If you are considering having subletters, or people live in your house for a portion or all of the summer while you are away, it is important to work out all of the details before allowing them to move in.  If possible, have them talk to your landlord directly so that you are not responsible for them and whether or not they pay the rent on time.  If you are making the arrangements with them yourself, decide exactly how much they will pay for rent each month, whether they will send the check to you or to the landlord, who is responsible for utilities, what kind of yard maintenance needs to be done and exact move-in/out dates.   Clear, proactive communication will save you a lot of stress and will ensure that you do not lose any friends in the process.

Before subletting, there are questions you should ask yourself to prepare.  Some of the most important ones to remember are:

  • Have you confirmed with your landlord that it is permissible?  Will he or she allow you to find a subletter on your own?  Are there specific procedures you are required to follow in order to sublet?
  • Do you have proper paperwork in order, similar to the documents you signed when you moved in?  Have you determined a fair rent amount?  
  • Have you considered the risk to you, such as if there is damage they don't pay for and you are left responsible?  Are you willing to be responsible for your subletter?  
  • Have you considered how you will conduct the screening process?  
  • Are there any fees for you or your subletter?  Will you require a security deposit?  How will you collect the rent fee?
  • If you have a roommate, is subletting an agreeable option for them?

Things to Consider

Landlord Permission & Procedures
Tenants with leases can sublet or assign without the landlord's permission unless the lease says otherwise. Check your lease to see if the landlord's permission is required. Some landlords have specific procedures you must follow in order to sublet. Your landlord may require you to show the apartment or screen potential subletters. Ask your landlord how he/she wants to handle subletting.

Roommate Permission
Because you and your roommates are ultimately responsible for the terms of your rental agreement, everyone should meet potential subletters. This is particularly important if one or more roommates will be living with the subletter(s).

Screening Subletters
It is important to screen potential subletters, because you may be held responsible in the event of damage or outstanding rent payments. You will want to be assured that the subletter is able to pay the rent and has not had problems with past rental situations. You may ask potential subletters for landlord references. Your landlord may also decide to screen potential subletters.

If possible, you may want to consider collecting a security deposit from subletters. Some landlords require such a deposit. Any deposit will need to be managed according to the Landlord Tenant Act.

Sublet Agreements
A written sublet agreement is critical to protect all parties involved. List all terms of the sublet clearly, adding any specific conditions. Include expectations about the following issues:

  • Will there be furniture left in the apartment, and who is responsible for any damage that occurs?  Be sure to list all furniture and its condition.
  • Will the tenant be moving back into the apartment, and when and how will that transfer take place?
  • Will the subletter be "taking care of" any of the tenant's responsibilities (e.g., fish, plants, yardwork)?
  • Is there a parking space provided?
  • Will the tenant retain keys to the apartment?  
  • Who will clean the apartment at the end of the subletting term?  Who will pay cleaning costs?

It is highly recommended that you do a move-in condition inspection with your subletter, so you both have accurate documentation in case problems occur.