How to Fill Out a Sublease Agreement

Introduction

Pursuant to your lease, you likely will be required to get the consent of your landlord if you intend to sublet your premises. Check your lease to see if you need the landlord's consent. Under Illinois law, a landlord must have a "good commercial" reason for refusing to let you sublet the premises. If you encounter a problem in getting your landlord to agree to let you sublease, contact a lawyer immediately.

Many leases contain provisions describing a specific procedure for a tenant to follow in subletting. Be sure to follow the procedure outlined so that the landlord cannot challenge your sublease arrangement later. Subletting fees charged by a landlord are enforceable so long as they are not so exorbitant as to be considered unconscionable or would constitute a penalty.

It is important to understand that in a sublease arrangement the original tenant remains liable for rent and other lease terms if the sublessee fails to perform on the sublease. An alternative to subletting is a practice in which the landlord agrees to delete one person's name from the lease in return for another person's name being added to the lease. In reality, this means the original lease is terminated and a new lease is entered into. The advantage to the departing roommate is that he/she no longer has an obligation under the lease. To be effective, all the original tenants would have to agree to this arrangement. If the fee charged by the landlord for executing a new lease is not too high, you would be wise to consider such an arrangement.

Instructions:

When reading these instructions, please refer to the sample sublease agreement. Notice that the sample agreement has capital letters down the left margin. These letters refer to the headings in the instructions.

A - Sublessor refers to the tenant currently in possession. Sublessee refers to the person wishing to sublet the premises. If there are multiple tenants leasing the premises, it is best, if possible, that all tenants become party to this agreement and sign it. Also, note that co-tenants cannot refuse to allow a roommate to sublease unless this has been agreed to in advance or circumstances dictate that this was intended by the parties.

B - Be sure to fill out the complete address of the premises. Also, the sublessor might be wise to ask for full rent payment in advance but this is negotiable between the parties. The amount of security deposit is also negotiable but most deposits are equivalent to one month's rent. The deposit must be returned within 45 days after termination of the sublease per the DeKalb City Ordinances unless the sublessee has committed damages to the apartment, failed to pay rent or has failed to pay other charges the sublessee is responsible for.

C - The sublessor should be aware that he will be responsible for any utilities which are in his name if the sublessee defaults on payment. Consequently, the sublessor should have the utility bills transferred to the sublessee's name on the day the sublease commences.

D - Any additional agreements not covered by either the printed sublease agreement or the original lease should be added in the space provided here. This includes upkeep of the premises, the sublessee's right to furniture left by the sublessor, the right of the sublessor to have access to the apartment to insure it is being kept up, and so on.

E - Sublessor and sublessee should go through the premises together and list any existing damages or conditions at the time the sublessee takes possession. Each party should keep a copy of the list. This will protect both parties as to the condition of the premises.

F - All parties to the agreement must sign. Also, other tenants should sign the agreement if possible. If the landlord's approval is required, be sure the landlord signs too.

For more extensive information about landlord and tenant law in general, see our Landlord/Tenant handbook or contact our office.