Let’s talk about subletting.

The word probably brings to mind the nightmare of total strangers sleeping in your bed, rearranging your things, wearing your bathrobe, and taking over your life. If you are OCD, stop reading now.

Imagine the following scenarios:

Oh, Caspian. How on earth are you going to enjoy your “spirit hike” up the PCT this summer knowing the whole time that you’ll be paying rent for your cabin in Aspen that you won’t even be using? Can you even afford that REI shopping spree?!

But Hedley! Your company is INSISTING on three months in China to research traditional paper cutting in remote villages/ wine tasting? Your life is so taxing! Now you have to sublet!

How exhausting. Did you hear about poor Bunny Dupuey- L’Enfant? She’s been offered a dream job working on an organic kibbutz in Ashland but would have to leave two whole months before her lease expires. You KNOW how cutthroat sublets in gentrified Williamsburg can be.

The long and short of it is that many people sublet. It’s not a dirty word even if it sounds stressful. Below are some tips to consider before you embark on the process of inviting a stranger into your home to pay the rent you won’t be paying.

1. Make sure it’s legal.

This goes for both sides of the sublet battle. In some cases, sublets are not allowed in the lease (for good or bad reasons). Talk to your landlord and explain the circumstances and GET THE FINAL DECISION IN WRITING. If the answer is no, end of story. Suck it up and pay the bill.

2. Protect yourself.

Use common sense. Have the person subletting sign an agreement, remove anything you wouldn’t want lost/ broken/ stolen and stash it somewhere else. Get a deposit (just do it) and take pictures of the space prior to handing over the keys. The last thing you want is:

Don’t try to stiff me. That giant hole in the wall was already there.

Make sure you set the tone right away (even if you’re subletting to a friend) that you expect the place in the same condition you left it in when you return.

3. Get your roommates involved.

Don’t settle for the first person if you have a bad feeling.

*frantically looks at watch*
-Okay…so “Spider,” what makes you a responsible subleter?
-I can use my magic spells to destroy my enemies.
-Great! When can you move in?!

Being in a hurry/ being stressed does NOT mean it’s okay to saddle your roommates with a subletter who will commandeer the common spaces twice a week for hot yoga sessions or will want to talk to each of them at all hours about their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Make sure the person who is essentially taking your place for the next month or two is going to gel with your roommates. The last thing you want is to be sitting in a hostel in Singapore and get a series of frantic text messages that end with: “I fucked up bad, homie. If anyone asks, we’ve always had a shallow grave in the back yard. Also, things didn’t work out with that subletter.”

Involve your roomies in the process and make sure they’r comfortable with your choice in subletters.

In short: adhere to the following and it won’t go long:

Is it legal? Is it practical? Is it gonna last?

Do that, and your sublet will pay for itself. Literally.



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