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What is Subletting? A Guide to Subletting Laws by State

  • Subletting is a process where you rent out your leased apartment for a temporary period.
  • Subletting your apartment can save you money and provide you freedom, but bad tenants can get you evicted and leave you with costly repairs.
  • After getting approval and finding a sublessee, it’s essential to draft and sign a subleasing agreement.
  • Several states across the U.S. do not allow subleasing, or they have certain stipulations regarding the practice.
  • If you are considering subletting your apartment, you need to know the responsibilities of all parties involved.

In this guide, you'll learn:

  • What subletting (subleasing) is
  • How subletting works
  • Laws on subletting for each state

What is subletting?

Subletting is renting out an apartment, or any property, that has your name on the lease. Imagine having six months left on your 12-month lease, but you get a job opportunity too good to give up in another state. Subletting your place for the remaining six months would help you avoid hurting your rental history and paying the cost to break your lease.

You’ll become a sublessor and the person who decides to move in will be the sublessee. Just as you signed a leasing agreement, you will have to draft a subleasing agreement approved by your landlord and signed by your sublessee.

Subletting is the same as subleasing; the two words are interchangeable.

As long as your landlord, or state law, approves, anyone can sublet. People who find themselves stuck in a lease turn to subletting, even if that means they’re just moving down the street. The pros of subletting sum up to the freedom it provides renters while the cons depend on the type of tenant you get.



Save money by not breaking lease and you can earn extra cash

Bad tenants can get you evicted

Improves rent history

Tenant could try to take the apartment from you

Freedom to leave and keep your lease

May get stuck with costly repairs or deal with late/skipped payments

How does subletting work?

The steps to subletting are essentially the same no matter where you live, but the order of the steps may change depending on your state, and sometimes city’s, laws on subletting.

Get approval from your landlord

Check your lease to see if there’s already rules about subletting from your landlord. Depending on your reason for subletting, some landlords/property managers may allow it anyway. Regardless, ask your landlord for approval in writing. You may not need written approval depending on what state you live in, but it will protect you if you run into legal issues later on.

Find a sublessee

It’s important to find a sublessee you can trust to be honest and on time with payments. You’re taking on the role of a landlord when you sublet. Whether it’s a stranger, friend or family member, be sure to:

  • Ask about their rental history and credit score
  • Interview potential sublessees - would your landlord approve of them? Create a list of qualifiers or requirements you want a sublessee to meet (ex. Are they employed, do they have pets, etc.) 
  • Run a background check - your name is on the lease, you want to make sure your sublessee doesn’t get you evicted
  • Ask for a security deposit - if necessary, this a way to save yourself from paying for damages you didn’t make
  • Be clear about monthly costs and neighborhood rules if there are any (ex. some Home Owners Associations (HOAs) don’t allow loud noises after certain hours)

You might have to find a sublessee before asking your landlord about subletting. Some states require that your sublet approval request includes who the sublessee is.

Draft and sign a subleasing agreement

Your subleasing agreement needs to be as explicit as possible. Do not leave anything to be assumed or unclear. Detail who is responsible for what and how payments should be handled, i.e. check, wired, etc. If you prefer a ready-to-fill-out template or what to know more about what exactly you should include, read Subletting: Who's Responsible.

Subletting Laws by State

Some states call subletting a ‘transfer’ or ‘transfer of interest’, or they may refer to it as an ‘assignment’ as in a tenant ‘assigns’ their lease to another person(s).

The following states do not specifically address subletting in their state laws: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maryland*, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. If you live in one of these states, your lease determines if it is legal to sublet. Some leases will have clauses prohibiting subletting while others may require you to get written approval from your landlord first or having nothing at all. No matter the situation, we recommend getting written approval from your landlord before subletting. 


