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How to Sublet Legally in New Jersey

Tenants in New Jersey can legally sublet with landlord approval as long as the lease agreement doesn't expressly forbid it.

Landlords in New Jersey have the ability to stop you from subletting by putting a term in your lease contract to that effect. There isn't much you can do if you find this term in your lease, except to use the legal concept of damage mitigation to try and convince them to accept a replacement tenant that you find. In practice, most landlords will accept a replacement, either as a subtenant or on a new lease, as long as they are as financially qualified as you.

With that in mind, here are the steps we suggest that you follow to sublet in New Jersey.

1. Read your lease carefully

If your lease says no subletting, then that means no subletting. And if your lease says you need prior approval before subletting, then make sure you notify your landlord of your intentions.

2. Screen your subtenant carefully

The number one cause of really frustrating subletting situations has to do with screening your replacement tenant. Two things could go wrong here. First, you could spend time getting approval for someone and submit them to your landlord, only to find out in a few weeks that they don't meet your landlord's requirements. Second, if you sign a sublease agreement with someone who isn't necessarily a reliable renter you might get stuck paying rent for two places at once.

3. Mail a letter to get approval

You should send a letter to your landlord via certified mail, return-receipt requested, and save a copy of the document for your own records. Certified mail is the only proof of delivery that most courts will accept and thus is the best way to protect yourself.

The letter should clearly outline the terms of the agreement and include the following information:

  • The term (starting and end dates) of the sublet or the date of the proposed assignment (30 days from when you sent the letter)
  • The name of the proposed subtenant or assignee
  • The permanent home address of the proposed subtenant or assignee
  • Your reason for subletting or leaving permanently
  • Your new address during the sublease if applicable
  • The written consent of any co‑tenant
  • A copy of the proposed sublease

4. Wait for approval.

Within thirty days of mailing the initial notice your landlord must respond to your inquiry. If your landlord rejects your request, know that they can only reject proposed subtenants based on legitimate factors and can’t “unreasonably refuse” the request.

Legal grounds for refusal may include:

  • The financial responsibility of the proposed assignee or subtenant.
  • Intended use of the property.
  • The legality of the proposed use.
  • The nature of the occupancy.
  • The compatibility of the tenant’s use with the uses of the other tenants.

If you think your landlord might unreasonably refuse your request read up on how New Jersey defines reasonable refuse for sublets. In short, your landlord would need to prove that your applicant puts their business at risk. This is why it's so important to screen your subtenant carefully before you try to get approval!

5. Collect and store a security deposit

You're approved - congrats! To protect yourself against damages to the apartment or any belongings that you leave in the space, you should take a security deposit from your subtenant. Follow New Jersey's laws for accepting and holding security deposits as best you can. Technically it should be in a separate location, and needs to be returned within 30 days.

You should also do an inspection of the apartment before your subtenant moves in and get them to sign off on it.

6. Set up rent payments

You don't want to spend the first day of every month pestering someone for rent. Agree on a process for rent payments before they move in. Put this process in writing in the sublet agreement that you both sign.

Read about the pros and cons of using tools like Venmo and Zelle for rent payments before you make the call here.

It's true that subletting legally can be a bit annoying, but it's much better than getting a nasty eviction notice from your landlord when you've already moved on. If you don't want to do all of this yourself but you do want to sublet hand your lease over to the team at Caretaker and we'll take care of the dirty work.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.