Yes, subletting your apartment is a great way to recoup some of your rental cost if you need to relocate suddenly or leave for a short period of time. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that subletting is easy or free of any issues.
Things can come up, and it’s best to be prepared. So, if you’re planning on subletting your current apartment, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are five things you should know before letting that friend or stranger take over your apartment.
1. Ensure that you have permission.
First things first, it’s important that you confirm that you’re actually able to sublet your apartment. Some complexes have rules and restrictions in place in order to prevent subletting to someone new. So, page through your lease or set up a chat with your landlord to ensure that subletting is a realistic (and legal!) option for you.
2. Loop in your roommates.
If you currently live with roommates, you’ll also want to have a conversation with them about your desire to sublet. Perhaps they’re uncomfortable with the idea of living with a stranger. Or, maybe they have some criteria they’d like you to keep in mind when looking for an adequate subletter. Regardless, it’s important that you involve your roommates in the process. You need your landlord’s permission, but you should want your roommates to give you the go-ahead as well. After all, they’re the ones who will be living with the new person—not you.
3. Determine a fair price.
Sure, it would be great if your subletter could cover your entire rent payment. But, in most cases, that’s a pipe dream. Subletters typically pay for 70-80% of the full rental cost, unless your apartment is located in a college town or a large, metropolitan area with a high cost of living. So, do some research of comparable apartments in your area in order to determine a price that’s fair to both you and the subletter. You definitely want to have the price set before ever listing the apartment for rent.
4. Consider a security deposit.
It’s important to remember that you’ll be responsible for any damages or issues in the apartment—even though you’re subletting. So, similarly to how you needed to pay a security deposit when you moved in, you might also want to consider requiring a security deposit from your subletter. This upfront payment would cover any damages or problems that occur. And, if you’re lucky enough to have nothing happen, your subletter can receive that payment back when they vacate your residence.
5. Document everything.
Even if you’ve vetted tons of candidates and did the legwork to find the perfect subletter, bad things can still happen. So, it’s important that you’re prepared with plenty of documentation. Ask your landlord if they have an existing contract in place for subletters. If not, you should create one yourself. Also, walk around your apartment and take plenty of photos before your subletter moves in. That way, you have concrete proof of any damage that might occur during their stay.
Subletting always involves some risk. So, you want to make sure you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s in order to give you the greatest chance of a successful experience. Keep these five things in mind, and you’ll be well on your way!
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