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Do You Have What It Takes to Sublet?

Maybe you want to make some extra income while on vacation, need someone to help with the rent, or you want to move to a different area without losing the apartment you’re already renting. Whatever your reason, you’re thinking about subletting your place.

Subletting is finding someone to take over your lease, the specifics may differ from case to case. You might want to act as a landlord to the new tenant (also called a sublease), have them as a roommate so that they pay a part of the rent, or completely replace you on the lease.

The Legal Aspect

The first thing you need to figure out if it’s you can legally sublet your apartment. While some landlords don’t mind, others don’t want their tenants renting out their properties (or a portion of the properties) to completely stranges they haven’t even had the time vet. It’s really important that you do this because if your contract forbids subletting and you still do it, you will get in a lot of trouble. Talk it over with your landlord, let them know the reasons you want to sublet and figure out a plan together.

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If you are one of the lucky ones being allowed to legally sublet your apartment, you still want to read up on the local laws and clearly go through your contract. In some places, if the subtenant does some damage to the apartment, you’ll still be liable. Be sure you understand your legal responsibility as a subletter before you let anyone in.

Another thing you want to have legal guidance for is the subletting agreement. Just to be safe, you’ll want to draft a contract similar to the one you have with your own landlord. Make sure you are very specific when outlining the responsibilities and rights of the new tenants.

Choosing the Right Person

To sublet your place you’ll have to go through a similar process to the one your landlord had to go through. You’ll have to interview applicants, do a background check, talk to their previous landlords, and make sure they have enough money to pay rent for at least a year. If you’re just renting a portion of the property, you’ll also want to make sure your personalities don’t clash as you’ll be cohabitating with this person. Generally, you want to make sure of two things:

  • You can thoroughly check the applicant’s background: if they withhold important information, you should proceed with caution. They could be hiding problems with their previous landlords, financial issues, or even some more serious problems.
  • They can provide proof of income: notice that proof of income is not the same as providing money upfront. You don’t want them throwing money at you right away, you want them to show you they’ll be good for at least the duration of their lease and then some.

Remember that the most important thing when subletting is that you aren’t getting into any trouble with your landlord. Be sure you’re respecting both the law and your contract. Don’t try to sublet in secret against your landlord’s wishes.