If you need to move out of your apartment before your lease is up, a subletter can be a lifesaver. A subletter is an individual who takes your spot in your home and continues to make the payments. This can save you from breaking your lease or having to make rent payments when you’re no longer living in the unit.
Not all landlords and rental companies allow subletting, so your first step is to confirm that it’s an option. If your lease doesn’t specify, ask your rental company directly. Some landlords require subletters to sign a lease, and some leave the agreement between the tenant and subletter. If your building has a waitlist of interested renters, your management company may even find a subletter for you.
A subletter can save you thousands of dollars on rental payments, but it can also create serious problems for you. If they fail to pay, you’ll probably be on the hook for the missing rent. Additionally, if they don’t get along with your roommates, you could be facing some interpersonal issues. Knowing how to find a good subletter is absolutely essential if you’re moving out of your apartment. Here are some key tips for finding the right subletter:
Ask Friends and Family
Word-of-mouth recommendations tend to be best when looking for a subletter. When someone has a personal connection to you, they’re more likely to respect your living space and honor your agreement. This doesn’t mean that you can forgo the vetting process, but it can make you feel more secure in your decision.
Ask your friends and family if they know anyone who’s looking for a short-term lease in the area. You could inquire with coworkers or neighbors, too. Chances are, someone you know is either looking for a place to live or knows someone who’s looking.
Post on Facebook and Craigslist
If asking around doesn’t offer any results, it’s time to post ads on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other online platforms that have an active following in your area. Take the time to create a detailed, high-quality ad so that prospective subletters know exactly what you’re looking for. Photos of a clean apartment with good lighting can help you generate interest.
In your ad, always include the monthly cost of rent, the length of the lease, and any specific rules or restrictions that could affect someone’s decision. You should also include any and all features that make your home a desirable place to live. For example, you could mention that your apartment complex has a pool or that it’s within walking distance of shops or restaurants.
Look for College Students
College students can be great subletters because they’re usually looking for short-term leases. If there’s a college in your area, contact their student affairs or housing office. They might have a list of students looking for housing or an online board to post apartment ads. Be careful when interviewing students, though. While most college students are very respectful, you probably don’t want to sublet to someone who will throw parties or trash the home.
Interview Your Candidates
Never sublet to someone unless you’ve met with them in person and gotten to know them. You should interview all candidates to see whether they’re a good fit for the home. If you have roommates, be sure to include them in the interview process. Here are some questions you could ask your prospective renter:
Where do you work?
What is your monthly income?
Do you have a rental history?
Do you plan on having guests over? How frequently?
Why are you looking for a short-term lease?
Have you ever missed a rent payment or been evicted from an apartment?
What do you do in your spare time?
Ask for References
Ask your subletter for at least one reference to verify their rental history. Follow up with their current or previous landlord to confirm that they’re a reliable tenant. If the subletter has no rental history, it’s up to you whether you want to take the risk of renting to them. In this case, though, you should ask for other professional and personal references. It’s also wise to ask for contact information for the subletter’s current employer to confirm their employment status.
Run Credit or Background Checks
Running a background check on a subletter may sound excessive, but it’s a great way to increase your confidence and get peace of mind. Background and credit checks typically cost between $20 and $50, so you should only run them if you’re seriously considering the candidate. You’ll have to ask for their permission to run the check, too.
Listen to Your Roommates
If you have roommates, their opinion is just as important as your own. Unlike you, they’ll be living with the individual. Make sure your roommates are present when you meet the prospective subletter, and ask them for their honest input. If any of your roommates have a bad feeling about the person, try to look for a different candidate.
Sometimes, people simply don’t get along when they live together. Your candidate could have extensive rental history, great income, and a clear background check, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a perfect fit with your roommates. To keep everyone happy, look for candidates that get along with the other people in the home.
Finding the right subletter can be time-consuming, but it’s always worth putting in the effort. Offering your apartment to the first person who expresses interest could end in catastrophe for you and your roommates. Take your time, vet your candidates thoroughly, and trust your gut instincts.