How to Sublet Your Apartment

Author: Lauren Ross

Key with house on wooden desk

Sometimes in life you may find yourself in need of a subtenant. Subletting an apartment is ideal for many situations, including a college kid going home on break, an out-of-state job offer, or a couple’s engagement just to name a few. Whatever the motive may be, you have to find someone to help pay the rent while you’re away. If you’re looking to sublet your apartment, here are a few tips to do it successfully:

Check the Lease & Seek Permission 

Before you begin looking for a subtenant, carefully read over the rental agreement you signed at the beginning of move-in to see if subletting is allowed.  Seek permission first from your landlord, even if the agreement states that subleasing is okay.  A letter of request detailing the reason for subletting should be given in-person to your landlord at least 60 days prior to moving out. The content of the request should have your date of leave and return, a proposed sublet agreement, qualifications of the prospective new tenant, and any addendums worth adding. Written consent of roommates should also be noted in the letter and signed by each of them.

Look for a Suitable Subtenant

There are many ways to scout potential subtenants for your apartment. A big way to market and advertise your apartment is through your social networks. Ask your family and friends to spread the word about your apartment. Roommates are good sources for seeking prospective tenants; they may know a friend or acquaintance looking for a temporary place. When you have found your subtenant, verify them through a background and credit check. Even if it’s someone close to you, checking their background and rental history is a good way to determine if they’re a reliable candidate to live in your apartment. Remember, you’re still held liable for the rental, so you want someone responsible in your place.

Produce a Sublease Agreement

Protect yourself by having the new tenant sign a sublease agreement form. There are some states that protect tenants from unruly subtenants. Unfortunately, there are also some states that do not have those laws in place – so check your local laws to find out if you’re protected.  Landlords and roommates should approve of the terms and conditions within the sublease before it’s put into action. The content of the agreement should clearly state the date of your leave and return, the subtenant’s responsibilities, and repercussions of breaking the lease. You may want to consider adding a security deposit clause as well as before pictures of the apartment in case of damages.

Establish the Apartment Rent Price

You’re going to want to set your apartment rate competitively to attract renters. To make the listing pop, try adding an incentive to entice the prospective tenant to act fast, such as paid utilities or free rent for the first month. When you’re contemplating how much to charge, check with your local laws about pricing regulations as they may be different state to state. Clearly express on the listing what percent of utilities you and your subtenant are responsible for so there is no confusion.