Tips for Student Subletting

Monday, May 29, 2023

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Before a student tries to find someone to sublet their place to, they should consider the following in order to be sure their lease provisions are being followed correctly.

1) Does your lease allow for sublets?
Don’t just assume you can sublet because it’s a common practice; read the fine print of your lease to find out. Some leases will have clauses that prevent tenants from subletting. If a tenant sublets a place without authorization, it would be considered a violation of the lease agreement.


2) My lease doesn’t allow for subletting – what should I do?
Submit a written request to your landlord or property manager and ask if the clause preventing you from subletting can be omitted from the agreement. In some cases, an exception can be made.


3) Do you have written consent to sublet?
Inform your landlord or property manager that you plan to sublet your place for a portion of the lease. In most cases, you will be required to get a written consent authorizing the sublet.


4) Who is responsible for paying the rent when subletting?
The original tenant is responsible to pay the rent for the entirety of the lease, regardless of subletting or not.  In most circumstances, the subtenant will pay rent to the original tenant, who then pays the landlord or property manager.  On occasion, the landlord or property manager may allow the subtenant to pay them directly.


5) What happens if the subtenant doesn’t pay the rent?
The original tenant is still responsible if the subletter defaults on paying the rent.  This is why it’s very important to carefully select a subtenant.


6) How much can I charge the subtenant for rent?
The rental laws vary from city to city.  In most areas, you cannot charge the subtenant more rent than you are paying the landlord or property manager. However, you can charge less if necessary to rent the unit.


7) How do I find a good subtenant?  
We suggest interviewing and prescreening potential subtenants thoroughly. Ask for references and take the time to contact them. Trust your instincts and only sublet to a person(s) you feel would be a trustworthy subtenant.


8) Do I need a contract for a subtenant?
You might not necessarily need a contract, but using one is recommended.  A contract should include the subletting dates, rental amount, number of people who will be living in the unit, responsibility for maintenance or damage to the unit, and how (or to whom) the rent will be paid.  The original lease that you signed with the landlord or property manager can be used as a guideline and the same information should be included.


For assistance with a subtenant agreement and other information, visit our Student Resources.


SEE ALSO:  A Guide for Students Living Off-Campus

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