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Subletting or assigning a lease

There are situations where you have to either vacate the premises you rent before your lease runs out, or you are going to be away for a good amount of time and want someone to sublet your place for that time.

You are still responsible for rent during the time of the lease, which is often why people will sublet as they do not want to pay money for a place in which they no longer live.

If you are assigning a lease, it usually means someone else is taking over your lease.

The rules and regulations surrounding subletting and assignments of leases are governed by provincial and territorial statute. Each province and territory has their own rules, which may be similar to other provinces and territories but are not the same. You should consult the residential tenancy act of your province or territory to examine what the rules are surrounding subletting and the assigning of a lease.

Permission from the landlord

A tenant cannot sublease the premises without permission from the landlord.

The rules about these can vary from province to province but in general a landlord may not unreasonably refuse you from subletting the premises.

However, the landlord usually does have the right to assess a new sub-tenant based on the same criteria as you were assessed when becoming a tenant.

Generally, a landlord cannot charge you for subletting the premises nor can he or she refuse to let you look for a tenant.

Risks associated with subletting

When you are subletting a place which you are renting, you are usually still legally responsible for the premises. So if the person or people who sublet cause damage to the property you are still responsible for the damage to the landlord.

Also, the original tenant is responsible for ensuring that the sub-tenant is paying rent and paying it on time. Essentially the tenant who is subletting is now the tenant of the sub-tenant but the original tenant is still the one responsible to the original landlord.

Assignment of lease

An assignment is when the tenant’s whole interest for the term of the lease is conveyed to another tenant. A lease or tenancy agreement is made to convey this interest.

As part or all of the interest is usually conveyed, the person to whom the interest is transferred usually becomes the tenant of the landlord.

That means the assignee to whom the interest was conveyed takes on the obligations and responsibilities of the original tenant (if the full interest was conveyed), although only from the time the interest was conveyed to him or her. This is in contrast of a tenant sub-letting where he or she is still responsible for rent and any damage done to the premises.

It’s helpful to consult a lawyer if you are planning to sublet or assign your lease.

Read more:

Leaving Before the Lease Expires: Subletting CMHC

Landlord and Tenant Law Alberta