Proper Expectations to Have of Your Subtenants

By Francine Fluetsch on February 15, 2017

Subletting your apartment is a great way to help your bank account out while you aren’t living in your place. Whether you want to go home for the summer or study aboard halfway through the school year, or if something else comes up and you have to be out of your apartment for a short while, subletting can be a good option so you aren’t trying to pay rent for a place that you aren’t currently occupying.

Subletting, of course, can be a bit of a process. Once you’ve determined that your landlord allows you to sublet and you’ve found a subtenant, the work begins. So what exactly can you expect out of your subtenant?

They won’t pay your full rent

Naturally, it would be nice if your full share of the rent was covered while you weren’t occupying the space, but it usually doesn’t work out that nicely. You can’t really expect your subtenant to pay your full share because then they’ll just look elsewhere, so make sure that you are pricing reasonably but still to a point where it is helping you out.

If you aren’t sure how much you can charge, try asking around or looking on websites to see what other people in your area are asking for a sublease. If you price it around that, you will have a better chance of getting more applicants, and your potential subtenant won’t try and convince you to lower it any further.

They might not pay on time

While I hope you’ve thoroughly interviewed the person who is going to be your subtenant, you can’t be certain that they will pay you on time, and you’ll be the one to take the fall.

How can you ensure that they will pay? You can work out with your landlord to have the subtenant sign their own version of a lease, and can request to have all the money up front for the sublease. This only really works if they are staying for a sublease that is a month or shorter, and not everyone will be able to do this, but it is something to consider since your butt will be on the line to cover the rent if the subtenant doesn’t pay.

With a proper background check and application, you shouldn’t have any problems. Most students I know who have sublet their apartments had no real problems with it at all, but you still want to take the proper precautions.

They should clean up after themselves

When you are getting your place ready for a subtenant, make sure that it is as clean as possible and ready for them to use. Take them on a walk through of the place and make sure they take note of how everything is before they start living there (take pictures for your reference). When they are done with their stay, it is expected of them to get the place back to how you left it. This does not mean that they are responsible for any messiness left by you or your roommates, so don’t expect them to do more than their share.

If your roommates are still living there when the subtenant is taking your room, make sure to tell your roommates that the subtenant isn’t necessarily expected to pick up the slack on your chores. While they should do their own dishes and tidy up after themselves, it might be overstepping to ask them to do communal chores, but that will vary from case to case.

They should pay a security deposit

I’m sure they will be respectful of your things and of your place, but it might not be a bad idea to have the subtenant pay a small security deposit that you will return if everything looks as it did when you left. All students who decide to sublet might not do this, but it seems to be more popular now than it has been, so your subtenant will more than likely have to pay it whether they decide to take your place or go somewhere else.

They won’t be bringing a lot with them

You can expect that someone who is only trying to sublet for a month or two isn’t going to be packing a lot with them, especially in the kitchen department, so make sure that you leave items for them so they can live properly.

One of my friends was a subtenant over summer and the subletter forgot to mention to him that the room wouldn’t have a lamp or a bed in it. He had to buy a sleeping bag and brave it on the hardwood floor, as well as work by the light of his laptop! He paid way too much for those conditions.

Make sure that you communicate with your subtenant exactly what you will be leaving for them to use and what, if anything, they will have to bring with them. The less they have to take the better because they might not have access to random household items that they would only need for a month.

These are just a few things to expect when you are subleasing a place. Good luck!

Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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