Sub-letting (sub-tenancy)

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About sub-letting

In a sub-letting arrangement, someone rents the property and, in turn, rents out part or all of it to another person or people. The person or people named on the lease are the head tenants and those renting from them are sub-tenants.

Unlike in a co-tenancy, a sub-tenant’s name may not appear on the lease. In a sub-tenancy, the head tenant takes on the full legal responsibility of a landlord.

The head tenant must get written permission from the landlord before sub-letting. If a tenant sub-lets the property without permission, the landlord can serve them with a 14-day notice to vacate (end the tenancy and leave the property).

A landlord must give permission to sub-let, unless there is a good reason to refuse. It is illegal to charge a fee for giving permission.

If a head tenant believes a landlord is refusing to allow them to sub-let without a good reason, they can apply to VCAT for a ruling.

We can assist with disputes between a head tenant and a sub-tenant in some cases. Such disputes must be taken to VCAT.

If you live in public housing, your landlord can refuse permission to sub-let on the grounds that it would disadvantage people on the public housing waiting list.

The bond in sub-letting situations

If your landlord gives permission for you to sub-let and you take a bond from a sub-tenant, it is then your responsibility to complete the Bond Lodgement form and lodge it with the RTBA.

Bond lodgements can be completed on the RTBA Online website by registering as a landlord (recommended) or by generating a paper form.

You must lodge the sub-tenant’s money within 10 business days of accepting it.