3 Tips for Successful Subletting

Many renters find themselves in a situation where they have an extra room. Maybe you had a roommate move out, or maybe you'll temporarily be living in a different location due to travel or vacation. Either way, you still have a few months left on your lease to pay for whether you live there or not.

Most people can’t and shouldn’t be paying rent on a room that they’re not living in.

If you will have an empty room for at least a month, it’s a great option to sublet the room to another renter. This will help ease your financial burden, while also giving someone else a place to live who is looking for short-term accommodations.

Here’s the easiest way to successfully sublet your room.

Start Early

The earlier you know you will have an open space to rent, the better off you will be. Finding a renter takes time. And finding a quality tenant takes even more time. Start your search early to give yourself the best chance possible of finding a tenant.

There are many options to help you find a renter. Of course there is Craigslist, but this is not always the best option for a number of reasons. Try something like Trulia’s rental section. Airbnb is also a great way to find short-term renters. Just post your property, verify yourself, and wait for renters to request your property. The nice thing about Airbnb is that you can specify the minimum stay duration to avoid people looking to only stay in your place for a few nights. This flexibility is great because you can find someone regardless of the amount of time you need to rent the room out.

Get Permission

No matter what you do, make sure that you get permission from the landlord or property manager before you start listing the room for rent. As the owners, they have a right to know who is living in their house. Plus, most leases have specific rules about subletting. You will have to review the lease and speak with your landlord to find out if subletting is even okay.

Some apartment complexes allow subletting, but the sub-lessee needs to apply and pay rent through the leasing office. Essentially, someone else will be temporarily responsible for paying the rent you owe. Subletting like this will commonly cost you an administrative fee.

Keep it Official

If you end up directly subletting to an individual and don’t go through any apartment complex or Airbnb, make sure you protect yourself. No matter how short the duration of the lease, you should always have a sublease agreement in place that outlines exactly how much the rent will be, when the rent is due, and the duration of the sublet. Many other details should be included, and there are a variety of online resources available to help you get an appropriate agreement.

Even though it’s only temporary, you should still take the time to properly screen the sub-lessee before you sign the sublease. This may seem like a hassle, but the process can be quick and simple. Transunion offers a great tool called SmartMove that allows you to request credit and background check information from applicants in a few minutes. You don’t even have to collect any social security numbers. Simply enter the applicants contact information, and SmartMove will send them a request for you to view their credit information. When the applicant agrees, you will be able to view all the information necessary for you to make a decision. It’s that easy.

The last thing you should consider is to check the applicant’s references. This can be a time-consuming process, but is worth it because of the information you can find out. This is especially important if you are leaving your furnishings in the room for the sub-lessee to use. You should have a clear picture of who you are subletting to.

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Subletting is a great option if you will be traveling for a few months or relocating somewhere before the end of your lease. The last thing you want is to continue paying out of your pocket for an apartment you’re not using. Don’t make the mistake of casually subletting. Make sure you have enough time to find a quality tenant, get permission from your landlord, and have everything in writing so you can protect yourself.

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