If you’re like most rental property owners in Portland, you carefully screen and pick your tenants. However, some renters may attempt to offset their rent payments by subletting to another party — with or without your consent. When a renter has a long-term lease but will be away from home for an extended period of time, subletting is common. Instead of breaking the lease, they may find that subletting is a preferable option.

When a tenant decides to rent out a bedroom or other section of the house while still living there, this is known as subletting. Although your tenant may not perceive any issues with this arrangement, is allowing your tenant to sublet a wise option for you as a property owner? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of tenant sublets.

Who is Responsible?

There are two types of subletting: legal sublets, in which the landlord has given the tenant permission to rent all or part of the property to another tenant, and illegal sublets, in which the tenant does not have authorization. The original tenant is still responsible for adhering to the lease terms and paying the total rent in any subletting situation. This is true even in the context of lawful subletting. Even in the best of conditions, subletting necessitates placing a lot of faith in your original tenant to keep their subletting tenant in line.

Reasons to Say No

Allowing or prohibiting subletting is nearly completely at the discretion of the Portland property management or landlord. There are a few exceptions in which homeowners’ organizations or other rules prohibit subletting. If subletting would constitute a violation of such agreements, that may be the only basis to ban your tenant from subletting your rental property.

Another reason not to allow subletting is that you won’t be able to collect rent from the subletting tenant if your original tenant is gone. Instead, you’d have to track down and ask your original tenant for payment, which may be a time-consuming and challenging task. It’s crucial not to accept payment from a subletting tenant if the sublet is illegal. Accepting money from a tenant, even if it is illegal, may give that tenant rights to the property that can only be terminated through eviction.

Reasons to Say Yes

On the other hand, some property owners may permit subletting in order to maintain occupancy, particularly if a tenant is absent for several months or longer. Maintaining a positive connection with your tenant is beneficial, and allowing them to make arrangements that work for them is another incentive to say yes. Allowing your tenant to sublease might help you minimize vacancies and turnover costs as long as the rent is paid on time.

Subletting Agreements

It is critical to have a well-defined subletting agreement in any subletting situation that outlines your expectations and your tenant’s responsibilities. In fact, whether you allow subletting or not, your lease should include a section that states what is permitted and under what conditions.

If you decide to allow subletting, make sure to screen the subletting tenant as thoroughly as you would any other tenant before issuing your permission. Create a sublease agreement that describes the terms and circumstances of the subletting arrangement, and have all parties sign it. Should any problems emerge, this could give further protection for you and your property.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.