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Quick Facts
  • A tenant can assign or sublet the residential premises as long as they have written permission from the landlord.
  • A landlord cannot withhold consent to sublet or assign in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner.
  • It is highly recommended that sublet agreements, like all rental agreements, be made in writing.
What You Need to Know

Under the Residential Tenancies Act tenants have the right to assign or sublet the residential premises as long as they have written permission from the landlord. A landlord cannot withhold consent in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner.

 

Assignment

With assignment the tenant is just having someone else “take over” their rental agreement. Assignment would be the recommended option when the tenant has signed a fixed-term rental agreement and wishes to move out of the rental unit permanently before the fixed-term is up. With assignment all the rights and responsibilities of the original tenant are transferred to the new tenant once they take over the rental agreement. The original tenant is only responsible for the rental unit and the payment of rent up until the new tenant takes over.

When a tenant wishes to assign the remainder of their rental agreement they would be responsible for finding a replacement. The new tenant would enter into a rental agreement directly with the actual landlord for at least the time remaining on the original rental agreement.

 

Subletting / Subleasing

Subletting, also known as subleasing, occurs when a tenant re-rents some or all of the rental property to someone else while still holding a rental agreement with the original landlord. The original tenant then assumes the position of landlord in relation to their subtenant. Subletting would be recommended when the tenant has signed a fixed-term rental agreement but wishes to move out of the rental unit temporarily and return later. The tenant would grant another person the right to live in the rental unit for a set period of time but would still be responsible for the condition of the rental unit and making sure rent is paid on time.

In this type of arrangement, the original tenant holds a dual role. To the landlord they are a tenant and have all the rights and obligations of a tenant. To their subtenant they are a landlord and have all the rights and obligations of a landlord with respect to their subtenant. Essentially the original tenant acts as a middleman between the landlord and the subtenant.

 

For greater clarification, when subletting, there are the following parties:

  • Landlord: This is the actual landlord of the property.
  • Tenant/sublandlord: This is the original tenant, that has a rental agreement with the landlord AND the subtenant.
  • Subtenant: This is the tenant that is renting the space from the original tenant/sublandlord.

 

When subletting it would be the sublandlord that would responsible for finding a suitable subtenant, and the rental agreement would be between the subtenant and the sublandlord rather than with the actual landlord. The subtenant would pay their rent to the sublandlord and would make any formal complaints or requests for repairs to the sublandlord. It would be the sublandlord’s responsibility, as a tenant of the actual landlord, to forward those complaints and requests on to the actual landlord of the property.

It is highly recommended that sublet agreements be made in writing. A Standard Rental Agreement can be used, a copy of which can be found in the “Files / Documents” section below.

A sublandlord cannot enter into a fixed-term sublet agreement that is longer than their original rental agreement with the actual landlord. A fixed-term sublet agreement can only be as long as the original rental agreement and after that time it would convert to a month-to-month agreement.

 

Important Note About Subletting

It’s very important for tenants to understand how subletting affects their rights and obligations before entering into such an agreement. Since the sublandlord is the person that has a rental agreement with the actual landlord it is the sublandlord that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the terms of the original rental agreement are carried out. It is also the sublandlord that is liable to the actual landlord for any unpaid rent or damages caused by the subtenant.

In a sublet arrangement if the subtenants do not pay their rent or they cause damage to the rental property, the sublandlord is still responsible for ensuring the full rent amount is paid on time to the actual landlord and is responsible for repairing any damage. The sublandlord would then need to follow-up with the subtenants to recoup any costs they incurred. In the event of a dispute the sublandlord can file an Application for Dispute Resolution with Service NL following the usual process. More information can be found in our Help Topic on Filing an Application with Service NL.

 

Landlord Consent

Assigning and subletting can only be done with the WRITTEN consent of the landlord. However, the Residential Tenancies Act states that a landlord should not arbitrarily or unreasonably deny consent to assign or sublet a residential premises.

When a landlord denies a tenant’s request to assign or sublet in a manner that would be considered arbitrary or unreasonable, the tenant can serve a notice of termination on the landlord as a result of the landlord’s breach of a material term of the rental agreement. More information can be found in our Help Topic about Termination Notices.

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Files / Documents
This is a Standard Rental Agreement that can be printed out, and filled in.
Resources
A fact sheet from Service NL that explains the basic obligations of landlords and tenants.
Legislation

Statutory conditions

10. (1) Notwithstanding an agreement, declaration, waiver or statement to the contrary, where the relationship of landlord and tenant exists, there shall be considered to be an agreement between the landlord and tenant that the following statutory conditions governing the residential premises apply:

1. Obligation of the Landlord -

(a) The Landlord shall maintain the residential premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation during the tenancy and shall comply with a law respecting health, safety or housing.

(b) Paragraph (a) applies regardless of whether, when the landlord and tenant entered into the rental agreement, the tenant had knowledge of a state of non-repair, unfitness for habitation or contravention of a law respecting health, safety or housing in the residential premises.

2. Obligation of the Tenant - The tenant shall keep the residential premises clean, and shall repair damage caused by a wilful or negligent act of the tenant or of a person whom the tenant permits on the residential premises.

3. Assigning or Subletting Residential Premises - The tenant may assign or sublet the residential premises subject to the written consent of the landlord, and the landlord shall not arbitrarily or unreasonably withhold consent and shall not levy a charge in excess of expenses actually incurred by the landlord in relation to giving consent.

4. Mitigation on Abandonment - Where the tenant abandons the residential premises, the landlord shall mitigate damages that may be caused by the abandonment to the extent that a party to a contract is required by law to mitigate damages.

5. Entry of Residential Premises - Except in the case of an emergency, the landlord shall not enter the residential premises without the consent of the tenant unless

(a) notice of termination of the rental agreement has been given and the entry is at a reasonable time for the purpose of showing the residential premises to a prospective tenant or purchaser and a reasonable effort has been made to give the tenant at least 4 hours' notice;

(b) the entry is made at a reasonable time and written notice of the time of the entry has been given to the tenant at least 24 hours in advance of the entry; or

(c) the tenant has abandoned the residential premises under section 31.

6. Entry Doors - Except by mutual consent, neither the landlord nor the tenant shall, during the use or occupancy of the residential premises by the tenant, alter a lock or locking system on a door that gives entry to the residential premises.

7. Peaceful Enjoyment and Reasonable Privacy -

(a) The tenant shall not unreasonably interfere with the rights and reasonable privacy of a landlord or other tenants in the residential premises, a common area or the property of which they form a part.

(b) The landlord shall not unreasonably interfere with the tenant's reasonable privacy and peaceful enjoyment of the residential premises, a common area or the property of which they form a part.

8. Disconnection of Services - A landlord or tenant shall not, without the written consent of the other party to the rental agreement, disconnect or cause to be disconnected heat, water or electric power services being provided to the residential premises.

(2) Where a landlord and tenant enter into a written rental agreement, the statutory conditions set out in subsection (1) shall be reproduced in the rental agreement without variation or modification.