any future problems with the agreement.