Subletting a Residential Property (Qld)
In Queensland, it is common for a person who leases a house or unit to sublet the property to another tenant. This may be because they need to vacate the property before the end of a fixed-term lease, because they want to rent out a spare room, or for some other reason. Subletting a residential property in Queensland requires the landlord or property manager’s written permission, or an order from a tribunal. This page deals with subletting a residential property in Queensland.
Residential tenancies in Queensland are governed by the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
How does subletting work?
A tenant who wants to sublet a property should submit a written request to their landlord or property manager. Most property managers have a form for making this application and require the proposed sub-tenant’s identification and proof of income documentation to be attached.
When a person (the head-tenant) rents all or part of a property to another person (the sub-tenant), a second lease is created. The head tenant has all the same responsibilities to the sub-tenant as a landlord or property manager. They must provide the sub-tenant with a written tenancy agreement, an entry condition report, a copy of the Pocket guide for tenants and a receipt for any bond the sub-tenant has paid. The sub-tenant, in turn, is responsible to the head-tenant for looking after the property and paying their rent on time.
Will I be allowed to sublet?
The process for getting permission to sublet a residential property in Queensland depends on the category the property falls into.
Where landlord’s agreement is discretionary
Under section 237 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, a tenant may sublet premises only with the landlord’s written permission. This provision applies where:
- The lessor is the state
- The lessor is receiving assistance from the state to supply accommodation;
- The tenant is occupying the property under the terms of their employment;
- The tenancy is a short tenancy.
In these situations, the landlord has absolute discretion as to whether or not to allow the tenant to sublet.
Where landlord has qualified discretion
Under section 238 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, a tenant who is not covered by section 237 may sublet the property if:
- The lessor agrees in writing; or
- The subletting is allowed by order of a tribunal.
A lessor must not unreasonably refuse to allow a tenant to transfer or sublet a property.
Applying to a tribunal
If a tenant believes that a lessor has acted unreasonably in refusing to allow them to sublet, they may use the Residential Tenancies Authority’s free alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service to try to resolve the situation. If the situation cannot be resolved through ADR, the tenant may apply to QCAT for an order under section 239 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
If the lessor does not satisfy the tribunal that they acted reasonably in refusing to allow the tenant to transfer or sublet the property, the tribunal may make an order allowing the tenant to transfer or sublet without the lessor’s agreement.
In assessing whether the lessor acted reasonably, the tribunal will consider:
- How likely the proposed new tenant is to fulfil their obligations under the agreement;
- The risk of damage to the property.
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