Last modified on September 15th, 2017
By Christina Burch
This post was provided by SubletAlert.com – with over 50 years of collective experience empowering property managers to promote safe and thriving communities.
As a property manager, it’s your responsibility to manage all tenants in your properties – whether you’re dealing with complaints, finding new tenants to fill vacancies, or having to evict a renter for breaking the terms of their agreement.
One thing to look out for is subletting. Some tenants might try to get away with illegally subletting their apartment, which can cause major problems for you as a property manager. It’s in your best interest to know the warning signs of a tenant illegally subletting to someone that doesn’t belong on the property.
Protect yourself with these three important points on illegal subletting and how to spot it if it’s happening right under your nose.
Determine if an Illegal Sublet is Truly Taking Place
Before you get too worked up about a situation that may not exist, determine if an illegal sublet is actually taking place in one of your rental units. You do not want to accuse a tenant of illegally subletting their place if it’s not happening. This will harm your relationship with the renter and potentially create a rift that you might never recover from.
Investigate the situation. It’s quite possible your original, contracted tenant may have gone on an extended trip and asked one of their friends to watch the apartment, feed the dog, bring in the mail, or do a number of other things to help while they are away.
On the other hand, if this new person keeps going in and out of the apartment throughout the day, it’s quite possible they’re illegally subletting the place. At this point, you can introduce yourself and ask them some questions to find out more information. Based on their responses, you might know if they’re unlawfully subletting, and it’s time to do something about it.
Let Your Original Tenant Know about the Lease Agreement Breach
The original tenant may not realize they’re breaching their lease agreement. Either way, it’s important to meet with the tenant and notify them that they’ve violated their lease terms. Let them know about the breach in writing and give them 30 days to fix the problem before you begin taking legal action.
Look into Potential Legal Options
Now that you’re fully aware of the problem on your hands, it’s time to pursue potential legal options. If the tenant and illegal subletter do not take care of the situation, it can create all sorts of unwanted legal issues that you’d obviously rather avoid.
Before you begin taking legal action, you can either contact a lawyer or research the laws in your state first. Since it’s an illegal sublet, it’s possible the person subletting the apartment may not have any legal credibility or support and will willingly vacate the premises once you notify them that you’ve sought counsel. If the subletter refuses, you should contact a legal professional. They’ll help you proceed quickly and fairly.
Protect Yourself for the Future
Equipped with these three tips, you can proceed with any illegal sublet situation knowing that you’re protecting your property and yourself from future conflict. As a property manager, you may not wish to ever use this information, however you’ll have the advantage if you ever run into this problem and need to solve it quickly.