Subletting | DO’s and DON’Ts

Subletting, essentially, is renting part or all of your leased property to another person or entity. Legally speaking, this does not just mean having someone take over your lease when you leave town for a few months. Subleasing also applies when you add someone to your lease (i.e. a significant other or a new roommate). However, unless your lease contains specific subleasing information, then you need to first seek clarification from your landlord or else you could find yourself in a sticky legal situation. And let’s be real, how many twenty somethings can afford to keep an attorney on retainer? To save you money and paperwork, check out the list below!

Understand the Legality

When you sublease to someone, you are entering into an official legal relationship with them. Both of you are contractually bound to the terms of the sublease- so make sure you understand who and what parties and terms are involved.

Second, you are still bound by the terms of your lease to your landlord. Make sure the sublease does not violate these terms.

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If you are leaving town for a few months, it is pointless to switch utilities over to the [sub]leasee’s name. Make sure that the rent you are charging them covers the use of all utilities they will be using during their lease. Set up automatic payments and monitor the account for over usuage.

Research Your Tenant

I don’t care if you are subleasing to your best friend or your best friends mom, if you do not do a background check on this person you are putting all of your assets at risk. If said best friend has a crappy rental record and trashes your place, then you will be out a security deposit and have a tarnish on your rental record.

Get a Security Deposit

You must require a security deposit. The best option is to require the same amount [plus any fees required by your landlord] that you put down on the place.

Worried about accidentally spending the security deposit? Have them write a cashier’s check for you and hold said check for the entirety of their lease.

Above all, you must be able to trust the person you are sub-leasing to. If the person seems sketch, move on to the next tenant.

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