Las Vegas, NV asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for California

Q: Is this illegal?? I'm attempting to rent a condo with a "watered down house hacking" idea.

I want to house hack (buy a property, live in it, rent out the other rooms to pay expenses, cash flow, live for free, etc.) But living in soCal I can't do that yet. So, I was thinking what if I find a 3bd condo, find 2 roommates, furnish the shared spaces with my furniture, bring my Wi-fi plan, and make it so they only have to worry about their own rooms and nothing else. If I make a listing searching for roommates, they agree with me beforehand to pay a certain price, for example $1200 each (average for the area), while the total rent is $3100 (I pay $700), could I make separate leases with the landlord so the other tenants don’t know how much less I’m paying? I’m setting up the entire situation at a similar price they would get somewhere else, they agreed to the $1200 from the listing, everyone’s legally bound with their separate leases, the landlord gets paid every month, and it’s not exactly house hacking, but it saves me money. Is that illegal?

1 Lawyer Answer
Jonathan Purcell
Jonathan Purcell
  • Licensed in California

A: The enterprise you are suggesting is a sublease. It is done on different scales from residential real estate, to large retail establishments. I suggest you find a model residential sublease or two on the internet, and read through the legalese, while keeping in mind that every problem the sublease describes has occurred to many people. Keep an eye on who is responsible for the many forms of liability.

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