Subletting is quite common in Canada. Basically, any residential tenant has the right to assign or sublet their rental unit, as long as they inform the landlord. Tenant rights vary depending on the province or territory—the landlord consent could be mandatory or not. As a subtenant, make sure the sublease is legal where you live.
There are two different kinds of agreements. In an assignment, the original tenant is moving out for good and transfers the lease to the new tenant, who will pay the rent to the landlord. In a sublet, the original tenant plans to come back and the subtenant pays him the rent and he continues to pay the landlord. For example, students often sublet their place during the holidays, from May to August, and return in September.
Sublet apartments are often furnished and ready to live in, so it’s a great deal if you don’t want to spend your first few days in Canada at IKEA. It’s also a great solution to stay in a city for a relatively short period of time without committing to a year-long lease.
You’ll notice a lot of sublease offers during summer school holidays and winter (many Canadians take a break in warmer countries).
Signing a sublease
An agreement must be signed between the original tenant and you. It should include all of the obligations from the original lease plus the sublease term and rent (you may have to pay extra fees because the place comes furnished). Read the agreement carefully and consider asking to see the original lease for a more comprehensive overview of everything you should know about the place. Don’t forget to read the property by-laws if you’re subleasing a condo unit.
The rent will be paid to the tenant—you may not be in touch with the landlord unless a meeting is arranged. This is not always mandatory but it can be a good idea to make sure everybody is on the same page.
You may be asked to provide basic information that will be forwarded to the landlord, for approval. Most of the time, landlords only refuse to sublet if there are reasonable grounds (i.e. you refuse to fill out an application form or cannot pay the rent).