The Complete Guide to Subletting Your Apartment

The Complete Guide to Subletting Your Apartment

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By Logan Livers, Storage.com

Whenever you’re changing homes, you have a lot to think about. Let Storage.com help you navigate the process with tips on buying, selling, or renting, or with some additional space to help along the way.

Occasionally, people will need to move out of a rental property before their lease expires. Whether you need to move for a new job opportunity, college break, traveling abroad, or any other reason, life doesn’t always coincide perfectly with a set lease agreement. When breaking a lease isn’t financially feasible, tenants often turn to subletting their apartment so they can move out before the end of the lease without draining their bank accounts.

The subleasing process can be foreign territory for many renters, and things can go poorly when not done the right way. When subletting an apartment to a new tenant, the original leaseholder is held liable for the property so it’s extremely important to take the proper precautions when you choose to sublease. If you need to sublet your apartment, make sure you follow these important steps.

1. Gain Permission to Sublet

Before you start planning to move out and sublease your apartment, you’ll first need to get the proper permission from everyone involved with the space. That means you should not only seek permission from your landlord, but you need to double-check with your roommates, if applicable.

lease agreement

Learn about Your Leasing Options

  • Make sure your lease agreement doesn’t explicitly ban subletting, because if it does then you won’t have any option other than breaking your lease.
  • If you have the option to sublet, you’ll want to get your landlord’s permission in writing before pursuing a potential subtenant. Tangible proof of their permission will help you avoid any legal fiascos in the future.

Check with Your Roommates

  • If you have roommates who are on the lease you’ll need to talk with them about subleasing your room. If they aren’t okay with someone else moving in, you shouldn’t sublet.
  • If they are okay with you subletting your room, they’ll likely want to be involved in selecting their new roommate.

2. Find a Trustworthy Tenant

Once you’ve gained permission to sublet your apartment space to another tenant, you’ll need to search for someone who is willing to take over the space.

Start with Friends and Family

Your first option when subletting your apartment is to find a family member or friend that can move in and take over the lease. This is always the easiest transition, and you’ll know if they can be trusted or not.

  • Do you know anyone who could use a temporary place to stay? Check on social media to see what’s going on and if any of your friends or family members are apartment hunting.
  • What about your roommates? Do they know anyone looking for a new place? They would probably prefer to live with someone that they already know.

Set Up Your Apartment for Pictures and Showings

If you can’t find anybody you already know to take over the lease, you’ll have to get started on finding a suitable subtenant. The first step is to make sure your apartment looks as nice as possible so you can really impress potential tenants. Here are some tips for making your apartment a desirable place to sublet:

  • Clean It Up: Seriously, you’ll want to clean like your damage deposit depends on it. By cleaning your apartment, you’ll be able to put your best foot forward when showing it off. For pictures and showings, you’ll want everything to be in pristine condition.
  • Rearrange Furniture: Arrange your furniture in a way that shows off what the space is capable of. Create separate areas in each room, like a cozy reading area in your living room, if possible. The more you do with the space, the larger it will look.
  • Take Great Pictures: It won’t matter how good your apartment looks if you take unflattering pictures of the space. Take pictures during the day to take advantage of natural lighting and to make the space seem more cheerful. Keep angles and framing in mind, and you should be able to take some attractive pictures that really show off the space.

Searching for a Tenant

Once you’ve gotten your apartment ready for showcasing, it’s time to get the word out about your available space and find a suitable tenant. There are plenty of methods for getting the word out, including posters and flyers. Here are some valuable online resources that can help you find a tenant.

Listing Your Apartment

  • Craigslist: Craigslist is a really helpful and free resource that allows you to post your apartment listing online. When listing your apartment, fill out as much information as possible so people can easily find your listing when they filter the results to fit their needs. Upload plenty of pictures and list every amenity you have at your property. If you plan on renting out the property fully furnished, you’ll want to pitch that as well. Also be sure to provide a reliable way for interested people to contact you.
  • Sublet.com: Sublet.com is an online marketplace completely dedicated to subletting rental properties. Landlords and tenants can create their own accounts and many people look through the site to find a place to sublet. Again, when creating your listing, you want to be as thorough as possible so tenants know exactly what to expect from the space and can find you in advanced searches.

woman interviewing leasing applicant

Evaluating Tenants

If you get some interest, you’ll want to interview potential subtenants to make sure they can be trusted to live in a space that you’re still responsible for. If they damage the property or don’t pay rent you will be held responsible, so this is an important step. You can protect yourself by properly evaluating potential tenants.

