Area of Law: Landlord and Tenant
Answer # 434
Subletting or assigning a leaseRegion: Ontario Answer # 434
A tenant with a lease is responsible for paying the rent up-to the end of the lease. Tenants who want to move out before the end of the lease, normally have the option to sublet or assign their unit, which means the new tenant will be responsible to pay rent for the remaining months of the lease.
If the tenant only wants to move out temporarily they can arrange to sublet their unit. Subletting occurs when a tenant rents out their unit to another person, called a subtenant, for a period that is less than the length of the lease. If a tenant rents on a month-to-month basis, they can only sublet the unit for less than one month and not for any longer period, or the tenant and the subtenant may lose their rights to the unit. With a sublet, the original tenant is responsible for all the terms under the lease and must collect the rent from the subtenant, and ensure it is paid to the landlord.
If a tenant wants to sublet their unit, they require the landlord’s written approval. Landlords are not allowed to unreasonably refuse a request for a sublet. This means that if a landlord decides to refuse a subtenant, he or she must have a good reason for doing so. Further, if the landlord refuses to allow the tenant to sublet the unit, or does not reply to the request within seven days, the tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to determine if the sublease should be allowed.
Assigning a lease: transferring it to someone new
If a tenant wants to move out before the lease expires and does not plan to return, he or she can assign the lease to another person, who will then become the tenant. Assigning a lease transfers all the tenant’s rights and obligations to another person. The new tenant, called the assignee, will be required to pay the same rent that the original tenant was paying, and the terms of the original lease will apply.
If a tenant wants to assign a lease, he or she is first required to make a written request for the landlord’s approval. As with a sublet, the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent to an assignment. If the landlord refuses or does not reply within seven days of the tenant’s request, the tenant has two choices: end the lease or apply to the Board to approve the assignment. If the tenants want to end the lease, they have 30 days from the day the assignment request was made to give notice to the landlord. The notice must be 30 days before the tenant will move, which is normally the last day of the month.
Subletting or assigning a lease without the landlord’s permission
If a tenant sublets or assigns their unit 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 to evict both the tenant and the unauthorized occupant. However, if the landlord fails to file the application within 60 days of discovering the unauthorized occupant, the unauthorized occupant will become a tenant.
To apply to the Board to have a sublet or assignment approved, tenants must submit the appropriate form together with a small application fee. A copy of these forms must then be delivered to the landlord. To obtain forms or for additional information on sublets and assignments, visit the Landlord and Tenant Board website.
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