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What to do if Your Tenant is Subletting

Frustrated Anacortes Property Manager with a LaptopAs a rental property owner, your livelihood is based on how well you screen a tenant for your Anacortes rental property. The goal is to find people you can entrust your property to. Due to this, when a tenant sublets the rental house without your permission or knowledge, things can get very problematic. Setting the terms of your tenant’s stay in your rental home starts with clear language in the lease. If the subletting policy has already been articulated well and still your tenant violates it, here are some of the things you can do to handle the situation.

Gather Evidence

Are you suspicious that your tenant is subletting your property without your permission? Your first step should be to confirm your suspicions. It could be that the new “tenant” isn’t necessarily subletting, but house-sitting the property for some reason. It would be a wise idea to interview both tenants so that you can document their responses. This will allow you to gather evidence and use whatever you’ve gathered to make an informed conclusion and decision.

If you want to get a better view of the situation, ask the neighbors for information, as well. If the case is that this tenant is using something like Airbnb to sublet your rental, you can simply look up your property on the app and use that as evidence of the lease violation.

Give Notice of Lease Violation

If your research does lead to the confirmation of a tenant subletting, even when the lease clearly articulates against it, then your next best move is to inform the tenant that they violated the lease. Should your research shed light on other violations, make sure to bring them up; especially if the tenant who is subletting is not following the lease terms.

It doesn’t matter who is living in the rental and if they’re in agreement with your tenant — it is still your tenant who has the sole responsibility of upholding the lease agreement. Generally, a tenant is given time to correct the situation and go back to compliance with their lease. Afterward, you will need to reinforce the terms by following up on them, making sure that the subletting tenant is really gone.

Take Legal Action, If Needed

If your tenant does not comply with the terms to remove the subletting person from the property, you may start to think about the eviction process. Don’t forget to comb through your state and local laws so that you can obey the statutes and rules of the letter.

As if it’s not difficult enough to handle a subletting tenant, you also have to consider what your rights are, and how you can legally handle the subletting tenant without breaking any laws. It may depend on where you are at, but in certain areas, you have to evict both tenant and subletting tenant in order for you to get full rights and access to your rental property.

Your legal recourse will all boil down to the location of your property and the language in your lease. If in any case, your lease does not clearly state the policy on subletting, you need to get on that right away. The best course of action is stopping it before it happens when it comes to preventing subletting.


If you are currently dealing with a subletting tenant, know that there are people who can help you. The property management professionals at Real Property Management Teyata have the experience and legal knowledge to guide you through any lease violation situations, getting you back to business as usual as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Learn more about what we can do for property owners like you by contacting us online or calling us at 206-861-5525 .

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