Apartment tenants who wish to move before their lease expires may want to transfer their rental to another person. Whether this is possible, however, depends on the terms of the existing lease as well as the amenability of the landlord. If a transfer is permitted, you, as the tenant, should proceed with caution. You may still be liable for the apartment should the new tenant damage the unit, fail to pay rent or otherwise violate rental-agreement terms. Even if your lease allows transfers, landlords aren't obligated to allow a new tenant to move in if they don't meet standard eligibility requirements.
Read More: Questions to Ask When Subletting
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Even if a lease transfer is permitted, tenants should still proceed with caution.
Identify Your Lease Obligations
Identify your responsibilities under the current lease with respect to sublets and assignments. A sublet is when you let a third party use the rent and you effectively act as their landlord, collecting rent and overseeing the care of the unit. An assignment is when you transfer your lease rights to a new tenant and the new tenant makes payments directly to the landlord. Many residential leases prohibit sublets and assignments altogether. If transferring the apartment is allowed, the landlord usually must first approve the new tenant.
Basic Letter Outline
It is not necessary to type your letter or put it on letterhead, however, it must be easy to read and clear in purpose. Organize your request in a logical order to convince your landlord that he should permit a sublettor or assignee. Include your circumstances that require a transfer of apartment, details about the proposed new tenant, and contact information for both you and the proposed sublettor or assignee.
Use Persuasive Details
Persuade your landlord to cooperate with your apartment transfer request by stating your need and the benefits of a new tenant. For example, job loss, disability or illness may mean you are on the road to financial troubles and a tenant with strong credit, stable employment and sufficient income may prevent rental vacancy and save the landlord the hassle of finding new tenants. Briefly, but in detail, explain your circumstances, describe the tenant's willingness and ability to move in quickly and with minimal fuss. If you don't have a tenant, explain why you haven't found one and that you would like him to seek one on your behalf.
Paperwork to Transfer Your Apartment
If you have a qualified tenant and your landlord is open to allowing a transfer, then include the necessary legal paperwork to transfer your apartment. Find a boilerplate form for rental assignments or subleases on the internet. You can also modify one to suit your specific situation. Including this paperwork may help your landlord by reducing his workload in transferring the apartment.
Identify the Risks Involved
Review the portion of your lease that discusses sublets and assignments to determine how to proceed with the letter and whether to sublet or assign the apartment. Also, consult an attorney or a local tenant advocate to determine the risks and responsibilities you may face as a result of the transfer.
- BizJournals.com: Knowing the Difference Between Assigned Lease, Sublease
- Nolo: Can I Transfer My Lease to a New Tenant?
- Lawyers.com: Subleasing and Assignment of Leases
- Legal Beagle: California Sublet Laws: Rules for Tenants & Subtenants
- Legal Beagle: Questions to Ask When Subletting
- Legal Beagle: How to Assume or Take Over a Lease
- Legal Beagle: The Definition of Assignment & Assumption Agreement
Kimberly Best has been writing on law, art, and travel for 16 years. She has worked with a variety of professional platforms including the Art Newspaper and the New York Public Radio.