Which is better subleasing or assignment?

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Which is better subleasing or assignment?

My son’s rent is paid up on his off-campus apartment until 12/31/10. He will be moving in January. He has someone that wants his apartment. He would like to sublease to them, however, if he does he will be responsible for many things if they don’t follow through. Is it my understanding that if an assignment is drawn up then he will not be responsible for anything for the other person if they don’t fulfil their obligations. He will have moved out and the contract should no longer be binding.

Asked on December 14, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your understanding is correct. In an assignment, someone else takes over the lease for  you; they step into your shoes and become the tenant in your place. In subleasing, you become the landlord renting to them. Assignment exposes you to less liability; once assigned, you're out of the picture. However, many leases and other contracts restrict the right of one or both parties to assign the lease or contract, and such a restriction is enforceable. So your son should check his lease to see what he is allowed to do, though if he can assign the lease, then he is probably better off doing that (unless there's some reason he'd like to reserve possession or control over the apartment).


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