How To Sublet Your Apartment

August 23rd, 2006 by

So you’ve got a new job in a different town, or maybe you’re moving in with your significant other. Perhaps a flight of fancy has gripped you and you’ve decided to embark on a whirlwind journey across the world. Regardless of the reason, you need to move out of your apartment, and you want to find someone to sublet your apartment for the remainder of your lease term, or for as long as you’ll be away from the apartment. What do you need to know and do in this situation? The following tips will help you create a successful sublease experience.

Step one: Landlord approval

Most apartment lease contracts specify that sublease arrangements are permissible only with prior landlord approval. Review your lease to determine if this is the case in your situation, and if so, chat with your landlord to find out what information is necessary for your landlord to approve your potential sublessee as a tenant. The subletting party may need to go through an application process, or the landlord may simply accept his or her tenancy based on an interview or just your word. Find out what your landlord is looking for in a sublease arrangement, and then embark upon a quest to find the perfect person to sublet your place. Make sure to determine whether your landlord will agree to deal with (and accept rent from) your sublessee, or if all arrangements will go through you. Landlords will rarely agree to put a sublessee on the lease, but if you can arrange this, it’s in your best interest—as this will increase your sublessee’s responsibility for rent and apartment maintenance.

Step two: Sublessee search

Subletting your apartment to your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s former roommate’s acquaintance—relying only on word of mouth as his or her proof of reputability as a roommate—is probably not the way to go. Since your name will remain on the lease and you’ll ultimately be responsible for all rent and damages should your sublessee (the person subletting from you) fail to pay up, you want to be absolutely meticulous in your search for someone to sublet the apartment. At the very least, you need to request (and check up on) references and have a personal interview with the subletting candidate.

A potential sublessee should have a good rental history and a plausible reason for wanting to sublet as opposed to starting out a new lease of his or her own. Examples of good reasons for subletting include needing to stay in town for an odd length of time (three months, or eight months, say, which doesn’t fit well with a usual lease term of six months or a year), or wanting to try out a new location without a full lease commitment. Since subletting doesn’t require the sublessee to sign a contract with the landlord, it can be a good way for an individual with a sketchy rental history to take advantage of your good reputation—and ruin it either by failing to pay rent, or by inflicting excessive damages on the apartment. You don’t want your good rental record ruined, so make sure to pick a sublessee that will pay rent on time and treat the apartment as you would treat it. And don’t let desperation drive you into choosing an undesirable subletter—paying rent on two places for a while and locating a good sublessee is a better option than opening yourself up to the potential ravages of a badly behaved renter.

Step three: Agreement negotiation

When planning a sublease with your replacement, you’ll need to agree on several points, including the rent your sublessee will pay and the duration of the sublease. It’s obviously in your best interest to get your sublessee to pay your full share of the rent, but in some cases people offer to pay part of the rent in order to attract people to sublet their apartments. Hopefully you can avoid this technique, but if you do agree to split the rent, make sure it’s absolutely clear who will pay what—and when. You’ll also need to determine whether your sublessee will pay rent directly to your landlord, or to you. Some landlords will not accept rent from individuals not on the lease, so make sure to have this discussion prior to finalizing the sublease agreement.

If you get landlord approval, do background research on your potential sublessee, and make very specific arrangements for your sublease, your subletting experience should be a positive one for everyone involved. Preparation is the key, so think ahead and ask questions before agreeing to a deal. Once you know what you want and need, take action and establish your subletting agreement.

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18 Responses to “How To Sublet Your Apartment”

  1. Guest Says:

    There is a Step 4. How does a subleasing tennant continue to live in the apartment once the lease is over? In other words, how the new tennant renew the lease?

  2. Guest Says:

    We entered into a verbal agreement with a landlord for one year. My roomate did the same. Now she moved out knowing that we would have to move and now loose the deposit of $500.00 Can we hold her liable for the remainder of the rent owed of 7 months? She still owes my other roomate for her share of the deposit we all put down at the begining. How do we handle this as we do not want to move but can not afford the full rent now either and because of her we will loose the deposit. Can the land lord keep our deposit on a verbal agreement?

