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Subletting: what you need to know

John Stanley


With rental prices remaining high in most of Australia’s capital cities, the temptation to sublet is one that is creeping into the minds of more and more tenants- especially with services such as AirBnB gaining more and more attention.

So what potential problems can subletting present to landlords? And what can they do about it? Carolyn Parrella from Terri Scheer, Australia’s leading landlord insurance specialist, joined Steve Price to explain.


Why sublet in the first place?

Subletting refers to the practice where a tenant privately organises for someone to pay for use of the home they themselves are renting. Typically a tenant may tend toward subletting if they are in a position where they aren’t getting full value out of the rent they are paying: basically any time a room is unoccupied, such as a trip away.


You can always ask (but make sure you do)

For tenants, it’s important to know that you have a right to ask your landlord for written permission in the event you want to sublet. Of course, it’s important that this as open and honest as possible with no details withheld. If this kind of permission is not sought, most of the time subletting will be in breach of the terms of the lease.


Troubles with subletting

In the end, a lease is an agreement between the landlord and the tenant. Even if it’s Sven the sublet Swedish backpacker that causes the damages to the property or disappears without shilling out the rent, the responsibility falls to the tenant.

Disputes are usually dealt with by the relevant tribunals that handle matters between landlords and tenants. If you are set for a hearing, it’s important that you bring as much information to the table as possible. The usual outcome is some kind of payment over time plan for the reparations.

It’s also worth noting this info easily and directly to regular leases, but things might get trickier under a periodic lease. For more on this, have a listen to all of Carolyn’s chat with Steve in the player above.

Download this podcast here

John Stanley