Rules to Subletting Your Apartment

You can sublease your apartment successfully if you follow certain guidelines.
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When a tenant leases his apartment to another person it's called subletting. Generally, the original tenant is still responsible to the landlord for the rent and condition of the apartment. Subletting is sometimes an option when you've landed a job out of town, for example. While subletting brings some risk, it can be done successfully if you're careful about it.

1 Lease Specifics

Check your lease to determine whether you're allowed to sublet the apartment and under what conditions. Often the landlord must approve the sublet and proposed tenant in writing. If your lease forbids subletting, explain your situation and try to negotiate. You should also find out whether your state has additional rules governing sublets.

2 New Tenant

Start looking for someone to sublet your apartment by asking around at work or school. Try advertising on craigslist or sites like it if necessary. Interview the people who seem like a good fit and check their credit. Ask about employment and income. Determine whether she has pets and, if so, what types. You may be tempted to skip these steps if you know the person. However, a friend or acquaintance isn't necessarily a good fit and collecting delinquent rent from a friend can be awkward. Make the same checks regardless of how well you think you know the people you're considering.

3 Agreement

Develop a written lease agreement with the person you want to rent your apartment. It should include the security deposit, length of sublease, amount and due date of the rent and a clarification of who pays the utilities. A signed agreement to leave the apartment in the same condition as when she moved in is also a good idea. You should only sublease to the end of your lease. If you only have three months left you shouldn't agree to sublet for five months.

4 Alternatives

If your landlord won't approve the sublease, or if you don't want to take the risks associated with subletting, you may still have alternatives to breaking your lease. You might offer to help your landlord find a new tenant and then ask him to void your lease and sign one with the new tenant. You should be able to recover your security deposit and relocate without further responsibility. You could also try to get your employer to reimburse you for the money you lose if your landlord won't help.

Randi Hicks Rowe is a former journalist, public relations professional and executive in a Fortune 500 company, and currently a formation minister in the Episcopal Church. She has been published in Security Management, American Indian Report and Tech Republic.She has a bachelor's in communications, a master of arts in Christian education and a master of business administration.