It’s that time of the year! Your fun year at college has almost come to an end, and it’s time to pack up your beloved apartment. Whether you landed that internship in another city or you’re going back to being your parents’ “child” at home while you earn some money, it’s time to start moving out and deciding what you’ll do with your apartment this summer.
You don’t want to pay full price for your college apartment all summer, so you need a sublease who needs a place to stay. Here’s what you need to know for a smooth hand-off.
Review the lease: Before you start searching for your summer stand-in, you’ll want to dig up that lease you signed last fall. In some places, subletting means you’ll just walk right in to a violation — and a bigger problem to deal with while you’re away. Otherwise, if you’re in the clear for subleasing, pay a visit to your landlord and talk about your plans.
Set your price: If you’re one of the lucky ones, you can set the same rent that you’re paying right now. Alas, most college towns have more summer housing than students. Odds are, you’ll have to set a lower monthly rate, and send in payments for the remainder. Ask your neighbors and your landlord about the going rates, and check the online ads.
The search for a subletter: The best strategy is to begin the hunt within your circle of friends, preferably your roommates, then branch out to friends, acquaintances and a public ad. In fact, it’s essential to involve your roommates in the entire process, since they’ll be affected the most. When you interview candidates and give them the tour, give your roommates a chance to meet and talk to them as well.
Bottom line, you have finances and personal relationships at stake. If this person bails, causes damage to your apartment or is simply a horrible person to live with, you’re responsible. Be reasonably sure you can trust this person.
Talk about living rules: It’s always good to have a talk about the day-to-day nitty-gritty to make sure everyone’s compatible. Before you sign, be sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to rules about visitors, schedules and cleaning.
Sign a contract: Even if your subletter is your best friend since elementary school, get the arrangement in writing, and signed by you, the subletter and the landlord. Look at it this way — a contract will do more to protect you and your friend should something unexpected happen. Your landlord may have copies of a sublease agreement on file. If not, you can easily find and download one online.
Document: Again, no one should take this personally, as you’re protecting the both of you. Before you leave, walk through the place and take photos of the entire apartment.
Utilities: Keep things straightforward. If your name is on the utility bill, it ought to be transferred to the subletter before you leave. The last thing you want is to return back to school to a pile of shut-off notices and a hefty bill to pay.
Belongings: Personal belongings and valuables should be packed up and put in storage at an off-site location before the sub-letter arrives.
Be considerate: Even if you’re swamped with end-of-the-year deadlines, your summer stand-in deserves a nice welcome. After all, they probably had many places to choose from. Make the place clean, with a clean bathroom, clean dishes, clean counters and clean floors, so they don’t regret their decision.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best: Even if your summer substitute seems like a solid person, life is filled with unexpected events. If this person flakes out or has a legitimate reason to leave, be prepared to cover the rent so you can keep your spot when school starts again.
Figuring out what to do with your college apartment during the summer can be a headache, but subleasing is a great way to save money and help another college student out! Just be sure you are thorough in your search to provide everyone involved with a good experience.