7 Steps to Finding the Right Subtenant

By Lorena Roberts on July 18, 2017

Something great just happened in your life and you need to (quickly) move to a new city. The problem is you’ve already signed a lease in your current city. There’s no way you have the money to pay rent on both places, so you have to find someone to take over your lease. Pronto.

Here are seven steps to make sure you find not only a subtenant, but the right one. 


1. Approach the management at your complex

There are so many rules when it comes to trying to sublease an apartment. The last thing you need is to screw something up and get in trouble (which usually means a fine … which is money none of us has).

Make a list of all the things you need to ensure you take care of before you hand over your keys. The management will also appreciate that you came to them on the front end instead of the other way around.

2. Utilize social media

Being a college student definitely has its benefits, one of which is having a network of people at your fingertips all the time. If you’re looking for someone to take your lease over, start with social media. Advertise smart. Include photos of the place you’re wanting to fill, as many details as possible, and headline it with something catchy. “Take over my lease, PLEASE” is what literally everyone puts, and you’re looking to stand out.

Use your friends’ friends and ask them to share your post. You’ll reach more people this way! Not only that, but more than likely you’ll get connected with someone you have mutual friends with — and that’s the best kind of person to put in your apartment.

3. Go over all the specifics

Once you’ve found someone who’s interested, there are so many details to go over. You want to make sure this is a good fit for both of you. Make sure you go over everything from monthly rent, to the utilities, to the pet policy.

4. Ask the right questions

It’s important that you find someone you can trust to put in your apartment. After all, you’re still going to be liable for anything they do or don’t do while they’re living there. Some of the best advice I can give you is to ask the following questions before anyone signs on the dotted line:

- Do you have any pets?

- Will anyone be living here with you?

- When can you move in/when can you move out?

- Do you have reliable income? (Parents, job(s), etc.)

- Have you ever subleased before?

- Can you agree to staying here for ‘x’ amount of months?

5. Go over all the legalities with your apartment complex

Some apartment complexes are pretty picky about what they look for in subleasing. Once you’ve found someone to take over, meet with the manager of your complex and your new subtenant. There are things you’ll both have to sign and agree to. It’s best to get it all out of the way when you’re sitting down together rather than play phone tag and do paperwork on your own.

6. Stay in contact

You don’t have to be best buds, and you definitely don’t want to be their mom … but my advice is to keep the door to communication open while they’re in your place. If something goes wrong, you’ll want to know about it.

7. Over anything else, go with your gut

If you don’t feel like it’s a good fit, it’s probably not. Don’t be afraid to say no. I know you’re feeling like you have to fill this spot by the end of the month, but in the long run, it’ll be worth it to take your time in finding someone you really trust.

Some of the biggest mistakes you can make: 

Rushing through the process of finding someone who’s going to be responsible and trustworthy is a surefire way to ensure you’ll end up with an idiot signing for your lease. Doing this could possibly result in a completely damaged apartment with your name filled in as “responsible for.” Do not rush through this process.

Not asking the right questions could result in moving someone in who just isn’t a good fit. You want to make sure you cover all your bases. Take your time in getting to know them a bit before you just hand your keys over.

Avoiding the complex management is usually just an all-around bad idea. They can slap you with charges you didn’t even know could be charged. I’d be very careful when it comes to dealing with management. They’re trying to profit off of you — but you need their trust. If something does go wrong, those are the people you want on your side. Make them your best friends.

Lorena graduated from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a BA in Honors Psychology. She is currently interviewing for PhD School Psychology graduate programs across the country and hopes to research early math curriculum and instruction. Along with writing for Uloop, Lorena is a preschool teacher, K-12 substitute teacher, and math tutor. She enjoys taking her Whippet mix, Gio, to the dog park and drinking hot chocolate in front of Netflix. She's known for her strong opinions, busy schedule, and obsession with cute dogs. If you want to reach her, email her at grober18@vols.utk.edu

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