Question: I’m going out of town for a month and want to sublet my room. How do I go about doing this?
Answer: Subletting is a great option for those traveling or leaving town for a temporary amount of time, and want to save money on their rent. Here are a few steps we suggest you take to successfully sublet your apartment:
- Get Landlord Approval
First check your lease paperwork to see if your landlord or property owner permits subletting your apartment for a given amount of time. If the lease consents, contact your landlord to notify him/her of your plans and get official approval to sublet. Save this email for your records. Request the required paperwork they need you to fill out, and print three copies: one for you to keep, one for the sublet, and one for the landlord.
- Get The Word Out
We always recommend searching for a sublet via word of mouth or social media, to see if someone in your network or a friend of a friend is looking for a temporary place to stay. If that doesn’t work, put up a detailed ad on Craigslist with the rent, requirements and pictures! Facebook is a great (and admittedly sneaky) tool to look up those who contact you, just to get a general impression of the person.
- Meet Your Sublet
Okay so now you’ve found your sublet…high five! While email/text is the norm these days, we recommend you invite the sublet over or meet them at a coffee shop to get to know them in person. Make sure you cover all the logistics, including rent and form of payment, length of stay, maintenance and any building policies, etc. If you’re leaving your furnishings, we advise you discuss a reasonable security deposit too, to cover any potential damage (ideally nothing gets ruined, but just for safe practice!) Ask the sublet if they have any questions and verify that they are committed to subletting your apartment.
Time to make it official. Remember those 3 copies of lease paperwork you printed out in Step 2? This is the part where you and your new sublet fill out and sign each one, so everyone has a copy for their records. Your landlord may also ask for a copy of the sublet’s photo I.D, proof of income, or credit check to make sure they have no bad credit history. Credit checks typically cost $25, so this is another cost you or your sublet will need to account for. We highly recommend drafting up your own personalized sublease agreement too, just to have all your agreed upon logistics in one place and minimize any misunderstanding down the line. Try using Rocket Lawyer–it’s a super cool, easy to navigate site that creates legal documents for you, and your first one is free!
- Payment and Keys
You’ve submitted all your sublease paperwork and your landlord has approved the tenant! CONGRATS! You’re almost there. Now to handle the payment and key exchange. We recommend you collect and deposit the full rent amount before you leave, so payment is taken care of and there’s no messy money business while you’re away. It’s best to request a Cashier’s Check for the security deposit, so should you have to deposit the check for any damage, there’ll be guaranteed funds set aside for when you return. When you meet up to exchange payment, this is also an ideal time to exchange keys with your sublet. Since you probably need your keys up until the last minute, it’s easiest to get a copy cut for a couple bucks and pass that on…just remember to get the keys back at the end of the lease!
Now you’ve followed these steps, you should be set and ready to go on your summer adventure stress and debt free! Best of luck!
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