Skip to main content

Subletting

What is subletting?

Subletting involves renting out your place to another person for a portion of your lease, so someone is living in your place and paying rent while you are away.

You are the tenant, and the person who rents your unit from you is called a subtenant or sublessee. The subtenant agrees to live in your place, pay your rent, and respect the requirements of the rental agreement between you and your landlord.

 

What are the legal requirements of subletting?

In a subtenancy, the contractual relationship is between the subtenant and the tenant (yourself). As the tenant, you are fulfilling both the role of a tenant and a “sublandlord”.

 

  • You are still the primary tenant, so you remain the party responsible to your landlord even once you have temporarily vacated while subletting out your place. This includes being responsible for the subtenant’s actions should s/he not respect the rental agreement, including damages and non-payment of rent or other bills owed.

 

  • You are also responsible for being an intermediary between your landlord and your subtenant, as they are not liable to each other for breaches of the tenancy agreement or of the RTA. You must negotiate between two relationships: subtenant–“sublandlord” (yourself), and landlord–tenant (also you!). Learn more about what this means.

 

If your subtenancy is valid under the Residential Tenancies Act, both you and your subtenant are able to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for resolution of issues such as non-payment of rent, damages, violation of lease terms and more.

In order for a subtenancy to be valid under the Residential Tenancies Act, you as the tenant must:

  1. Vacate the rental unit

  2. Give one or more persons the right to occupy the rental unit for period of time less than your lease (meaning you intend to resume living in the unit before the lease expires)  

  3. You have obtained consent from your landlord to sublet both a) generally and b) to a specific subtenant.

     

What do I need to know about subletting out my place?

When can’t I sublet?

You cannot sublet your place if you live in subsidized housing, a superintendent's unit, or housing provided by a school where you work or are a student (such as Ryerson residence).

The RTA covers sublets in which you as the original tenant plans to return and reside in the unit before the lease expires, which indicates that there must be an agreement between the landlord and yourself as the tenant for a specific term. Therefore there cannot be a sublet for a month-to-month tenancy, but you can theoretically create a subtenancy for one month less one day.

If you do not intend to return after your subtenant moves in, this is considered a lease assignment or lease takeover which is entirely different than a subtenancy.

If you are not moving out but allow another person to live in the rental unit with you, this is not considered a sublet. Rather, the new person is considered an occupant of your rental unit who is able to live at the rental unit at your invitation. If this new person is not added to the lease, s/he is considered an occupant. Occupants a) must vacate the premises at the same time as the tenant to avoid being considered an unauthorized occupant which can lead to eviction, and b) are technically unable to sublet without written consent from the master tenant and the landlord.

TIP: We encourage you to add new people to the lease to avoid issues arising between yourself, the new occupant, and the landlord. This will certify the new person’s status as “tenant” in which they have all the rights and protections that you have under your lease and the RTA.

Subletting requires permission from your landlord

You must first ask your landlord for permission to sublet. Put your request in writing and get the response in writing (email is best).

Landlords cannot unreasonably refuse your request to sublet your place but can refuse to sublet to a specific tenant based on relevant and non-discriminatory criteria (such as failing to pass a credit or background check).

As the tenant, if you sublet or assign your unit to another person without first getting consent from the landlord, it is considered an unauthorized assignment or sublet. When this happens, a landlord can file an application with the Board within 60 days to evict both the tenant (yourself) and the unauthorized occupant (your subtenant).

Note: A person who is not listed on the lease technically cannot sublet, unless s/he receives written consent from the master tenant and the landlord.

If your landlord says no to your request to sublet, does not respond to your request, rejects your proposed subtenants for discriminatory reasons (age, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) rather than a valid reason (e.g. failing a credit or background check), or charges you a sublet fee that is more than your landlord had to spend on things like advertising and credit checks, you can apply to the Landlord & Tenant Board for assistance with forcing the sublet approval or ending your lease.

 

How much can I charge for rent?

When subletting, you cannot charge the sublessee more than what your rent is (what you owe for rent). If you owe $1,200/month, that is the most you are also allowed to charge your subtenant. You can charge your subtenant less than what you owe, but you will have to make up the difference so your landlord receives the amount of rent specified in the rental agreement.

You may ask for last month’s rent as a deposit.

 

When subletting your place, you are still the party responsible to your landlord

When you are subletting your place, you are both a tenant and a “sublandlord”. Your landlord has no contractual relationship with your subtenant. You are responsible for your subtenant’s actions should s/he not respect the rental agreement–this includes damages and non-payment of rent!

As the tenant, you are still responsible for fulfilling the terms of the rental agreement with your landlord. This includes ensuring the landlord receives the rent payment on time and in full when it is owed.

If your subtenant has issues with the landlord or the rental unit, the subtenant must turn to you for resolution. You must work to resolve their issues on behalf of your subtenant; this could include coordinating repairs or requesting help from your landlord.

If a subtenant fails to fulfil their end of the tenancy agreement (such as not paying rent), your landlord will turn to you to resolve the situation (for example, you may need to cover the rent that is owed) and you will then have to take action against your subtenant.

