For many years I used the excuse of being stuck in an apartment lease to not go abroad for an extended period of time. This was of course, just an excuse, as subletting is almost always an option. I was incredibly nervous about subletting my one-bedroom apartment, but at the same time I wanted to go abroad badly enough that I was willing to take the risk. Subletting turned out to be the biggest headache I had to deal with prior to my big move, and I was filling out paperwork up until the day I boarded my flight. Here are some tips for those of you looking to sublet:
· Find out from your building’s management or your landlord what the process is for subletting your apartment. I didn’t realize my building was incredibly strict and required several “administrative fees” and “move in fees” that really added up. Always get something in writing from your landlord so there aren’t any surprises.
· Use Craigslist carefully and patiently. My friend bailed out at the last second, causing me to resort to posting my apartment on Craigslist. Many people responding to my ad wanted some kind of deal on rent, blatantly ignored the fact that pets weren’t allowed or wanted to dramatically change the décor of my apartment during their stay. I showed my apartment to probably 10 different people before finding a good match. Ask pertinent questions to the individual prior to inviting them to see your space, Google them and have a friend nearby in case he/she ends up being a total creep.
· Post your ad daily. I can’t stress the importance of this. Cragislist requires you to change up the text a bit; otherwise the site will reject your duplicate post. Use a catchy title, and include specifics in your ad (rent, credit check, appliances, building amenities, cable/internet, etc.)
· Always take clear photos of your space. Clean the bathroom before snapping a photo and don’t have dirty dishes in the kitchen sink!
· Have a system in place to ensure your rent gets paid while you’re gone. My building required a credit check and made the person put his name on the lease, which was a hassle at the time, but it saved me the worry of unexpected bills. Hold a deposit is another option.
· Take any valuables out of your apartment when you leave. I stored my jewelry at my brother’s apartment, and took my laptop with me. If you’ll be heartbroken over a stain on your couch or any of your dishware getting broken – subletting your apartment probably isn’t a good idea!
· Keep in touch with your subletter and make your home inviting for when he/she arrives. Chances are they are a bit nervous about living in someone else’s home just like you may be wary about having them there! I left my place spotless, wrote my subletter a nice note with important building information, plus a box of cookies! As a result, I came back to a spotless apartment and a fridge full of beer!
Have any additional questions about subletting? Drop me an email!