The subleasing lowdown
There are plenty reasons as to why you might need to leave town at some point in your life. A nice, long vacation, a job opportunity that arises before your lease term is up, or a few month of traveling for either business or pleasure can burn a hole in your budget. Unless… you consider subleasing.
Subleasing your apartment can be a good way to keep a few extra dollars in your pocket. It can also be a path to disaster if you don’t choose carefully your subtenants and don’t respect the particulars of your agreement with your landlord and the legal codes where you live. Let’s see how it’s done.
The first step would be to review your current lease and check for the rules for subleasing. If such rules don’t exist, contact your landlord. Even though it’s tempting to avoid asking (out of fear of being rejected), it’s wiser as sneaking in a sublease can backfire. Who knows what can happen while you’re away. If you get caught subleasing without the landlord’s permission, you could return home to an eviction notice.
If your landlord gives you permission to sublease, your second step will be to find someone trustworthy to live in your space. You can place ads in the local newspaper, use social media to spread the news, if you live in a college town, the school’s housing office might be of help to you, and if you have roommates, you can involve them in the process.
The next step (after you’ve found the subtenant) will be to mirror your own move-in—sign a lease and take a deposit. Remember the steps you took with your landlord. Do a walk through with the tenant and agree to the terms of the arrangement (deposit amount too!). Take photos of the apartment to accompany the inspection to confirm the condition. Remove all personal items of substantial financial or sentimental value; store them at a friend’s house or get a storage unit for while you are away.
In case you have certain things your sub-tenant should know about—like problems with the dripping shower that needs a strong hand to keep it from dripping, leave written directions. Even though you have mentioned all of them during the walk through, it will be nice for your tenant to have specific instructions to use if problems arise. Put there your contact information, the building management and the local emergency numbers that might come handy, especially if your tenant is new to the area.
Experienced sub-leasers advice that it is a good idea to specify in the agreement that a cleaning lady would be paid for by the new tenant (preferably a lady that you already know and trust). You can decide upon the frequency of her visits. This way, not only will you return to a clean apartment, but she can also look after your plants, check on the apartment and if she sees any problems, she can report to you and/or the landlord.
Any other advice you can share in the comments field?