Real Estate

Subletting An Apartment: Is It Necessary To Draw Up A Lease Contract?

Because of the housing crisis, subletting is becoming more and more common. It is also a practical solution for the subletter and a profitable practice for the tenant. Subletting is legal. In addition, traditional residential leases do not apply to subletting. Therefore, there is a contract specifically designed for this type of lease. It is essential to know when the contract is needed.

What is subletting?


Subletting is the practice of making a portion of a rented unit available to another tenant for a monthly rent. If a tenant provides free housing to family members or friends, it is not subletting. However, if the tenant leaves the apartment without breaking the contract and leaves it entirely to the guests, this is also called subletting.

Is subletting illegal?

The subletting clause is usually mentioned in a rental contract. It usually refers to the law of July 6, 1989, which stipulates that subletting a part of the whole house, whether empty or furnished, is illegal, at least without a written agreement from the landlord.

The landlord is free to decide whether or not to allow subletting. Thus, in case of refusal, they do not have to justify themself. On the other hand, the agreement will be in writing if they give their consent. In fact, a tenant can exceptionally sublet a house if the landlord authorizes it. Indeed, if a tenant rents a part of their house without the owner’s agreement, the latter can sanction him (termination of the lease without notice, payment of damages).

What are the conditions to sublet a house?

The owner’s agreement is not enough to sublet a house. Indeed, there are many conditions to be fulfilled and administrative steps to be respected so that the subletting is done according to the regulations in force.

The declaration to the town hall

In some regions, mainly in regions with high tourist potential, subletting must be declared to the town hall. This also obliges the subletter to pay tourist taxes.

The definition of the duration of the rental


Subletting is a seasonal rental. It is forbidden to sublet a house for more than 4 months per year in some municipalities. It is essential to respect this period to avoid sanctions.

What documents are required for a sublet?


Although subletting is not a traditional rental, it must respect specific rules. Thus, in addition to the landlord’s written consent, a specific lease agreement is also required. It must contain information about the characteristics of the house to be sublet and the general terms of the contract.

  • The rent
  • The duration of the contract (start and end date of the lease)
  • The dates of rent payments
  • The characteristics of the house: number and size of rooms, equipment, furniture, etc.
  • The security deposit: 1 or 2 months’ rent depending on the type of room (furnished or unfurnished)

In addition to this contract, other documents such as the written authorization of the landlord and a copy of the lease contract of the main tenant must be provided.

What else should the subtenant consider?

Subtenants are required to take care of the property. Moreover, an inventory of fixtures is carried out before the beginning and at the end of the contract.

Furthermore, the main tenant is fully responsible for the sub-tenants, especially in case of damage. Both parties (main tenant and subtenants) must take out specific insurance policies to facilitate the process.

Finally, if the primary tenant wishes to terminate the contract, the subtenants have no rights to the house. In this case, they must leave the property without notice.

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