Subletting, also known as subleasing, is the process in which you find someone to move into your apartment for a preset period of time and live there in your place. This could be for many reasons: you may want to travel for a while, move across the country to look after older family members, or just get some space from your current roommate without having to break your lease. Whatever your reasons for subletting might be, these handy tips are sure to make it easier on you.
Make Sure It’s Your Best Option
Subleasing might be the best option for you if you have a while left on your lease and can’t afford to pay for an empty property. Breaking a lease can lead to all manner of issues with the landlord — not to mention even bigger things like your credit score — so it’s usually best to avoid doing so unless absolutely necessary. If you only have a month or so left on the lease, you may decide that you’d rather pay for an empty place than go through all the effort of finding someone to sublet from you. Of course, having someone living in the unit for that one month will do a much better job of deterring potential apartment robberies. Subletting could also be a good option for you if you plan to move back into the apartment after a short period of time (for example, if you’re a student going back home for the summer but want to keep hold of the apartment for the next school year).
Check Your Local Laws
Once you’ve decided that you want to sublet, you’ll need to ensure that it’s actually legal to do so. Depending on your state, you may not even need permission from the landlord to sublet. Some states, however, like Texas, have explicitly stated that subletting is prohibited, and that during the term of a lease, the tenant may not rent their unit to any other person without the prior consent of the landlord. There may also be rules about how much rent you can charge someone you’re subletting to, or how long you’re allowed to sublet your apartment for. It’s important to check all of these aspects out before you fully commit.
Check Your Rental Agreement
Now that you’ve looked at the local laws, it’s time to look at your rental agreement. Never try to hide the fact that you’re subletting from your landlord, and if your contract specifically prohibits it and you don’t live in a state where you have the absolute right to sublet, don’t do it. It risks you being in direct violation of the lease, likely giving your landlord the grounds to immediately initiate eviction proceedings.
Draft Legal Documents With Your Landlord
You’ve already figured out if you need to get the landlord’s permission to sublet your apartment, so now is the time to do so. At the very least, it’s courteous to inform them of your intent to sublet even if you don’t need their permission. This way they’re aware of who will be living in their property at all times, and no issues will occur relating to them not knowing.
Don’t just rely on a chat and a handshake to agree on the terms of the sublet with your landlord. Formalize them in writing. In addition to the amount of rent the subletter will be paying per month, you’ll also want to include the length of time you’ll be subletting the apartment, and the way by which the money is to be transferred between parties. Don’t forget, you and your roommate are still going to be the ones responsible for paying your landlord on time, so you want to ensure that you have as much protection as you can get.
Find the Right Subletter
It may be helpful for you to have a screening process to make sure the person you end up subletting to is actually a good fit for your current roommate. Because you’re liable for rent and damages to the property even while you’re away, you always have to be careful about who you sublet to. The ideal tenant would be someone you already know to be trustworthy, but unfortunately that option’s not always realistic. While it can be tempting to sublet as quickly as possible to get yourself out of a jam, you need to remember to properly background check any potential tenant, as you’re going to be held responsible for their actions.
Catalog the Furniture
Most of the time people sublease their apartments, they leave pretty much all the furniture behind. For that reason, it’s important to make sure you jot down details of each piece and belonging you’re leaving, as well as what condition they’re in. This can help a ton in cases of damage or destruction of property by the subletter.
Set Some Ground Rules
This is especially important if you like your current apartment and plan to live there for a while to come. You want to make sure that the subletter follows all the rules of your rental agreement, as well as any additional rules your roommate and you may stipulate. This could include things like allowing pets or smoking in the apartment.
Leave the apartment neat and tidy for the subletter when you move out so they know how you’d prefer it to be kept. Create guidelines for yourself as a landlord, too. For instance, be sure to extend them the courtesy that your landlord gives you of not dropping by unannounced. After all, just because you’re technically their landlord doesn’t mean you have the right to just turn up. You want to keep your sub-tenant happy, so give them as much notice as possible if you do plan on stopping by when you’re not living there.
There are many benefits of subletting your apartment to someone else while you live elsewhere, but there are also many drawbacks. It may not be the right choice for you, or it may be the perfect decision. Either way, you’re bound to have an easy time with it as long as you follow these tips.