What is the difference between subletting and reletting an apartment?

Photo of Hunters Ridge at Deerwood

If you're a student heading home for the summer or if your company is transferring you to a new town, you may be looking to find someone else to move into your apartment. Subletting and reletting your apartment (or a room in your apartment) are two options to consider. So, what does it mean to either sublet or relet apartment? What is the difference between the two? How can you know which option is right for you?

What is Subletting?

Subletting (or subleasing) is a rental arrangement that occurs when you (a resident on the lease) rent a room or entire apartment to someone else. This new resident will pay rent and adhere to the lease's terms. However, as the original resident, you are responsible for the lease. If the person you're subletting your apartment to decides not to pay rent, you're liable for the back rent and the apartment community has the option to sue you.

As the original resident, you take responsibility for all of the subtenant's actions. If your subtenant decides to throw a party and completely trashes the apartment, it's on you.

Not all communities will allow a subleasing arrangement because of this, so check to see whether or not your apartment prohibits it before you try to sublet. If you sublet any portion of your apartment without permission in a community where subleasing is prohibited, you could be in breach of your original contract.

As the resident whose name is on the original lease, you are responsible for the actions of the person you're subletting your apartment toAs the resident whose name is on the original lease,
you are responsible for the actions of the person you're
subletting your apartment to.

What is Reletting?

If you decide to relet your apartment, the community will have the new resident sign a brand new lease. This releases you (the original resident) from your obligations as a resident of that apartment. A reletting rental arrangement is a new and distinct contractual relationship between the community and the person reletting your apartment.

Reletting is most beneficial if you need to terminate your original lease agreement. Regardless of the reason for breaking your lease, your community will take the steps necessary to find a new resident for your apartment as soon as possible. However, during this time, you will be responsible for paying rent until a new resident is found.

Which Rental Agreement is Best for You?

Deciding whether you should sublet or relet your apartment all boils down to your circumstances and the types of rental agreements your community allows. A good way to decide which rental agreement is right for you is to ask yourself one question: do you plan on returning to your apartment in the near future? If the answer is "yes", then subletting may be the right choice for you. If the answer is "no", and you need to break your lease because you have to move out of town permanently, then reletting your apartment is in your best interest.

Each rental agreement type has its disadvantages. If you sublet, you're responsible for any damage caused by the subtenant and will have to pay up if the person you're subletting to doesn't pay their rent. If you relet, you will have to pay rent (even after breaking your lease) until a new resident is found. While your community will most likely work diligently to find a suitable renter, you should bear this in mind. 

Next Steps

If you're leaving and you need someone to take over your apartment as soon as possible, contact your community for more information of which rental agreements they allow.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentJax.com or any of our advertising partners.