Subletting can be an ideal option for those who are travelling, studying or simply looking for a short-term living commitment. In hot rental and real estate markets like Toronto, it’s not uncommon for individual landlords (rather than rental-purpose management companies) to rent out their condo units for a fixed period of time. In these instances, it is important to establish a clear protocol for what is expected of you as a subletter and what is expected of your landlord. The best way to do this is to establish a clear line of communication at the onset of the contract. In doing so, both parties will help mitigate unwanted headaches down the road.
When it comes to subletting a Toronto condo, here are a few areas that you need to consider before signing on the dotted line.
What do rent payments include?
The landlord decides the amount you pay in rent. Have a detailed discussion of what it entails; for instance, who will cover utilities? What about condo fees? Typically a subletter pays a flat rate to the landlord to cover all expenses, but this should be clarified initially to avoid confusion during the term of the sublet.
Related Read: Rent to Own – What You Need to Know
Is it a sublet-friendly building?
Some buildings do not allow owners to sublet their units. Your landlord should ensure that he or she has full permission to sublet the unit. The last thing you want is to run into a maintenance issue and not be able to communicate it with property management. Boarding against building rules can also make for awkward hallway conversation with your neighbours, if they’re not aware that you are subletting the condo. If your landlord tells you to pretend to be a ‘friend,’ this should be a red flag that you may not have permission to sublet the unit.
Most rental agreements will stipulate how much notice you must give if you need to break the lease. You will likely also encounter this stipulation with a sublet agreement. Be sure to have a clear understanding of the notice period, and notify your landlord immediately if you need to break the lease early due to unforeseen circumstances.
How to take action
If you feel that your landlord is not observing your renters’ rights, take action. First, learn the rules that apply to landlords and tenants for your province. Then, make an effort to settle the dispute directly with your landlord to avoid a potentially lengthy legal battle. If he or she refuses to cooperate, escalate the issue to the Landlord and Tenant Board as a last resort to help settle your dispute.
In a sublet situation, both tenant and landlord should do their research and know their rights. As a tenant, you should only sublet if you feel confident your landlord will act reasonably should issues arise during the term of the agreement. Clear communication before and during the term is the key to a healthy and happy landlord-tenant relationship in which both parties’ needs are met.