What's the difference between sublet, subleasing and subletting? Are they all words for the same thing? If sublet is the name of the person who takes over, is that the same as subletor?

  • What jurisdiction you are inquiring about?
    – Mr_V
    Feb 25, 2016 at 14:46

3 Answers 3


Let and lease are variations of the same word; the former is more common in British English and the latter more common in American English.

Leasing is the verb form of lease.

Adding sub to any of them just moves the arrangement down from being between the owner and the tenant to being between a tenant and a (sub)tenant.

  • 1
    To be fair, lease is a verb, just in a different form to leasing.
    – jimsug
    Feb 22, 2016 at 12:13
  • Not sure if it's true or not, but here it says sublet is only for short term, like when you're going on vacation forum.wordreference.com/threads/to-sublease-or-to-sublet.709858 Feb 22, 2016 at 12:59
  • Colloquially, residential subletting in the US often lacks a lease agreement, whereas subleasing would usually imply a written agreement.
    – Tom
    Feb 22, 2016 at 16:45
  • @jimsug actually lease is a verb and a noun, I was thinking of the arrangement as a whole, the lease between two people which is a noun the way marriage is.
    – Dale M
    Feb 22, 2016 at 19:24

This answer relates to U.S. law only.

What's the difference between sublet, subleasing and subletting? Are they all words for the same thing?

Yes, they are different words for the same concept and have identical meanings.

Looking at the root words, let and lease may help to dispell some confusion. An authoritative legal dictionary, Black's Law Dictionary (10th edition 2014), defines them as follows:

  • let vb. - To offer (property) for lease; to rent out. The hospital let office space to several doctors.

  • lease vb. 1. To grant the possession and use of (land, buildings, rooms, movable property, etc.) to another in return for rent or other consideration. The city leased the stadium to the football team. 2. To take a lease of; to hold by a lease. Carol leased the townhouse from her uncle.

So, in the legal context, subletting and subleasing are both used to talk about the same same concept leasing property to a third party.

If sublet is the name of the person who takes over, is that the same as subletor?

Subletor is not commonly used in the practice of law–sublessor is favored. However, they have the same meaning. A subletor / sublessor is the person who is making the sublease.

When it comes to legal jargon, an old professor gave me a tip to help decipher some of the terms used in contract/property law. The person ending in -or is the one doing the action of the root work. The word ending in -ee is the person receiving it.

  • Yeah -- this is not correct. The differences is in the actual contract, and what is expected is of course depending on the jurisdiction. In the UK a Lease Hold is a common form of "property" -- that is the land is Leased for a number of years, but the contract which is the Lease Hold can be sold as a derivative form of property and transferred from one owner to a next. Renting agreement have usually no such provisions. So in short Renting and Leasing should NOT be expected to be the same.
    – Soren
    Feb 25, 2016 at 2:00
  • @Soren I believe my answer is correct under U.S. law. Yours is correct under U.K. Law.
    – Mr_V
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:15

In the UK as an example of jurisdiction . . .

Sublet is a renting agreement.

Sublease is a leasing agreement.

The difference is in the contractual commitments -- see this for a side-by-side comparison.

A Leasehold created through a leasing agreement can be a derivative asset, which can be bought and sold in the same ways stock market derivatives can be bought and sold on the stock market.

A renting agreement on the other hand, does not create a derivative asset or property rights.

A lease is typically for a fixed period of time -- for example 12 months for office space, or 99 years for land use. Where renting is typically from month to month.

  • I slightly disagree with your answer. Rent is what you pay your landlord. It can be money, goods, or services. I think of rent as payment. In the vast majority if leases its money. Lease agreement, sublease agreement, and a sublet agreement are contracts to have use of a property. You could even call it a rental agreement; however, while "rental agreement" is the same as a lease, it is not the same as rent.
    – Mr_V
    Feb 24, 2016 at 15:28
  • My answer is no way equating Rent and Renting as being the same. Renting is an agreement, and Rent is as you point out is the payment (against a renting agreement). There are contractual differences between a Lease and a Renting Agreement -- the jurisdiction may make a difference as to what is typical in each type of agreement, but as an example, in the UK a Lease Hold can be sold where the Renter cannot sell Rented property. A Lease Hold is asset.
    – Soren
    Feb 25, 2016 at 1:56

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