Alaska Statute 34 Sec. 34.03.060 states tenants cannot sublet without their landlord’s consent. Before asking for approval, you must find a prospective sublessee. An approval request to sublet in Alaska must include the prospective sublessee’s: 

  1. Name, age, and current address
  2. Martial status
  3. Job title, name of place of employment, and name and address of employer
  4. Who would reside with the prospective sublessee (e.g. children, spouse, pets)
  5. Two credit references (something to verify your credit ex. Credit card company, bank, credit report, utility company)
  6. Names and addresses of prospective sublessee’s previous landlords within the last three years

The landlord has 14 days to respond to a written approval request to sublet. If the landlord does not respond within 14 days, it is safe to assume consent is given. Landlords may deny approval requests to sublet but only for one of the following reasons:

  1. The prospective sublessee does not meet the credit requirements
  2. Potential number of people in household
  3. Potential number of people in household under 18
  4. Prospective sublessee is unwilling to agree to the same terms as the subletter
  5. Potential pets
  6. Potential commercial activity
  7. Previous landlord(s) of prospective sublessee does not recommend due to past issues

If the landlord’s denial does not include one of the above reasons, the tenant is allowed to sublet to the prospective sublessee included in their approval request.


Arizona’s revised statutes only explicitly state subletting in Title 33, Chapter 11, Section 33-1454 which declares tenants must receive written approval to sublet by their landlord. Unfortunately, Chapter 11 is for Mobile Home Parks. People renting other types of properties, like apartments or houses, should check their leasing agreement to see if their landlord allows subletting. If the lease does not explain whether subletting is allowed, ask your landlord.


According to Arkansas Attorney General, tenants need written approval from their landlord before subletting. In Arkansas, the landlord determines the amount the subletter will pay.


Subletting in California is popular due to the high costs of rent, but it’s also confusing. California Code, Civil Code - CIV § 1995.210-270 declares:

  • If your lease does not restrict subletting, it is safe to assume you can sublet
  • You cannot sublet if it is restricted by your lease; however, your landlord can allow you to sublet via written approval
  • Your landlord is entitled to some or all of the rent your sublessee pays if your lease restricts subletting but your landlord gives you written approval

San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley passed laws to protect renters in roommate/subletting situations. If you live in one of these cities, your landlord can neither deny you the right to nor evict you for replacing a roommate or subletting a room without their consent. 


According to the Colorado Landlord Tenant Handbook, tenants need written approval from their landlord to sublet. Some leases will detail whether subletting is allowed. If it’s not stated in the lease, you will still need written approval. 


Delaware code Title 25 - Chapter 55 Section 5508 states tenants can sublet their apartment as long as the lease does not prohibit it. The law does not require your landlord’s approval to sublet; however, we recommend that you at least notify the landlord that you’ll be subletting and who the sublessee(s) is. 


The Georgia Landlord Tenant Handbook states your lease determines whether you’re allowed to sublet or not. If your lease does not explicitly state whether you can sublet or not, contact your landlord for approval. 


Hawaii Statute Title 28 Chapter 521 Section 37 declares tenants can sublet their apartment without their landlords approval as long as their lease does not prohibit subletting. 


While the Idaho Attorney General’s Landlord and Tenant Manual states tenants can sublet if their lease does not prohibit it, it is not clear on whether tenants need approval from their landlord first. Because the law allows subletting, we recommend notifying your landlord that you will sublet and who the sublessee will be.


Tenants in Illinois may sublet their apartment if their lease allows it. According to the Illinois State Bar Association, most leases require tenants to get written approval by their landlord. While it is legal to sublet without the landlord’s approval if you’re lease does not prohibit it, we recommend notifying your landlord that you’re subletting and who the sublessee is - it’s the best way to make sure you’re legally protected in case anything happens.

Renters in Chicago living in a rental governed by the City of Chicago Rent Lease Tenant Ordinance are able to sublet once they find a sublessee that can meet the landlord’s requirement (background check, credit check, etc.). Chicago Municipal Code Chapter 5-12-120 requires landlords to approve sublet requests for reasonable sublessees without charging additional fees.


Iowa’s landlord tenant law gives tenants the right to sublet their rental if their lease does not prohibit subletting. 


According to Kansas Statute 58-2511, it is illegal for tenants to sublet a part or all of their rental without written consent from their landlord. The law doesn’t say how long landlords have to respond to sublet requests and on what grounds they can deny a request. In situations like this, we recommend using the same requirements your landlord used when you applied for the lease. It’s not a guarantee, but it gives you a better chance of getting approval if your sublessee is someone your landlord would give their own lease.


Tenants in Kentucky who sublet their rental without written consent from their landlord can get evicted. Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 383.180 states all the landlord has to do is give a 10-day notice to the tenant before recovering possession. To avoid losing your lease, send your landlord a written approval request to sublet.


