How to Find the Perfect Sublet

By Kaitlin Hurtado on December 25, 2017

Ideally, college students can live in the same housing for all of their college careers without any problems. However, that is rarely the case when change is constant – your financial situation, the relationship between roommates, housing availability, convenience, etc. Moving housing every year is not very uncommon, some students even change housing every term or so. Changing so often can be a smooth transition, but leases can overlap or worse, you can be without housing for a month or two while your first least ends and you are waiting for your next lease to start.

Instead of bumming out on a different friend’s couch every week until you can move into your next living space officially, you can always find a sublet for the time being. Sublets are perfect for when you don’t want to commit to a long-term lease or transitioning between long-term leases. Just like any other housing situation, you can get really lucky with a great sublet or end up stuck living somewhere closer to what you would see in a nightmare. In order to get as close to a perfect sublet as possible, consider the following to make the most of a short-term sublet.


Pick the right timing 

Depending on the situation you are in, you might be looking too far ahead for a sublet or grasping at any opportunity if you are searching last minute. While looking for a sublet earlier may give you a bigger chance of securing a sublet for you need it, it might not be the most ideal in terms of pricing. As people get closer and closer to when they need to sublease the apartment, they often resort to dropping the price drastically because they figure some money is better than no money at all. By securing it early, you may be missing out on the chance to find a sublet at a lower price.

Rather than picking the first sublet option you see, keep your eyes and ears open for any friends or friends of friends that are subletting to weigh your options as they come up. One option may be very close to campus or your job, but have a very hiked up price. Another may be farther, but worth the commute at the lower price.

At the same time, don’t wait until the absolute last minute to find a sublet if you do have time to look for one. While you may be desperate to secure a sublease, someone may not be as desperate and be slow to reply to you when it comes to checking out the space or negotiating a sublet contract.

Look at the space before going through with the sublet 

While you would hope that people would be honest and straightforward when it came to describing the sublet you are looking at, it is not always the case when people are desperate to find a subtenant. Pictures posted online can be just a small glimpse of what you are getting into, or taken months prior and do not reflect the current state of the apartment. If someone just posts pictures of model rooms posted by the housing community with generic floor plans, it is in your best interest to ask for more photos and see the space in person to see if it’s the right fit.

By checking in person, you can see just exactly what you’re getting into and also be able to take stock of the condition of the apartment or housing prior to moving in. By doing so, you can use the conditions as part of your sublet term so any existing damages will not be held against you after the sublease term is over. You can also check to see how much space you will have to get a better idea of what you can and cannot bring while subleasing, like whether or not it will be furnished.

Also be sure to ask about problems within the living space, such as pest problems.

Know the terms of your sublease agreement and try to negotiate when possible

If you have the opportunity to weigh your sublet options and time to consider each option carefully, try to take more care into the terms of your sublease agreement. Decide on a set sublease period that works for both of you – if the person is looking to sublease for a longer period than what you need, reach out to them anyway and see if they would agree to sublease to you for a fraction of what they are advertising. At the same time, if they are advertising for a sublease term that ends a week or few days earlier than you need, talk with them to see if they could allow you to sublet the space for even a few days more than what is advertised.

Be sure to ask what amenities you’ll have access to with the sublet. Will you be able to use community amenities like a gym, pool, or community center? Does the sublet have a laundry unit in the actual living space or will you be able to access community laundry rooms?

It’s important to ask questions prior to committing to the sublease as you can avoid any surprises – whether good or bad – and you will be ready to negotiate if the upfront terms aren’t as appealing as you would want.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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