our everyday life

How to Take Over Someone's Lease

by Jeff Zhorne, studioD

Often, people need to break the leases on their houses or apartments for either professional or personal reasons. Terminating a lease early can carry penalties, which may be mitigated by finding someone to take over the original lease. If you are prepared to take over someone's lease, here's what you need to know before signing.

Clarify that the tenant has permission from the landlord to sublease, or sublet, the house or apartment. Verify this in the tenant's contract.

Find a subleasing contract that is mutually agreeable to both you and the tenant that spells out all terms and provisions. The Internet Legal Research Group has a sublet form for every state. Print out the form for your state.

Be prepared to provide documentation of personal information, driver's license, Social Security number and verification of income and assets, all of which will be required on the sublease. These will be used to run a credit report and substantiate your creditworthiness. If you have hiccups on your credit, provide a letter of explanation and even letters of reference from colleagues or friends. You'll also need to supply contact information for your current landlord or lienholder.

Be absolutely clear with the tenant and landlord about when the term ends, what happens to the tenant's security deposit and who is responsible for any damages that may occur during your sub-tenancy period. You may need to provide your own security deposit in the event of early termination or damages. Spell out what happens to your deposit at the end of the lease term.

Clarify when the rent is due, by what method, to whom the rent should be paid -- whether the tenant or the landlord -- and where payment needs to be delivered.

Items you will need
  •  Landlord's permission
  •  Official identification
  •  Leasing agreement


  • If the landlord considers you creditworthy, you may be able to draft a new lease with the landlord instead of taking over someone else's. This could mitigate any misunderstandings that often arise with three parties.


  • Verify that the landlord permits you taking over the lease. Reduce the risk by meeting with the landlord in person and obtaining written permission.
  • Ensure you have more than one contact number for the tenant in case any problems or misunderstandings arise.

About the Author

By age 10, Jeff Zhorne was writing for the local newspaper in East Texas. He earned scholarships in journalism, worked on college newspapers and was editor of various publications in Los Angeles beginning in 1982. In 2000 he wrote "The Everything Guide to Fly-Fishing" (Adams Media, New York). He is published in "San Marino Tribune," "Pasadena Living," "Santa Clarita Living" and "LA Daily News."

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images