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Can I Sublet My Apartment?

So you got that summer internship in Europe! You are ready to travel, and want to spend your money on enjoying a new place, souvenirs, trying new foods, nightlife, and being prepared for emergencies. Unfortunately, you still have to pay rent, and you'll need to return to your apartment in a few months.

Subletting, or finding another tenant to take your place, sounds like the perfect solution. But first, you need to make sure you know the rules and the obligations of subletting.

First, check your lease. Are there any clauses in the lease saying that there shall be no subleasing or assignment? Often, state and local laws will defer to the language in the lease.

Many condos and Homeowner associations will forbid subletting. They want to ensure that the community is stable, and that there is control over who is living there.

The best thing to do is to speak with your landlord to ensure that subletting is legal, and also to keep them informed. If the faucet leaks while you are gone, the landlord shouldnt have a surprise of finding a totally different tenant occupying the premises.

Once you've established that subletting is permissable, make certain that you check out your subtenant very carefully. You remain responsible for the rent, even if you don't live there or your subtenant stops paying. Also, if your subtenant damages the property, you are responsible.

In short, you become the landlord. That can be difficult if a subtenant is a friend or family member. You want to have some guarantee of payment. Get everything in writing, and have the subtenant sign a formal sublease agreement. You may even want to require a security deposit or the first and last months rent in advance, in the event that payment becomes a problem.

Take photos of the apartment, which show the condition when you left, as well as belongings of yours that remain. If there is damage, you then have evidence to support taking money from the security deposit.

Most important, maintain your obligations to the landlord. Ensure that rent is paid, and that communication is possible.

By Daisy Hammond

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