The College Student’s Ultimate Guide to Subletting

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Subletter Keys

Subletting your room or apartment can be a great way to save money when you need to go away for a month or two.  Perhaps you’ve gotten that awesome summer internship you’d been crossing your fingers for or are unexpectedly studying abroad for a semester. Whatever the reason, giving your room out to someone else keeps you from paying full rent when you’re not occupying the place. Sadly, the subletting process can be really intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s why we’ve created this simple step-by-step subletting guide. Enjoy!


1) Consult Your Landlord

Every landlord approaches the subletting process differently. Subletting parameters are usually outlined in your original lease. If nothing else, it’s common courtesy to let your landlord know that you’re trying to sublease your home and/or room. Sometimes the landlord requires you to sign a contract that states you will take responsibility for any costs left or damages caused by the subletter. Other times the landlord will have the candidate sign a separate lease altogether. Regardless, let your landlord know what’s going on and read your lease carefully.

2) Talk to Your Roommates

If you’re looking to sublet your room while your roommates are still in residence, then they have a right to know what’s going on. After all, they’re the ones who are going to live with the person! Discuss what they’re looking for in a potential roommate, what their fears are, any boundaries, etc. Though you shouldn’t select a person based purely on your roommates’ wants and needs, it’s important to take these things into account when selecting a candidate.

College Girl on Computer

3) Determine Your Price

Okay, so you’ve gotten the clear to sublet from both your landlord and your roommates. How do you figure out what you’re going to charge the lucky person who gets your room or home? Figuring out the price is important, because it determines how much money you’re going to save and how likely you are to net a subletter. You can try to ask for full rent, but you may not generate any interest this way. Research other sublet prices in your area and go from there. If you live in a college town, it’s important to price your sublet aggressively. These subletters will have a wide variety of places to choose from, so price your sublet on the lower end. Give them an offer that they can’t refuse! If you want your full rent paid, then offer to chip in a little extra for the first month’s utilities. You want to make them feel like they’re getting a good deal.

4) Advertise Your Sublet

Now that you have all the details of the sublet worked out, it’s time to find a subletter! This can be way more difficult than it sounds, particularly if you live in a college town. Again, having a competitive price is a good way to make yourself stand out among the rest. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth, especially on college campuses. But if you’re looking to cover all your bases, you have several advertising options at your disposal. Print out some fliers to post around campus, preferably with little informative tags at the bottom that people can tear off on the go. Craigslist is also a fantastic (and free) resource for advertising your sublet. Some Colleges and Universities also have free listing services that students can participate in. This is a great way to advertise your place to other college students, instead having completely random people answering your ads.

Talking to Subletter

5) Evaluate Your Candidate

If your landlord has left it up to you to find the subletter, then it’s important that you think like a landlord before giving away the keys to your place. Make sure you meet up with the person who’s interesting in your room/house. Give them a short tour. You can even sit down and talk with them for a few minutes to feel them out. Rely on your instincts to determine whether they seem like a responsible, trustworthy individual or not. If you’re to be responsible for any charges or damages this person incurs, you definitely want to make sure you trust them.

6) Discuss the Terms

If your landlord is heavily involved in the process, then this step doesn’t require much effort on your part. The landlord will handle rules and contractual obligations. But even if your landlord is involved, be sure to talk to the subletter about what it’s like to live there. Be straightforward about what you’re okay with and not so okay with. Explain any strange quirks the house or your roommates may have. Make the subletter feel welcome, but don’t let them forget that this is ultimately a business transaction. After all, you’re trusting them with your room and/or residence. This is a big deal!

Lease Terms

7) Deal with the Paperwork

Now it’s time for everyone to sign the necessary paperwork and get the terms of the sublet written in stone and signed. Usually the landlord will be involved in this part of the process. Never sign a document you’re not comfortable with! If you have any questions, be sure to contact your College or University’s Student Legal Services Department.

8) Take the Necessary Precautions

If there is no paperwork involved, then beware. No matter how nice a person seems, it’s smart to take precautions in case things go awry. Photograph the house’s condition lock away any valuables before you leave. Also have some extra money saved up in the event that your subletter mysteriously disappears and leaves you with the remaining rental costs. Again, make sure you read your lease carefully to see what exactly you are responsible for during the subletting process!

Don’t have an apartment to sublet out yet?
Luckily, we have some!

Photo Credit: Phillip GarciaThe GrioHerCampusQuality Living Stockholm, eHouse Offers