Louisiana Civil Code 2713 states that it is legal to sublet in Louisiana as long as your lease does not forbid it. 

If you decide to sublet in Louisiana, keep Louisiana Revised Statute 9:3251 in mind which states that lessors (tenants) must transfer their original security deposit to their sublessee. Once the sublessee ends their sublease, they’re responsible for returning the security deposit back to the original tenant.


To put it simply, tenants in Maine can sublet even if their lease prohibits subletting. If a landlord wants to prohibit subletting, Maine Revised Statute Title 11 §2-1303 paragraph eight states that they must make that clear in the lease, but it can’t stop a tenant from subletting nor does it make the sublet ineffective. Landlords who aren’t in favor of the subletting situation can only do one of two things:

  1. Hold the tenant accountable for damages created by the sublessee
  2. Take the tenant to court


Maryland state law does not state whether residents can sublet without their landlord’s consent. Some landlords include a clause in their lease agreements that prohibit subletting, but others fail to address it in their leases. The People’s Law Library of Maryland, a website maintained by the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, claims tenants do not need their landlord’s consent to sublet if their lease does not prohibit subletting.


A Practical Guide for Tenants and Landlords by the Michigan Legislature states that it is legal for tenants to sublet without notifying or requesting approval from their landlord if their lease neither forbids nor allows subletting. Be sure to check your lease first as some landlords prohibit subletting in the lease agreement while others demand that you need their written consent first.


Tenants whose lease does not prohibit subletting can legally sublet according to the Minnesota Attorney General’s website. If your lease does not clarify your landlord’s stance on subletting, it’s safe to assume you do not need to notify or get approval from your landlord before subletting. Otherwise, tenants should refer to their lease which may prohibit or require approval to sublet.


It is legal for tenants in Missouri to sublet as long as they have their landlord’s approval first. Missouri’s Landlord-Tenant Law allows landlords to double rent if tenants sublet without their approval.


While it is legal to sublet in Montana, Montana Code Annotated (MCA) 70-24-305 requires tenants to get their landlord’s approval first. Failing to do so can result in the landlord taking the tenant to court for violating their lease agreement according to the Montana Tenants’ Rights & Duties Handbook.


In Nevada, your lease determines whether you can sublet or not. Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 40.2514 finds tenants who sublet when their lease prohibits it guilty of unlawful detainer and subject to eviction.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Lease Information Bulletin states tenants may be able to sublet if their lease doesn’t prohibit it, but doesn’t say if approval from the landlord is needed. 

New Mexico

Tenants in New Mexico need to get written approval from their landlord to sublet. According to chapter four of the New Mexico Legal Aid Renters’ Guide, state law only says that some leases prohibit subletting, and if so, to get written approval before subletting.

New York

New York Real Property (RPP) Law Article 7 Section 226-B states tenants have the right to sublease with their landlord’s written consent. To get consent, tenants must submit a request for approval containing:

  • The length of the sublet
  • The prospective sublessee’s name and address
  • Their reason for subletting
  • Their current address or address of apartment/home that will be sublet
  • Written consent of cotenants, if any
  • A copy of the sublease agreement

Landlords have 30 days from the date the request was sent to respond. If a landlord denies a request, they must include their reasons for denial in their response. Failure to respond within 30 days or with reasonable reasons for denying gives tenants the right to sublet and recover any attorney or court fees they may incur if the landlord takes them to court.


Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 90.555 declares tenants who want to sublet for more than three days need to have a written agreement between them, the sublessee and the landlord. The subleasing agreement needs to include a clause requiring the sublessee to pay rent directly to the landlord and a clause giving the sublessee the same rights. However, the law does not give tenants the right to sublet if their lease prohibits it.  

South Carolina

South Carolina Code of Law 27-35-60 forbids subletting without getting written approval from your landlord first.

South Dakota

South Dakota Codified Law 43-32-17 requires tenants to get their landlord’s approval before subletting.


Texas Property Code Sec. 91.005 states subletting is illegal if tenants do not have their landlords consent.


Virginia’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (§ 55.1-1200) gives landlords 10 business days, starting from the day they receive the request, to approve or deny a sublet approval request. By law, it is legal for tenants to assume consent is given if their landlord has not responded within 10 business days.