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. However, in a sub-tenancy, the head tenant takes on the full legal responsibility of a landlord.

We can conciliate disputes between a head tenant and sub-tenant. Such disputes may also be taken to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

A head tenant must get written permission from the landlord before sub-letting. If a tenant sub-lets the property without doing so, 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 may apply to VCAT for a ruling.

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 Lodgement forms can be generated at the RTBA Online website.

You may also obtain a form by emailing rtba@justice.vic.gov.au or calling 1300 137 164. Calling this number costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone.

You must lodge the sub-tenant’s money within 10 business days of accepting it. The RTBA will consider you as a landlord for this purpose. The RTBA will only pay out the bond money to the person registered as the bond holder.