 

How do I find the right subtenant?
  • Talk it over with your roommates.

    • If you’re planning on having a stranger move in to your shared apartment, have a conversation about it first!

  • Get to know your potential subtenant before agreeing to the subtenancy

    • It is crucial that you are able to trust your subtenant as you are ultimately responsible for their actions during their stay.

    • Interview them and make sure you feel confident before saying yes

    • Use our Roommate Compatibility Checklist to get a sense of their lifestyle

    • Get references of former landlords and/or employers and follow up on them! You want to ask questions that will help you determine if this tenant will be responsible and pay their rent on time and in full.

  • Communicate openly and often

    • You should have multiple ways to contact each other

    • If you’re going to be away for the summer, have a back-up person the tenant can check in with

    • Plan to have weekly / monthly check ins

  • Sign a sublease agreement!

What’s a sublease agreement? Should I sign one?

YES! In Ontario, there is no “official” sublease document but you should absolutely sign one in order to clearly establish and agree upon payment amounts and due dates, dates for moving in and out and other expectations.  

To make things easier for you, we’ve designed a step-by-step sublease guide complete with instructions, a sample agreement, and a template you can use to create your own sublease agreement.

TIP: If you are offering a monthly subtenant, you can collect last month’s rent as a deposit as long as you make a record of this and give your subtenant a rent receipt so you do not charge them twice for rent. You can also ask for post-dated cheques (note however that the subtenant does not have to pay you this way; they only owe you rent in full on the date agreed upon in the sublease).

 

How do I get my sublet rented?

Toronto is saturated with sublets in the summer, so you need to stand out!

Post your ad on Places4Students

  • Be transparent about the cost up front.
  • Sell your reader on the benefits of living in your unit
  • Use high quality photos of your actual apartment
  • Offer incentives to sweeten the deal! See below for ideas.
Bright Idea

Pay your subtenant’s utilities, internet, etc.

  • Not having to worry about extra costs like utilities can go a long way in securing a subtenant. If you’re willing to cover even a portion of those bills (for example, up to $50 of hydro expenses each month)
Bright Idea

Drop the sublet rent beneath market prices

  • The lower the sublet rental rate, the faster the unit will rent. Just remember that you will need to make up the difference so your landlord is paid the full about s/he is owed.

Offer a free month’s rent

  • If you’re really struggling to get your place subletted, offer a half-price or free month. Offer the final month as free to ensure the subtenant fulfills the terms of the sublease agreement.

Make sure your place is furnished

  • People looking for short-term accommodations aren’t looking to buy furniture or permanent household items (think hangers, cookware, dishes). Prepare for your place for them to move in and start living! Bonus if you leave a few rolls of toilet paper.

Be flexible and avoid fixed terms

  • It’s easier to sublet your place to one person for the full time you’re away, but some months subletted are better than no months at all. Consider offering month-to-month leases to appeal to a wider group of potential tenants.

Don’t miss the sublet season window – advertise early.

  • If you haven’t already, register with Places4Students.com and post a sublet listing for free.

If you’re looking for a place to live over the summer, you’re in luck!

 

Ryerson offers full-summer accommodations on-campus:  
 

 

If you’re looking for a partial-summer accommodation, consider subletting from one of your Ryerson peers.

 

How to find the perfect sublet

  1. Determine your needs to help narrow down your search

    • What’s your maximum budget?

    • Would you prefer furnished or unfurnished?

    • Walking distance to your work destination or close to a transit line?

    • With roommates or in your own place?

  2. Search on Places4Students!

    • Collect all the info you can when you find an ad you like

    • Ask for photos, pricing details, info on current tenants and who would be living there over the summer months (i.e., your potential summer housemates)

  3. Do a viewing.

    • Arranging a visit offers the chance to see the apartment and meet your potential summer housemates so you have a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

  4. Check out the surrounding neighbourhood in the day and night.

    • What’s around? What local amenities are nearby?

  5. After choosing an apartment…

    • Make sure the original tenant has their landlord’s consent to sublet, before moving in. Get the landlord’s contact information and communicate with them prior to committing to move in. Keep this information in case of emergencies.

    • Agree on the terms of the sublease with the tenant. This includes: the duration of your subtenancy, the amount of rent you will pay and any other fees you can anticipate being responsible for, any need-to-knows about the unit or your new roommates.

    • Sign a sublease agreement with the tenant! This is a way to protect yourself as the temporary tenant of the unit.

  6. Prior to moving in

    • Do a once-over to make sure the apartment is clean, with room for your belongings in drawers and closets… and the fridge.  

    • Exchange contact information with the tenant and create a plan for checking in throughout your stay. If you encounter any problems, you need to be able to get a hold of him or her.

  7. On move-in day…

    • Take photos of the room and house in its original conditions and email it to the tenant (and landlord). This way, at the end of your stay you’ll have evidence to document any previous damage as having been there before you arrived.