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Finding a Subtenant

You have the right to sublet your apartment to a qualified replacement tenant. Your landlord should not unreasonably interfere with your attempts to sublet, nor should your landlord apply stricter standards to evaluation of your subtenant than s/he did for evaluation of you. For example, if the landlord checked your credit before renting to you, the landlord may check the subtenant's credit. If the landlord leased to you without checking your references or credit, the landlord should not require a credit check for prospective subtenants.

Often, the biggest problem with subletting is finding someone to take your place. Here are some tips that might help:

1. Run classified ads in the newspapers. It might help to post signs in classroom buildings and other public places, but this type of advertising has a limited audience. If you want to find someone, you'll probably have to spend a little money on newspaper advertising:

2. Always include a price and location in your ad. Many people skip over the ads that do not include this information. If rent is negotiable, include the price, followed by the word "negotiable." Put both your email address and telephone number in the advertisement.

3. Be sure your ad is in the best classification. If you are subletting for a very short time (for example, a summer sublet) it makes sense to list your ad under "sublets." However, if you are looking for someone to take over the entire 12-month lease that you signed but no longer want, run the ad under "apartments furnished" or "apartments unfurnished" (or "houses" if it's a house). People who want housing for the entire year are not likely to even look at the "sublets" section of the classified ads so don't hide your ad there.

If you are looking for someone to sublet the apartment from November to July, list it as a sublet in The Daily Illini because by November, the "apartments furnished" section of The Daily Illini will be full of ads for the next year. In The News-Gazette, it's better not to list a place under "sublets" unless you would only be subletting for 3 months. Even in March, people arriving in the community are more likely to check the "apartments for rent" or "houses" listings than the "sublets" section of The News-Gazette classifieds.

4. When people want to see your apartment, ask their names and phone numbers or email addresses. If they don't show up to the appointment, call them back and ask if they want to reschedule. Some "no-shows" simply lost your phone number or address or are embarrassed to call you again after standing you up.

5. Always follow up with anyone who saw your apartment and appeared to like it. You're not going to trick anyone into subletting from you, but someone might choose your apartment over another, simply because you called them back.

6. Be sure to obtain the landlord's written consent to sublet. Your lease probably prohibits subletting without the landlord's consent. You can get the consent either by the landlord's signature on the sublease contract or in a separate note from your landlord. But, be sure to get written consent to the sublet.

Do not send prospective subtenants to your landlord alone. Always accompany your subtenants to the landlord's office.

Some tenants have complained to the Tenant Union that their landlord "stole" their subtenants. Whether it's accidental (which is often the case) or intentional, your landlord might end up leasing a different apartment to people you expected to sublet your place. If you don't want to lose them, stay with them.

Do not throw out the names of any interested people, or stop running your ads, until your subtenants have signed the sublease agreement. It is not uncommon for subtenants to change their minds at the last minute.

Once you've sublet the apartment, you are still liable for the balance of rent due in the event that the subtenant stops paying. It is wise to check with the landlord, throughout the sublease period, to make sure that your subtenant is paying the rent.

If your landlord offers to help you sublet, be careful.

Your landlord does not have the same motivation as you have to find a replacement tenant. Your landlord may also have other vacancies to fill. Some landlords are helpful in locating subtenants, but it is unwise to leave the job of finding a replacement tenant in the hands of your landlord. Do the work yourself.
If your landlord charges a fee for assisting you in locating a replacement tenant, that fee is usually charged WHETHER OR NOT A SUBTENANT IS FOUND. If you don't do the work yourself to find a subtenant, you may end up losing money and time waiting for the landlord to be unsuccessful finding someone for you.
If your landlord rejects someone and you don't know that person's name, you won't ever be able to follow up and find out whether the rejection was legitimate.

 

The Tenant Union does not provide legal services of any kind. All information provided in this publication is intended to help the average person prevent problems and deal with common concerns of renting. When legal help is needed, always consult with an attorney at law.