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What can you expect when subletting a condominium?

Do you own a co-operative flat that you don’t use and would like to sublet it, or is your co-operative flat too big for you and you would like to earn extra money by subletting part of it? Count on the fact that the co-op must also approve your sublet. Otherwise, you could face expulsion.

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If you are a member of a housing cooperative, you do not own the apartment directly, but only the cooperative share in the housing cooperative with which the right to rent the cooperative apartment is linked. The owner of the share is therefore a tenant and, if he does not have the flat to himself, he can sublet it to someone else. However, the co-operative may stifle his rights a little.

What is the difference between renting and subletting

A classic lease works by the landlord himself renting out the flat to someone else. Subletting, on the other hand, works by the person who has rented the flat from the landlord (i.e. the tenant) subletting the flat to someone else.

In the case of a cooperative apartment, the owner of the apartment is the cooperative, the tenant is the person who owns a share in the housing cooperative and the subtenant is the person to whom the shareholder subleases the apartment.

Contents of the contracts

It follows that the type of contract also differs. In the case of a lease, it is a lease agreement, the form of which is determined by the Civil Code. On the other hand, the content of a sublease agreement depends on the agreement between the tenant and the subtenant. However, in this case, we strongly recommend that you draw up the contract and set out the rules in as much detail as possible to avoid any problems and disagreements in the future. At a minimum, it should include:

  1. Information about the tenant and subtenant;
  2. The definition of the rented apartment or parts of it;
  3. The price of the sublet and what it includes (e.g. whether utilities and services are included);
  4. The terms and conditions and termination dates.

Tip: Are you about to draw up or sign a sublease agreement? Contact us. You will be sure that it does not lack any important rights and obligations. We will check that the contract is free of any risks and legal defects that could render it invalid and tailor everything to the circumstances of your specific situation.

Specifics of subletting

  • Binding: first of all, the sublease agreement is bound to the lease agreement. Therefore, if the lease is terminated, the sublease is automatically terminated.
  • Restriction. On the other hand, the rules in a sublease agreement are purely up to the tenant and therefore can prohibit many things to the subtenant. These include, for example, keeping pets, smoking, or running a business in the apartment.

How a cooperative can interfere with the subletting rules

Even though the condominium is “yours”, you are not the official owner. You are only the owner of the co-operative share, so the official owner is the whole co-operative. For this reason, the co-op can interfere with the rules of subletting its apartment.

You need the co-op’s consent to sublet the apartment. You should preferably tell the co-op in writing well in advance that you plan to sublet the apartment. The housing association can forbid subletting without giving a reason or withdraw its consent at any time. In addition, the cooperative can modify the subletting rules directly in the statutes, where it can allow subletting or prohibit it altogether. It may also require you to pay an administration fee for subletting.

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If you resort to subletting in spite of disagreement or fail to inform the cooperative, you could face expulsion from the cooperative in the extreme case. An exception to this rule is if you continue to live in the flat and sublet only part of it (e.g. one bedroom). In this case, the cooperative cannot ban you from subletting.

From legal practice: you need the consent of the cooperative to sublet a cooperative flat

A housing association in South Bohemia had a bad experience with subtenants, so they forbade the owners to sublet their flats to strangers. Most of the co-op members lived peacefully in the building, so the rule worked.

However, we were approached by Mr. Jiří, who lived alone in a large apartment and wanted to sublet one room over the summer. The chairman of the cooperative refused to allow him to do so. He said he would not make exceptions or the whole cooperative would fall apart. Nice argument, isn’t it?

However, we pointed out to Mr. Jiří that, although the general rule is that a co-op member must have the co-op’s consent to sublet “his” co-op apartment, the co-op’s consent is not required if the co-op member permanently lives in the apartment himself.

Tip: Not sure if you are in the right when dealing with a housing association? Or do you think someone has taken the wrong legal action against you? Talk to us about representing you at a meeting of condo association members.

So Mr Jiří could easily sublet part of the apartment for the summer without breaking any rules. But if you are buying an apartment as an investment, this example should be a warning to you.

Are you solving a similar problem?

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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