One way to make sure that your property is safe and earn extra cash while you’re away is to become a subletter. When you sublet to others, you become the a sub-landlord, and assume all the responsibilities that go along with that. Inherent in all sublease agreements are certain risks that you take, because the property is not ultimately yours. However, you want to avoid 3 dangers as much as possible:
1. Subletting Without Permission
You may not think anything of renting your apartment to someone else for a short time, but it is a big deal to your landlord. They’ve entered into a lease agreement with you, and not the person you want to sublet to. They’ve taken the time and expense (in some cases) to run background and credit checks and they feel comfortable renting to you. When you sublet to someone without their permission, they don’t get the benefit of the same assurance.
This can lead to legal action against you, resulting in an eviction and monetary damages. It’s best to get a written statement from your landlord, permitting you to sublet the apartment. If it’s already permitted in your lease agreement, you may only need to notify them and give them the sub-tenant’s name, address and other personal information.
2. Subletting Without a Direct Answer to Your Request
Technically, the landlord should send you a written rejection to sublet your apartment within 30 days of your request. Most lease agreements will treat the landlord’s silence as a consent to sublet. However, you should seek to get an answer one way or another before you become a subletter. You don’t want to find yourself in a subletting dispute with a landlord who will seek many other ways to evict you. Maybe they got extra busy during the month in which you sent your request. Perhaps you failed to send a notice requesting a signature, and the notice got lost in the mail.
Subletting is a large enough issue for both you and the landlord, that you should try to make sure that your landlord is fine with you renting his property to someone else. Once you do get an answer from the landlord, ask to put it in writing so that both of you are legally protected.
3. Subletting to the Wrong Tenant
When you become a subletter, you often entrust your furniture, appliances and many other personal belongings to your sub-tenant’s care. This can be dangerous if you rent to the wrong person. People do take advantage of subletting situations, by stealing from subletters or causing damage to property. Some of your items are easily replaceable, but others are not. You will also be held responsible for damages to the apartment itself, which may go beyond your security deposit.
You can avoid this danger by doing a criminal background check, calling personal references and asking for references from other landlords. You might feel uncomfortable doing this, but it may save you money and heartbreak after the sublease agreement is over.
Subletting your apartment is still a viable option and has advantages for both the subletter and the sub-tenant. If you avoid these 3 dangers, you can protect yourself legally and reap all the benefits of a sublease agreement.