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Subletting agreement – what do I need to consider?

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Subletting is a good option for occupying a room in a rented apartment or the entire apartment while the actual occupant is doing an internship, is abroad or wants to travel the world. In this article, you will find out what you need to bear in mind when subletting, what liability and responsibilities are involved, what the subletting agreement should look like and how it can be terminated. We also explain the difference between a solidary rent and a sublet.

 


What do I have to consider when subletting?


 

First things first: If you are a tenant and would like to bring another tenant on board via a subletting agreement, the landlord’s consent is a must. You may not draw up a subletting agreement without this. As the main tenant, you should therefore remember to obtain the landlord’s permission in advance.

 

Normally, the landlord must comply with the request for subletting. The following exceptions apply:

  • The rent for the sublet is significantly higher than the rent of the main tenant
  • The main tenant does not inform the landlord about the conditions of the sublease
  • The landlord suffers disadvantages as a result of subletting
  • The subtenant is unacceptable or does not belong to the target group desired by the landlord

 

When you inform the landlord about the subletting, you should provide him with information such as the number and identity of the contractors, the amount of the rent and information on the extent of the sublet space. Upon request, you must provide the landlord with a copy of the subletting agreement.

 

As soon as the landlord has agreed, nothing stands in the way of subletting. However, the landlord may revoke his consent if he has a valid reason. In this case, you will receive a reminder, which you must respond to in order to avoid an extraordinary termination of 30 days.

 

In principle, you are free to determine the amount of the sublet. It may be higher than the net rent, but may only exceed it by a maximum of 20%. At the same time, the principle of economic viability also applies to subletting, which is why you should assume approximately the pro rata amount of the rent.

 

Note: If you are subletting a furnished room, the notice period is only two weeks, unless you have made other arrangements with the subtenant.

 


Who is the landlord in the case of subletting?


When subletting, you as the main tenant are the landlord of the subtenant. This means that your landlord normally has no contact with the subtenant. As the main tenant, you are always responsible for issues such as defects and notices of termination.

 

It is important that both sides know their rights and obligations. In your dual role as tenant and landlord, you should therefore familiarize yourself with the obligations of a landlord.

 

In addition, the Swiss Code of Obligations applies to the tenancy. Accordingly, if the landlord rejects a subtenant, for example, you may turn to an arbitration authority. If the landlord withdraws his consent to subletting during an ongoing tenancy, which is not normally permitted, you can ask for legal assistance on the basis of the Code of Obligations.

 


Who is liable for damage during subletting?


As you take on the role of landlord when subletting, you are liable for any damage to the apartment. This means that you, as the main tenant, are also responsible for any damage caused by the subtenant in their room or in shared rooms.

 

This also applies to financial losses. If the subtenant suddenly stops paying the rent, you as the main tenant must still pay the full rent to the landlord. In the worst case, you will have to pay out of your own pocket.

 

This makes it all the more important that you choose your subtenant carefully. Check his credit rating and specify in the contract exactly what procedure is appropriate in the event of damage. The better you protect yourself here, the more you can rely on the rental agreement to protect you.

 

One advantage of being the main tenant is that you can make all decisions independently of the main tenant. Although you bear all the liability, you can decide on decorations, changes to the apartment and similar aspects yourself – provided the tenant allows these changes.

 


What should be included in the sublease?


Although there is no legal obligation to conclude a written subletting agreement, you should make sure that you have the necessary safeguards in place. The written document must be signed by both parties and is legally valid in combination with the landlord’s permission.

 

Among other things, the subletting agreement sets out how the shared use of furniture and other items in the house is regulated. The share for electricity and other ancillary costs is also included in the contract, as are the fixed rent, the termination conditions and the contract term.

 

As the main tenant, you may demand a deposit from the subtenant. This shall serve as security in the event that the subtenant causes negligent defects or fails to pay the rent. Please note that the deposit may not be higher than three months’ rent. It must also be deposited in a separate account in the name of the subtenant.

 

Subletting usually has no time limit, as many people do not know exactly when they want to use the apartment again. This is why open-ended contracts are common, although you can also agree on a fixed term if both parties agree. In any case, make sure to clarify the termination modalities precisely.

 

Important: The subletting must not take the form of a vacation rental. Upon request, you must be able to prove that you intend to use the privately rented apartment yourself again in the near future.

 


How can the sublease be terminated?


The sublease can be terminated by either party. It is therefore best to specify the notice period in the contract. This is usually the three months prescribed by law. This way you are well protected.

 

However, you can also make exceptions and stipulate shorter notice periods. It is also possible to allow a shorter period if the subtenant proposes an adequate replacement tenant. In this way, even the contractually stipulated period of three months can be elegantly shortened.

Verbal termination is not permitted in the case of subletting, as it is in the classic tenancy. So remember to always give written notice of termination. If there are several subtenants, each must receive a notice of termination. The best way to do this is to send the document by registered mail.

 


Is solidary rent the same as subletting?


In shared flats, rent sharing is often used in addition to subletting. This is a good option if you have several flatmates and do not want to be the sole main tenant who bears all the liability.

 

All tenants have equal rights and are equally responsible for the entire property. Changes to the rental agreement must be decided jointly and damages are paid jointly.

 

In the event of rent defaults, the landlord has the right to sue any member of the community of solidarity. Normally, however, the other tenants get together to cushion the loss of rent. This way, you have fewer responsibilities and don’t have to worry about subtenants or flatmates not paying. Solidarity rent is therefore particularly recommended for students and people with an insecure income.


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All data are without guarantee. The information on these Internet pages has been carefully researched. Nevertheless, no liability can be assumed for the accuracy of the information provided.

 

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