Knowing who is living in the property is extremely important. Granted, our main concern is that rent is being paid on time and the property is being well maintained regardless of who is living in the home. However, not knowing who is in the home can have some devastating results. For example, if a property manager in Hawaii knowingly allows someone to sublease the home without letting the owner know and something happens to the home, the owner could hold the manager responsible for damages.
This one is fairly obvious, but review local laws and the lease agreement. Some states such as California, Nevada, and Hawaii prohibit agents from unreasonably withholding the tenants right to assign or sublease, however in most cases you can require the tenant to notify you prior to. If it is not in your lease, consider adding it. This gives you an opportunity to establish certain criteria such as the person must submit an application and qualify.
Assuming it is in the lease, put the tenant on notice immediately letting them know that they are breaching the terms of the lease agreement. Inform them that they unauthorized person must be removed immediately. Notify the property owner of the situation, but let them know you are still looking into it and that you will let the know once you have more information
Schedule an evaluation to visit the property to ensure compliance. While at the property, also not how well the property is being taken care of. After, speak to the tenant to find out the reason they are trying to sublease the property. Keep in mind the main goals which are rent and a well maintained property.
Contact the property owner and give them an update. If the property is well maintained and rent is on time, let the owner know the tenant’s reasoning and see if they would be interested to make arrangements with the tenant contingent upon an application. You may even be able to have the new person sign a new lease to replace the existing tenant’s responsibility. While there is a concern of dishonesty, keep in mind that there are a lot of circumstances in which tenants are not forthcoming and focus on the overall goal in order to maintain objectivity.
If the tenant is not compliant, the person subleasing the property is not qualified, the property is in poor condition, or rent is not paid then at this point you need to notify the owner. At this point, you need to enforce your right to have the tenant correct the problem or seek to evict the tenant based on local laws.
December 19, 2013