You have a lease to your apartment, but you need to move. You have the option of ending the contract or finding a subletter. You have done your research, and you realize that if you find the wrong tenant, you may run into a bit of trouble.
Finding the right person can be a daunting task because you need to do thorough screening, and even then, you do not have a guarantee that they will live up to their end. If you are in this position, read on below for tips on how to find the right person to rent your apartment to.
Tips on How to Find a Subletter
Talk to any property manager, and they will tell you that subletting is tricky. The original tenant can get into a lot of problems if they do not handle the process well. The challenge with most people is that they are usually in such a rush, that they do not take the time to follow due process.
We’ll share with you five easy-to-follow steps if you’re in the process of looking for a subletter.
1. Confirm with the Property Owner that you can Sublet.
Don’t try to sublet your apartment without the consent of the property owner. Some landlords don’t allow it at all, while others have different rules regarding subletting. Make sure you understand the stipulations on your lease agreement and pay attention to any clauses within.
By getting the approval of the landlord, you know that you’re covered in case the person you are subletting to damages the property. You may also not have to worry about late payments. In some instances, the landlord may even have a waiting list for people who are looking to sublet.
Having been in the business, the landlord can be in a position to recommend places where you can post your sublet ads. They can also give you valuable tips on what to look for. In the instances where you need to move out abruptly, they can help by conducting tours of the property in your absence.
Make sure you’re clear about anything that you may need to pay to the landlord under the sublet contract. Confirm that your security deposit is safe, and be clear about your liability in case there is damage to the apartment.
2. Do you Have any Legal Responsibilities During the Sublet Period
The one thing you need to remember at all times is that even when you sublet, you still carry the primary responsibility for the apartment. You don’t terminate the contract and are therefore still legally responsible for certain things including:-
• Access to the property – you’re responsible for giving your tenant the keys to the apartment. In the case that you’re not going to be around, you should advise your landlord so that he can do it for you.
• Utility payment – your rental agreement should be very clear about who and how utility payments will happen. If your tenant will take them up, clearly highlight it in the rental agreement, and notify both the landlord and the utility company.
• Security deposit – you should consider getting a deposit from your tenant. As you still hold the primary responsibility for the apartment, your landlord may withhold your security deposit. Negotiate with the person subletting your apartment on what will work best for both of you.
• Damages to the property – since you are liable for any damages that occur within the apartment; the tenant should take on some of the responsibility. It is therefore important that you do a walk-through on the property for a thorough inspection. Once the tenant is satisfied that everything is alright, he or she should sign an inspection form highlighting the same.
• Consider anyone else you may be sharing the space with – if you have housemates, they should give consent before you bring in a subletter. Even if they do not have to give their consent, it is a good idea to notify them to avoid any problems with your tenant.
3. Find the Right Person
You need to be clear about the kind of person you want to sublet your apartment to. This is another reason why it is important to let your landlord into the process. They know the kind of people they the rent out property out to, and would, therefore, be able to give you good advice.
You may also have the option of working with the people on the waiting list. Your landlord can also help with the interview process because they know the right kind of questions to ask, and the information to look for. You will also avoid having to market your property because you can depend on the landlord’s marketing collateral.
If you opt to undertake the process yourself, you’ll have to get the information out there. With the internet age, you can use online platforms like Craigslist, or even your social media pages to advertise. The advantage of using online advertising methods is that you’re able to reach very many people cost-effectively.
When you are using the online platform, pictures will sell the property for you. Take high-quality pictures, and if you can, incorporate some videos. Take as many pictures of the apartment as you can, including the kitchen, bathroom, laundry area, among others. Make sure you capture things like storage, garage parking if available, among others.
Make the apartment attractive to a potential tenant by giving incentives like lower rent, utility payment, and furnished apartments, among others. Also highlight things that would make someone interested in living in the area by highlighting things like proximity to entertainment spots, ease of access, among others.
4. Conduct a Screening Process
If you manage to advertise the property effectively, you’ll get quite a bit of interest. Now do proper screening to ensure that you’re not dealing with cons. You need to do this before you give anyone access to your apartment because criminals will use this as a scouting opportunity.
Some of the things you need to make sure you do include:-
• Running a proper background check including their credit standing
• Insist on references from previous landlords, housemates or even employers
• Ask for the rental history, be wary about someone who seems to hope from one rental situation to another
Only conduct a showing of the house once you’re comfortable with the person. Don’t go alone, have someone with you if possible.
5. Have the Tenant Sign a Subletter Contract
The person subletting your apartment should sign a contract which will take into consideration some of the factors we have listed above. Make sure the contract covers any areas that may lead to future disagreements, like who is liable for damages, utility payment, and rent amount lease period, among others.
A contract will be your legal backing in case of anything. Make sure that even if you’re submitting to a friend or family member, they sign it. Let your landlord have a look so that they point out anything you may have left out.
There are numerous templates you will find online, but do your research, and tweak the template to include all the key areas you’ll want to cover.
Advantages of Subletting
• Your apartment will be available to you when you get back
• You get to save money by renting it out during your absence
• Depending on the agreement, you can supplement your income
• Your apartment will have someone in it during your absence, so you do not have to worry about burglars breaking in
• A tenant will keep up with making sure the house is in good condition by alerting you in case there’s anything that needs repairs
• Rental history – a long lease can serve you well in case you ever need to get a new apartment
What You Need to Watch out For
• Without a proper background check, you never quite know who you are renting out to. it could be a thief who will make away with all your property
• Without a proper subletter lease, you may be liable for a lot of damage if you find a careless tenant
• Your landlord may terminate your lease if there is a violation of the subletting requirements
• You may find a tenant who does not pay rent on time, which could inconvenience you
• Without proper timelines on the contract, your tenant may opt not to leave, thereby requiring you to go to court. It, therefore, important that you understand the legal requirements in your state about subletters. in some places, it may not be possible to kick them out after a certain period