What You Should Know About Subletting Your Apartment This Summer

What You Should Know About Subletting Your Apartment This Summer
  • Opening Intro -

    In between booking the flights, packing your bags, and begging your friend to watch your cat while you're away, you may be forgetting about the money you'll be wasting on rent while you gallivant across the world on your summer travels.

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What else can you do? You’ll be back in two months or three months’ time and don’t want to lose the apartment in the meantime. Many college tenants face this conundrum, and most believe their answer lies in subletting an apartment out. Unfortunately, this route isn’t as clear cut as it may seem.

Understanding a Sublease

Before posting advertisements for your room or apartment, it’s important to understand the implications of a sublease. In technical terms, a sublease is a binding agreement between a tenant (you) and the subtenant (another individual). When you decide to sublet, you’re essentially adopting the responsibilities of a landlord. That means you’re in charge if anything should go wrong, and you’re liable for damages and costs incurred by the subtenant.

Your landlord will likely tell you that there are there are tons of awesome reasons to own a rental property, but plenty of disadvantages and scary consequences as well. Keep in mind: you’ll only be privy to the disadvantages if your subtenant should do something wrong. Consider meeting with a lawyer to discuss the consequences; the one time visit and cost will be more than worth the peace of mind.

Do You Have Permission?

Your biggest obstacle lies in getting permission from your landlord. First, assess your lease for any clauses that may bar you from renting out your space. If it’s not explicitly mentioned in your lease, you’ll need to send your landlord a written request for permission. Stay on the right side of the law; don’t call and ask, get it in writing. You want to ensure you’re covered if anything should go awry.

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Don’t forget to check out local policies on subleasing as well and make sure all is squared away before offering up your place to anyone. In some areas, subleasing is prohibited based on ownership type; for example, homes with HOAs don’t usually allow subleases because of certain regulations.

There are also state laws to consider, and a quick google check could save you a whole lot of frustration later. One more quick note: don’t try to lie or hide a subtenant—nine times out of ten you won’t get away with it and you could be dealing with an eviction notice from halfway across the world if your subleasing situation is discovered.

Finding the Right Subtenant

When you begin looking for a subtenant, consider the networks available to you. College is a wonderful time for networking, and this is a situation that can make use of your many connections. Talk to classmates, sorority sisters or fraternity brothers, or people at your job. Almost always you’ll find that someone knows someone looking for some summer digs.

Once you do have a couple of candidates, meet with them and think about the things you’re looking for in a subtenant. You may have to find someone who fits your landlord’s standards, and it’s important to keep this in mind before interviewing. They might request tenant background checks for any person living in their property, and you may find the cost for this check falls on your shoulders.

Figuring Out How Much to Charge

In general, you’ll find you can’t charge a subtenant as much as you’re paying in rent, for a few reasons. One, likely your furniture and all of your things are remaining in the room or apartment for the duration of the sublease, which means they’ll need to store their own items in a public storage facility, often for a steep cost.

Two, you want to be competitive. Talk to friends who are also taking off for the summer and determine what they plan on charging their subtenant. You don’t want to scare off potentially great candidates with an exorbitant rent charge. Remember that regardless of what they pay you, you’re still responsible for the full rent.

If you’re looking to sublet your apartment or room this summer while you’re away from school, consider all facets of the process very carefully. Subletting can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but it must be done by the book. Keep these tips in mind and start looking for a subtenant as early as possible.

Campus Living reference:

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