What To Do If Your Subletter Stops Paying Rent

Finding a subletter for your rental property can provide some nice extra income. But what happens when your subletter stops paying rent? This unfortunate situation can cause major headaches for landlords and primary tenants alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know if your subletter isn’t paying rent.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Immediately provide written notice demanding payment and start the eviction process if they don’t comply. But there are many important steps and considerations in this process, which we’ll fully detail below.

Confirm They Have Truly Stopped Paying Rent

When dealing with a subletter who has stopped paying rent, it is important to first confirm that this is indeed the case. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure the accuracy of the situation:

Double check your records

Start by reviewing your rental agreement and any payment records you have. Make sure that you have not missed any payments or overlooked any communication from your subletter regarding any financial issues.

It is possible that there may have been a mix-up or misunderstanding that can be resolved through a simple conversation.

Communicate in writing

If you have confirmed that your subletter has not made the required rent payments, it is important to communicate with them in writing. This will serve as a record of your attempts to resolve the issue and can be useful if legal action becomes necessary.

Send a polite but firm letter or email to your subletter, outlining the situation and requesting immediate payment. Be sure to keep copies of all correspondence.

Consider special circumstances

While it is frustrating and inconvenient when a subletter stops paying rent, it is important to consider any special circumstances that may be causing this behavior. They may be experiencing financial difficulties, job loss, or other personal issues that are preventing them from fulfilling their obligations.

While this does not excuse their behavior, it may be helpful to approach the situation with empathy and explore potential solutions together.

Remember, it is always advisable to consult with a legal professional to understand your rights and options in dealing with a subletter who has stopped paying rent. They can provide guidance specific to your situation and help you navigate any legal complexities that may arise.

Review the Original Lease Agreement

When your subletter stops paying rent, it can be a frustrating and stressful situation. However, before taking any action, it is important to carefully review the original lease agreement. This will serve as the foundation for understanding your rights and responsibilities in the situation.

Check for relevant clauses

Start by examining the lease agreement for any clauses that specifically address subletting and non-payment of rent. These clauses may outline the steps you can take in case your subletter fails to fulfill their financial obligations.

Look for language that discusses the consequences or remedies for non-payment, such as late fees, eviction procedures, or the ability to terminate the sublease.

Pro tip: If you are having trouble interpreting the lease agreement or understanding your rights, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer or seek advice from a reputable legal resource website such as Nolo.com.

See what steps it allows you to take

Once you have identified the relevant clauses, take note of the specific actions the lease agreement allows you to take in the event of non-payment. This may include sending a notice to the subletter, pursuing legal action, or terminating the sublease altogether.

Understanding these options will give you a clearer idea of how to proceed.

Did you know? According to a survey conducted by Rent.com, approximately 25% of landlords have experienced issues with subletters failing to pay rent at some point.

Consider getting legal counsel

If the situation with your subletter becomes complex or escalates, it is advisable to seek legal counsel. A lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and help you navigate the legal process.

Additionally, they can assist you in drafting and sending any necessary legal notices.

Remember: It is essential to follow the proper legal procedures when dealing with a subletter who has stopped paying rent. Taking matters into your own hands without understanding your rights can lead to legal complications and potential liability.

Send Formal Written Notice Demanding Payment

If your subletter stops paying rent, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your rights as a landlord. One crucial step you should take is to send a formal written notice demanding payment.

This not only serves as a clear communication to your subletter about their unpaid rent, but it also creates a record of your attempts to resolve the issue amicably.

Draft a payment demand letter

When drafting your payment demand letter, be sure to include all the necessary details. Start by addressing the subletter by name, and state the purpose of the letter upfront. Clearly state the amount owed, the due date, and any late fees or penalties that may be applicable.

Explain the consequences of non-payment, such as legal action or eviction, and emphasize the importance of resolving the matter promptly.

Include specific timeline and amount owed

It’s crucial to include a specific timeline for payment in your demand letter. Let the subletter know that they have a certain number of days to pay the outstanding rent before further action is taken.

