When a person signs something agreeing to rent a space for a given amount of time, what's the difference between the person subletting, assigning and subleasing the space? One particular thing I'm unclear on is if a person assigns their unit to a new tenant, does that mean the original tenant is completely off the hook with the landlord? If a tenant who has signed a year long lease wants to move out early and be rid of as much responsibility as possible, which option is best for them?

I'm interested in getting a general sense, but if I must specify I'm looking at residential in BC Canada.

  • 1
    If this is at all related to previous questions you've asked, you're under no obligation to do any of these things. I say this in the context where you are renting a room with common facilities. This question is separate and valid, but you have to make sure that you're legally defined as a "tenant" in the first place, because if you are not, then the answer to your question is that you're already off the hook.
    – user900
    Oct 5, 2015 at 12:59
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    @TechnikEmpire this question is entirely separate and the questions I have asked in the past have been about various locations and some hypothetical situations, so please don't try to connect the dots :)
    – Alex
    Oct 5, 2015 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


As per the province's website


When the original tenant allows someone (the sub-tenant) to live in their rental unit and pay the rent for all or part of the term of the tenancy agreement.

In this situation, a new tenancy agreement (a sublease), must be signed by both the original tenant and the sub-tenant. The original tenant then becomes the sub-tenant’s landlord – both this relationship and the one with the original landlord involve enforceable rights and responsibilities. The sub-tenant only has the same rights and obligations outlined in the original tenancy agreement – the agreement with the sub-tenant cannot contradict the original tenancy agreement.


When the original tenant finds someone to take over the tenancy agreement – usually to get out of a fixed-term tenancy early or when transferring ownership of a manufactured home. In these cases, the new tenant assumes all of the rights and responsibilities under the original tenancy agreement – unless the landlord and new tenant agree to new terms or a sign a new agreement.

TL;DR sublet is where original tenant continues to pay the landlord, but the person who now lives in the dwelling pays the original tenant. Original tenant is still responsible to the landlord in subletting. Assigning is where original tenant is completely excused, and the person replacing him takes over all responsibilities and deals directly with the landlord.

I think in BC subleasing is considered the same as subletting.

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