How To Find A Good Subtenant

By Ashley Paskill on December 3, 2018

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Many students get an off-campus apartment once they leave the dorms. However, things such as study abroad or getting a job or internship may force you to leave temporarily during the course of your lease, causing you to be in a position to find a subtenant. This is an important process and you should avoid trusting just anyone with the apartment since you are still accountable for it. If you find yourself in need of a subtenant, follow these steps to ensure that you find the best person to sublease your apartment in your absence.


Image: David Hellman via

Check with your landlord

Before even thinking about whom you want as a subtenant, check with your landlord to make sure it is okay and to see if there are any special procedures you need to complete. Ask him or her what they look for when finding tenants and make sure you make your subtenant knows any rules your landlord has for the apartment. Even if your lease does not allow subletting, let your landlord know about your situation and they may be able to be accommodating to your situation. Even if your landlord allows you to sublet, it is a good idea to work directly with your landlord’s office throughout the entire process to ensure that things are done properly and legally so you can avoid getting in trouble.

Try to find someone you already trust

First, try to find a family member, friend or a trusted classmate. These people are people that you already know and trust so you will be able to rest assured that the apartment is in good hands. Also, you can have your roommates find a subtenant, as they will likely be living with the new person and need to get along with him or her.  Post ads on your school’s Facebook groups that are designated for apartment searches or your “Class Of” group. Sites such as Craigslist should be used as a last resort as these sites are often filled with scammers.

Start the search early

As soon as you know that you will be in the position to sublet your apartment, start the search. Waiting until the last minute leaves the process feeling rushed and things can get left undone if things are done late. Landlords usually anticipate the renting process to take 60 days, so give yourself that amount of time to get it done. Starting early allows you time to meet multiple candidates as well as double check with your landlord through the process to make sure everything is being done thoroughly and correctly.


Image: Kinga Cichewicz via

Create a written contract

Even if you find someone you trust, it is important to create a written contract outlining the rules and expectations of subletting the apartment. Many landlords have a sublet agreement, but there are templates available online if they do not have one created. The contract should include similar information that is included in the lease, such as the due date of the rent and what is expected in terms of the upkeep of the apartment. Have all parties involved with the apartment, including you, the landlord, and the subtenant, sign the contract. Make a copy of the contract for each party so that there is no way of saying that the information was not made known. Make sure you collect a security deposit in case any portion of the contract was broken.

Meet your subtenants in person

While making initial contact with subtenants online is common these days, it is still important to meet them in person before setting things in stone. While you may never truly know a person entirely, you will get a better sense of who they are in person as opposed to hiding behind a screen. Arrange to meet them at the apartment to show them around. Have your roommates and landlord present for these meetings to keep you safe and to make sure all parties are compatible with each other. Ask the candidate questions about their lifestyle and previous renting history to get a feel for who they are and to assess their trustworthiness.

Check in with your subtenant throughout the sublet term

While it may feel like you are being a nag, check in with your subtenant and landlord throughout the term of the sublease. Ask the landlord if he or she has run into any issues with the subtenant. Check to make sure the subtenant is okay and make sure the apartment’s appliances are working properly. If a friend or roommate is on campus during the term of the sublease, have them check in on the person face-to-face to make sure everything is okay with the apartment. The subtenant may say all is fine, but having a third party will help keep things honest.

Do not keep any valuables behind in your apartment

Even if you trust the person who will be subleasing your apartment, it is important to take your valuables with you when you leave your apartment. Do not leave personal documents or anything with sentimental value in case your apartment gets broken into or something destroys the apartment, such as a flood or a fire. While these items may be replaced, it is better to err on the side of caution and take them with you or leave them with family members.

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By Ashley Paskill

Uloop Writer

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