This timeline should be reasonable and in compliance with local laws regarding notice periods for non-payment of rent.

In addition to the timeline, be sure to clearly state the exact amount owed. Include any unpaid rent from previous months, as well as any late fees or penalties that have accrued. This will help avoid any confusion or disputes regarding the total amount owed.

Send via certified mail

To ensure that your demand letter reaches your subletter and to have proof of delivery, it’s recommended to send it via certified mail. This not only provides a way to track the letter, but it also adds an extra layer of formality to your communication.

By sending the letter via certified mail, you can demonstrate that you have made a genuine effort to resolve the issue in a legal and professional manner.

Remember, each jurisdiction may have specific rules and regulations regarding notice requirements and procedures. It’s always a good idea to consult with a legal professional or refer to your local landlord-tenant laws to ensure compliance.

File for Eviction If No Payment

Dealing with a subletter who stops paying rent can be a frustrating and stressful situation. If you have exhausted all other efforts to resolve the issue and your subletter still refuses to pay, it may be time to consider filing for eviction.

Here are some steps you can take to initiate the eviction process:

1. Know your state’s eviction process

Before proceeding with any legal action, it is important to familiarize yourself with the eviction process in your state. Each state has its own laws and requirements for eviction, so be sure to research and understand the specific procedures and timelines that apply to your situation.

This information can usually be found on your state’s official government website or by consulting with a legal professional.

2. Get the court paperwork started

Once you have a clear understanding of the eviction process, you will need to gather the necessary paperwork to initiate the eviction proceedings. This typically includes a notice to quit or pay rent, which formally notifies the subletter of their delinquency and gives them a specified amount of time to either pay or vacate the premises.

Make sure to follow the proper format and include all required information to ensure your case is valid.

3. Hire an attorney if needed

If you are unsure about the legal aspects of the eviction process or if your subletter is contesting the eviction, it may be wise to hire an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, ensure that your rights are protected, and represent your interests in court if necessary.

While hiring an attorney can be an additional expense, it can also provide peace of mind and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Remember, eviction should always be a last resort. It is important to communicate with your subletter and explore alternative solutions before pursuing legal action. However, if all attempts to resolve the issue amicably have failed, filing for eviction may be the necessary step to protect your rights as a landlord.

Other Ways to Recover Losses

Can you pursue the original tenant?

If your subletter stops paying rent, you may wonder if you can pursue the original tenant for the unpaid amount. In some cases, you may be able to take legal action against the original tenant if they have violated the terms of the sublease agreement or if they are still legally responsible for the rent.

However, it’s important to consult with a lawyer to understand your rights and options in this situation. They can guide you through the legal process and help you determine if pursuing the original tenant is a viable option.

Report to credit bureaus

Reporting the unpaid rent to credit bureaus can be another way to recover your losses. When a tenant fails to pay rent, it can negatively impact their credit score, making it difficult for them to secure future housing or obtain loans.

By reporting the unpaid rent to credit bureaus, you can potentially deter the subletter from defaulting on their rent payments in the future, as they will be aware of the consequences. It’s important to follow the proper procedures for reporting to credit bureaus, and you may want to consult with a credit expert or seek legal advice to ensure you do it correctly.

Collection agencies

If all else fails, you may consider hiring a collection agency to help recover the unpaid rent. Collection agencies specialize in recovering debts and can use their resources and expertise to pursue the subletter for the money owed.

However, it’s important to note that collection agencies typically charge a fee or a percentage of the amount recovered, so you may not recover the full amount owed. Additionally, collection agencies can sometimes be aggressive in their tactics, which could potentially damage your relationship with the subletter.

Therefore, it’s advisable to carefully consider this option and weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before proceeding.


Having a subletter stop paying rent can create major stress and financial strain. But by immediately issuing formal written notice, reviewing your original lease, and starting eviction proceedings, you can work to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Understanding your rights and following proper legal processes will be key. With patience and persistence, you can recover your losses and move forward. Reach out to legal counsel if you need professional assistance taking action against a non-paying subletter.

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