Smart tips for subletting
In case you need to leave town but don’t want to lose the apartment you’re currently living in, you might be a great candidate for subletting. But before you leap in, it’s advisable that you get the full picture of the risks you might face and what you could do to minimize them.
- Receive permission. If you’re a renter and wish to sublet you place without talking to your landlord first, you could be in violation of the terms of your lease. Yes, that means you could be evicted. Review your lease and talk to your landlord before subletting. The best scenario is the one where you get your landlord’s permission in writing.
- Consider the risks. So, your landlord gave you permission to sublet. However, this does not put you in the clear. Subletting your home can also mean theft and serious damage that you’ll be responsible for. Think hard about this one as there are plenty of horror stories out there about sublets gone awfully wrong.
- Search among non-strangers first. Reach out to your family, friends, work/school colleagues. However, even if someone in your close circle wants to sublet from you, it’s still wise to follow the same steps you would take to make your home ready for a stranger. This means that if priceless piece of furniture you own gets damaged by a good friend or relative, you’ll have to deal with all the broken pieces—of the furniture and your relationship with that person. Save yourself the trouble and take away anything that would upset you seeing scratched, dinged or broken and place them somewhere safe. Better safe than sorry, right?
- Limit your pool of potential renters. Try reaching out to a local university that needs to house visiting professors, for example. See what you can find in your community.
- Put on the landlord coat. Don’t be soft just because you’re offering a short-term rental. You need to be just as careful as a landlord looking for a long-term tenant: ask for a security deposit, check references and have them sign the rental agreement.
- Document your place. Take photos of your home before you sublet it and get a move-in checklist signed. The checklist should contain details about the condition of your place when they move in and when you walk-through the apartment at the end of their stay, hopefully you won’t have any arguments over damages.
- Keep an eye out, even from afar. If possible, have a trusted person available to regularly check on your home and be available to your renter, if anything goes wrong while you are away. You can either pay this person, or take them out for a fabulous dinner when you return.
- Create a reference notebook. It should contain information such as your home’s little quirks, the Wi-Fi password, and day of trash pickup. This is also the perfect place to include the contact info for someone local the renter can reach if anything is wrong, as well as restaurant recommendations, markets and entertainment activities.
- Be at peace with your decision. Review everything from options to risks before committing to subletting your home. There are, of course, guidelines you can set, but if the idea makes you nervous, don’t do it.