Rental Life > View Article
To Sublease or Not to Sublease: That is the Question
by Kari Lamanuzzi

Subleasing a great way to leave your apartment for a few months without having to pay for the rent and utilities while you're gone. With that said, if you're not careful you can get yourself into quite a bit of trouble.

First and foremost, you need to check with your landlord and find out if it's okay for you to sublease your apartment. If he or she says it's okay, get it in writing. In many cases, this subject is addressed in your lease already. Even if it's written in your lease that subletting isn't allowed, it can never hurt to ask your landlord anyway. Unless otherwise specified, the new tenant will be paying rent to you (and you'll still pay the rent like you normally do, to the landlord).

Once you have the okay to sublet, it's time to look for the right person to take over your place for a few months. I can't emphasize enough that it's important to be picky in this process. Unless you move all of your stuff out before you leave (which kind of defeats the whole purpose of subletting), the person you pick (and his or her friends) will be sleeping in your bed, watching your TV and sitting on your couch. Even if you get a security deposit first, it doesn't guarantee that you won't suffer a loss through the process.

There are obviously a lot of potential drawbacks to subletting your apartment. Your stuff could get stolen or broken, you could get stiffed on the rent or any number of other things. Still, if you do a good job screening the people who want to live in your place, those risks can be minimized. If you pick the right person, subletting can your apartment while you're gone can save you a ton of cash.

So, post your listing on our site, put fliers on bulletin boards, advertise in a paper or whatever you need to do to get some candidates. Then, weed them out like crazy. Ask for references (and check them! Now's not the time to be lazy!), interview them and ask for a security deposit that is at least one month's rent. If you have any pets that you won't be taking with you, make sure the person is okay with taking care of the animal. If you have a pet that you will be taking with you, make sure the person doesn't have any allergies that the leftover hair may irritate.

Next comes the time where you negotiate who pays the utilities. Because they're already in your name and you'll be coming back, they'll probably stay in your name while you're gone. Also, because the person is only staying there for a few months (and, in a way, is kind of doing you a favor by paying your rent for you), it's not uncommon for them to expect you to pick up the utility tab.

Of course, start out by asking that the subleasee pay for all utilities. If the candidate is against this, maybe ask to split them. It's important that you not let a good candidate go just because of a utility bill. Remember that while you may be footing some of the costs, the peace of mind that goes along with having your first choice ofsubletter staying in your place is well worth it.

Once everything is settled, it's time for the two of you to sign on the dotted line. You can draw up the agreement yourself, or you can do a quick Internet search and find a sublease contract. While it may seem like a formality not going through, in the event that things go wrong you're going to want that piece of paper.

Moving In
Living There
Moving Out
click here to close this message