Writing a Subletting Agreement and Protecting Your Stuff

By Lorena Roberts on June 6, 2019

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If you’ve been renting an apartment, you know there are some pretty specific rules around what you are and are not allowed to do. As summer rolls around and many students begin looking for someone to sublease their apartment, there are several bases that will need to be covered. Whether you’re studying abroad, moving out early, going home to live with your parents, or moving away for a job, subleasing your apartment can be quite complicated.

You need to make sure you write a sublease agreement that protects you and the person who will be subleasing from you. When they move out, you’ll want to be sure you don’t get stuck with cleaning or damage charges that aren’t your fault. If it’s your first time subleasing to someone, you might be feeling overwhelmed about what should and should not be included in the agreement. Instead of paying a fancy lawyer way more money than it’s worth, follow these steps to ensure you’ve protected yourself and the person who’s going to be subleasing from you.

via Pexels.com

1. Include dates

If you’re just subleasing for the summer, make sure you clarify when the sublease will begin and end. It’s important that you and the person who’s subleasing from you are held accountable for the property on the correct dates. If you’re subleasing from May 31 through July 31, make sure you state in your sublease agreement that the rental will end on the last day of July. Make sure you include details such as turning in keys, cleanliness, or any deadlines that need to be met (such as leaving the property by 12pm).

2. Be as specific as possible.

If the person who’s subleasing from you is not allowed to use all the amenities (for whatever reason), that needs to be stated in the agreement. If they are/are not allowed to bring a pet, that needs to be explicitly stated. When it comes to writing a subletting agreement, air on the side of including more information rather than less.

3. Use the lease you signed from your landlord.

If this is the first time you’ve ever written a subletting agreement, use your lease as a framework. Sometimes the language and organization can be confusing – where should you include rent amount, dates, and other details? How do you “professionally” state specifics? If you use your lease as a frame for writing your sublease agreement, you’ll be able to feel confident about the way you’ve worded it.

4. Always take the “legal” route.

Sometimes college students think they can get away with subletting their apartment under the radar. Instead of telling their landlord or complex management, they sublease their apartment to another college student, and they don’t exactly abide by all of the rules. This can get you in quite a heap of trouble — not just legally, but financially, too. In order to protect yourself and the person who’s planning to sublease from you, you’ll want to follow all the rules. If your complex requires a $300 document fee to reassign your apartment to someone else, you’re going to have to suck it up and pay it. If you don’t, and you try to get away with letting someone else live in your apartment for the summer, you might end up getting burned in the end.

Any damages they cause will be your fault at the end of your lease term. They might bring in an animal without your permission, which could fall back on you if management finds out. Generally, it’s just not a good idea to try and sublease an apartment without following all the right channels.

5. Do an inspection together and include specific amounts for damages.

In the end, your apartment is your responsibility. Before another individual moves into your apartment, make sure you inspect the property for prior damages. You don’t want them to claim that you were the one to put holes in the walls when they move out — so take a few minutes to walk around the apartment before you hand them the keys.

via Pexels.com

6. Date and sign, date and sign, date and sign.

More than anything, you want to make sure you document when and what you’ve discussed. On the subletting agreement, be sure both of you date and sign the agreement. You’ll want to be explicit about when the agreement starts and ends, when they will move in and out, and when they’ll be sure to turn in the keys.

7. Payment agreement.

How will you ensure your subleaser pays you the right amount? When will they pay you? Are you charging them up-front, or are you willing to take payment month-to-month? Sometimes, apartment complexes want to transfer everything into the name of your subleaser — that way, they’ll just pay the apartment when rent is due. If you rent from a private landlord, you might still be responsible for sending in the rent, therefore, you’ll need to set up a plan with the person you’re subleasing to in order to get the money in on time.

8. Make extra copies.

Both you and the person who’s subleasing will need copies of the sublease agreement. If your landlord is involved in the process, make sure they get a copy as well. This will ensure everyone is on the same page.

Subletting an apartment can be confusing and overwhelming. If you’re subleasing your apartment to someone else (especially a college student), make sure you have everything spelled out explicitly. It’s scary to walk into this situation for the first time, so just make sure you do your research and protect yourself. It’s much easier if you can simply go through your apartment complex and have them work out the details.

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In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her pup at the dog park and binge watching Netflix with endless cups of Hot Cocoa.

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