Monday, May 15, 2006



In Illinois landlords are required to allow subletting. You can set limits, but you have to let a tenant sublet. Here is what I recommend. If your tenant is just leaving for a few months and wants to sublet short term, let them do it. You have the right to know who the subletter is and to review the application. You may reject people that are not qualified. A good quality subletter is really in the best interest of everyone. The legal definition of a sublet is that the original tenant is still responsible for the apartment and for the actions of the subletter. For example, if the subletter does not pay rent the original tenant is responsible for paying whether they live there or not. You have the right to go after either party for your money. You also get to hold the original tenants security deposit until the lease ends. In reality though you may not have contact information for the original tenant and it is hard to collect money from someone out of state.
If your tenant wants to leave town before the end of the lease I suggest you make alternative arrangements, not a sublet. Here are some choices: you can let them buy out the lease at market rent or less then market if you think it will be easy to re-rent the apartment. You could come out ahead if you are lucky. You can allow them to re-let the apartment. In this situation the original tenant still has to find a replacement tenant and you still get to review and accept a reasonable applicant, but the original tenant is off the hook and gets their deposit back. The new tenant assumes the existing terms of the lease or possibly a longer term if that is agreeable to all parties. If there is a problem, you deal only with the new tenant. I think this choice appeals to most tenants, but you are not allowed to force it on anyone. The original tenant has the right to sublet if they prefer that to other options.
Also in Illinois, you are required to help with the sublet process. I think help is poorly defined. I suggest giving advice on how to re-rent the apartment and showing it when you are available or if you know of a party that is interested. Your original tenant still has to pay for advertising or you can charge them if you advertise on there behalf. You can still charge an application fee to any potential subletters.
The most important thing to remember is that you would rather have someone who wants the apartment and is paying monthly rent then a drawn out battle with someone three states away. Be flexible and try to reach a compromise that works for everyone.

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