  • Involve your roommates in the evaluation process, since they’ll be the ones living with the new tenant.
  • Ask for a sample pay stub to prove that they can afford the rent every month. To ensure that you won’t get stuck paying for the rent yourself, you’ll want their monthly income to be at least two and half times the cost of rent.
  • Make sure you ask important questions like when they are looking to move in, if they have pets, and if they’ll be able to provide a damage deposit along with the first rent payment. Their answers should give you a good idea of how responsible they are. For example, if they can’t afford the damage deposit right away they may not be in a great financial situation.
  • You’ll also want to ask if they’ll consent to a credit and background check. Written permission is required to run these checks, and they can give you a great idea of how trustworthy they’ll be as a tenant. If you’ve never run a credit check before, here is a great resource on how to run a credit check on a potential tenant.
  • Ask potential tenants for references from their employer and former (or current) landlords and take the time to contact them.

3. Sign a Written Agreement

Make the sublease official between you, the landlord, and the new resident by signing a written agreement. Even if you’re subleasing the apartment to a friend or family member, you’ll want to sign a written agreement to make sure that everything is legally documented.

man signing sublease agreement

 

  • Use a website like RocketLawyer to find a legitimate legal form that pertains to your state’s laws and regulations about subletting.
  • You may want to collect a security deposit from your subtenant to cover any damages they may cause to the property. Otherwise, the costs will come out of your own damage deposit since you’re still liable for the property.
  • Take photos of the space prior to the sublease to establish the condition of the apartment or house before they move in. This will give you substantial proof if they try to refute your claims of damage done while they were living there.
  • Before you take off, make sure the subtenant has an easy way to contact you, the landlord, and maintenance if any issues arise in the future.

4. Move Out

man moving boxes into a storage unitNow you’re all set to move out! If you’re subleasing your apartment so you can move to a new city or study abroad, you may need a place to store your belongings either for a short or long period of time.  If nobody you know has enough space to put up with all of your things, a storage unit is a great solution when you need to stow personal belongings during a sublease arrangement.

Even if you plan to return to your apartment, you’ll need to clear your personal belongings out of the space for a temporary amount of time for the new tenant. With flexible leases and affordable monthly rates, self storage can give you the ability to manage your household items when you sublet your apartment.

Do you need to find a storage unit near you?

Reserve and rent self storage in minutes at Storage.com.

Where to Keep Belongings While Subletting Your Apartment

Where to Keep Belongings While Subletting Your Apartment

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By Stephanie Hyland, Storage.com

Whenever you’re changing homes, you have a lot to think about. Let Storage.com help you navigate the process with tips on buying, selling, or renting, or with some additional space to help along the way.

After you have reviewed the guidelines of your lease agreement with your landlord and have found a trustworthy tenant, it’s time to prep your place for the future occupant who will be subletting your home. Whether your tenant will be living there for four weeks or four months, you want to make sure the space is presentable, welcoming, and has enough room for the items they are bringing with them. Where do you start?

After sifting through drawers and scanning the shelves, you realize that your closets are full of seasonal items and the corners of your house are packed with recreational equipment and extra pieces of furniture that will just be in the way for the incoming tenant. Where are you going to put everything? To ensure your items are secure and out of your future tenant’s way, invest in a self storage unit!

Flexible Lease Agreements and Payment Plans

Individuals sublet their homes for a variety of reasons and lengths of time. If you are planning on subletting your apartment for only a couple of months, find a local storage facility that allows flexible lease agreements or month-by-month rental agreements. By finding a storage facility that offers this type of lease agreement, you can be sure that you will not have to pay for a storage unit longer than you need it.

To make paying rent on your storage unit easier, consider a facility that offers an online payment plan. This way, you can avoid late fees and will be able to pay for your storage unit wherever you are.

Finding the Right Size Storage Unit for You

When it comes to putting your belongings in storage, you want to make sure you rent the right size unit in order to avoid paying for more space than you need or not reserving enough room. Before you rent a unit, take an inventory of all of the items inside your home that will need to be moved into the unit. Measure key pieces and use your inventory and measurements to estimate how much space you will need. The list of items that are in storage will also come in handy if you are ever looking for a specific item and cannot remember if you put it in storage or left it in the space you are subletting.

If you only need a little extra space to store a seasonal wardrobe or decor, a 5×5 unit, a unit the size of a walk-in closet, will give you the 50 extra square feet of storage space you are looking for. If you need to store extra furniture that your future tenant will not be using, a 5×10 or a 10×10 unit will do the trick. Both sizes can fit at least a mid-size bedroom and still have room for boxed items.

For more information about what you can fit in various sizes of storage units, use our storage unit size guide.

Invest in a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

If you’re going to be storing wood furniture, artwork, photos, electronics, delicate materials, or anything that is temperature sensitive, it’s important that you invest in a climate-controlled storage unit. These units are kept between 55–85°F year-round and the humidity level is regulated. By leaving your environmentally sensitive items in a climate-controlled storage unit, you can avoid having to replace expensive items because they were damaged by fluctuating temperatures or moisture.

Become Familiar with Security Features

When you’re leaving your belongings in a storage unit while you’re subletting your home, you want to make sure that they are as protected as possible. Many self storage facilities offer 24-hour video surveillance and personalized gated access. If you’re looking for additional security measures, research self storage facilities in your area that offer on-site management or alarmed units.

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