  3. Guest Says:

    You can post an ad for a sublet within your apartment community on ApartmentRatings.com by visiting:

    http://www.apartments-and-rentals.com/post

  4. Guest Says:

    If you live with someone, does your roomate have to agree on who you let sublet?

  5. Guest Says:

    Yes, your roommate should have a say in the matter. It is not your roommate’s decision to move – you have made that choice. As a result, he/she should get to have an opinion whether you sublet and, if so, whom you sublet to. It’s annoying, I know, but only fair.

  6. Guest Says:

    What if your roommate refuses to live with ANY subletter they do not personally know and demands that you either pay out your rent for the remainder of the lease or absorb the entire cost of the lost deposit if the lease is broken?

  7. Guest Says:

    I live in New York City and I sublet my apartment from someone who was subletting from the owner in a co-op.

    The contract I signed held me in obligation to the sublettor not the owner, and while I was living there, he passed away, transferring responsibility to his brother.

    I continued to have the checks automatically sent and while the brother acknowledged the receipt of the money, he apparently did not send money owed to the owner for those months.

    Since her return, we’ve worked in accord to try and track information on the brother, and we haven’t come up with anything.

    Now, since speaking to a lawyer, the original owner claims it is my legal responsibility to track the brother down.

    Is this accurate considering my contract was originally to the sublettor? What are my rights and responsibilities in this situation?

  8. Guest Says:

    Unless the lease is in your roommates name, I don’t think that they have any legal claim as to who can be enter into the sublease.
    However, out of consideration and to prevent future problems, I would think it desirable to at least have some consent from all parties who will be affected by the arrangement.

  9. Guest Says:

    I want to sublet my apartment for 4 months with all my furnishings and belogings in it. How will I know that these will be well taken care of since the security deposit which is only for the apartment itself will go to the landlord anyway? Thanks for any advice.

  10. Guest Says:

    How does one run an approprite credit check for the given rent?

  11. Guest Says:

    have 2br for rent includes utilities/// 837-6319

  12. Guest Says:

    I am moving in with my boyfriend. He will not be signing the lease because his application was denied by another property. Is there any legal document that he can sign to make him responsible for half of the rent?

  13. Jon Says:

    Unless the lease is in your roommates name, I don’t think that they have any legal claim as to who can be enter into the sublease.
    However, out of consideration and to prevent future problems, I would think it desirable to at least have some consent from all parties who will be affected by the arrangement.

  14. joe d'Asto Says:

    how do you sublet from some one…where do you find a sublet agreement….how do you have security that they will cash your check and then allow you to move in…they could accept money and not allow you in…timing sign sublease, then issue check?

  15. Anonymous Says:

    “There is a Step 4. How does a subleasing tennant continue to live in the apartment once the lease is over? In other words, how the new tennant renew the lease?”

    I’m looking for an article on how to sublet MY apartment… why do I care what happens to the people who rent the apartment from me? There is not a Step 4.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Renewing the lease? Isn’t the lease automatically renewed if no notice is given? It’s easy to sublet the apartment if you want to stay. Normally the landlord will send you a letter or some notification in your mailbox saying, “sign here if you want to remain”, or “check box for if you want to remain and for how long.”

    Silence is golden.

  17. Snag Says:

    try snagmylease.com

  18. Anon Says:

    Be careful not to go into any sublease if nothing is signed. Just left a terrible home I was paying rent in…the person subleasing me pulled me in and I was new at this and did not sign any agreement. I tried to send in an application to the landlord to lease instead and was met by retaliation, intimidation to increase my rent amount, threatening to call police and in the end, violence. I guess the only good thing is that since I never signed I was free to leave in the middle of the night!

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