Sublet and Assignment



The Basics

A sublet occurs when a tenant temporarily moves out and rents their unit to a subtenant until they return, whereas an assignment occurs when a tenant permanently moves out and transfers their agreement to a new tenant. To sublet or assign your tenancy agreement, you must have your landlord’s written consent. See TRAC’s template letter, Permission to Assign or Sublet. However, according to section 34(2) of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), if your fixed term tenancy agreement has at least six months remaining on it, your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold their consent. If you believe your landlord is unreasonably withholding consent, you have the right to apply for dispute resolution to ask for an order allowing you to sublet or assign your tenancy.

There are important differences between sublets and assignments. When you sublet a rental unit, you retain rights and responsibilities associated with that tenancy agreement. However, when you assign a rental unit, your rights and responsibilities are usually transferred to the person to whom you are assigning the agreement. See Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 19 for more information.

Exception: The sublet and assignment rules in the RTA do not apply to non-profit housing that falls under section 2 of the Residential Tenancy Regulation.



Previous Legal Decisions


  • Landlord not allowed to unreasonably withhold consent
  • Tenant assigning agreement may retain residual liability