Can I Rent and Sublet a House in Melbourne?

September 13, 2022
Can I Rent and Sublet a House in Melbourne?

Rental agreements are pretty straightforward; landlords and tenants both understand and accept their rights and responsibilities. But, things can get a little more complicated when it comes to subletting or renting out rooms in your house.

Is this allowed, and can you get fined for it? If you are already renting a house in Melbourne, keep reading to find out if you can sublet. If you’re still looking for a place, check out our collection of Melbourne apartments for rent before reading this guide. 

What Is Subletting, and Why Do People Do It?

Let us define subletting first. Subletting is when a tenant rents out all or part of their rental property to another person (called a subtenant). There are a few reasons someone might want to sublet their rental property:

  • They’re going away for a long period and don’t want the property to sit empty (and lose money in the process).
  • They’re struggling to make ends meet and could use the extra income.
  • They want to move out but can’t break their lease early, so they find someone to take over the remainder of the lease.

Is Subletting Legal in Melbourne?

Can I Rent and Sublet a House in Melbourne?

Yes–renting a property and subletting all or part of it is legal in Melbourne and other parts of Australia. However, you need permission from your landlord or real estate manager to do so. By law, a landlord can’t refuse permission to sublet their property unless there is a substantial cause behind it–the Equal Opportunity Act of 2010 prevents them from refusing permission because of someone’s gender, ethnicity, or disability.

If a landlord unfairly declines a sublet request, the head renter may contact the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for arbitration. The tribunal has the right to exercise Section 82 and grant you consent to sublet a rented property.

What Are The Rules of Subletting in Melbourne?

The rules of subletting are almost the same throughout Australia:

  1. First and foremost, you need written permission from your landlord to sublet a rented property via Section 81 of the VCAT.
  2. The landlord cannot charge any fee for allowing subletting or ask for a percentage of the sub-rent amount.
  3. The sub-renter’s name is not included in the rental agreement (lease), and the head renter is still responsible for paying monthly rent to the landlord and keeping the property in good shape.
  4. The head-renter must apply the original rental agreement (lease) conditions for their sub-renter. This means they must meet minimum rental standards and also deal with property repairs the landlord must make.
  5. The head-renter is responsible for the actions of their sub-renters. If they damage the property or don’t pay rent, the head-renter will have to cover the costs.

If the head-renter and sub-renter get into a dispute, either one of them can contact VCAT for resolution.

When Can a Landlord Decline a Sublet Request?

Can I Rent and Sublet a House in Melbourne?

A landlord can decline a sublet request if they have a ‘substantial reason’. Some landlords may feel that having more people in the property could cause the premises to be overcrowded. While this may not seem logical to the tenants, certain laws might prohibit landlords from allowing more than a certain number of tenants.

Another reason a landlord can deny permission to sublet is the bad credit history of the potential sub-renter. If the landlord feels the sub-renter won’t be able to make timely payments, they have the right to say no.

The last common reason could be the poor condition of a property. If adding another tenant to the premises could cause more wear and tear, the landlord could have solid grounds to deny your request.

What Happens if You Sublet a House Without Permission?

Subletting your rented property without getting written permission from your landlord is illegal in Melbourne. This seemingly harmless act could result in unfavourable results.

Your rental provider can issue an eviction notice and ask the sub-renters to move out within fourteen days, or they can end the rental agreement immediately, causing both you and your sub-renters to leave the property. Therefore, it’s important that you get familiar with subletting laws before entering into a sub-rental agreement. 

Wondering who is responsible for pest control in Melbourne? Take a look at our latest post.

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