Subletting a room or an apartment legally can seem stressful at first pass: you need to find a subtenant, make sure they're qualified, draft and sign a sublease agreement, get a security deposit and set up rent payments.
These are the six steps we think every renter looking to sublet should be prepared to handle. If this all seems too daunting, start a sublet on Flip and we'll handle all of this for you.
Check Local Laws
Your right to sublet might be written in your lease or in state law depending on your jurisdiction. For example, in Massachusetts, Maryland, Kentucky, Louisiana and Iowa you can sublet your apartment without getting approval from your landlord unless your lease expressly forbids subletting.
In Chicago and New York, you have the right to sublet no matter what: even if your lease prohibits subletting and your landlord says no, you can still do it so long as your subtenant is as qualified as you.
On the other end of the spectrum, there's Arkansas, where you can be imprisoned for up to six months for subletting without landlord approval. We're not joking.
Read your state laws first to know where you stand.
Choose a Qualified Subtenant
When you sublet you remain liable for the rent payments. That's why it's so important to make sure your subtenant can actually pay the rent and wouldn't put your neighbors, roommates or landlord at risk.
Not sure how to screen an applicant? If you start a sublet on Flip you can invite anyone who might want to rent from you, and we'll check out their finances, background and criminal history.
Request a Rent Deposit
When you manage your own rental you've got to figure out your own ways to separate the high-intent, high-quality tenants from the flaky ones. A great way to make sure someone is serious is to ask them for a good faith deposit on the rent. This can be anywhere between 10% of monthly rent and an entire upfront rent payment. We suggest you hold this money in escrow until you've signed a lease and handed over the keys to them.
Finalize a Sublet Agreement
A legally binding lease contract between you and your subtenant is essential. By laying the ground rules on day one, you can protect yourself from any unforeseen disagreements.
At a minimum, sign an agreement with basic terms like: beginning date, end date, monthly rent, average cost of utilities and who pays them, what to do if someone wants to extend or shorten the duration of the lease and what happens if your subtenant stops paying the rent. .Customize your own Flip sublease agreement
Easily generate a free contract in a couple of minutes
Get Landlord Approval
Most landlords prefer to be informed about a potential sublet so that they can review the sublet agreement and the applicant. This is especially true when you are renting out an entire home. If you are renting out a room in a shared home then your landlord might not require a formal approval process.
Either way, we recommend that you reach out to your landlord to get their policies and send them information about your new subtenant.
Take and Hold a Security Deposit
To protect yourself against damages to the apartment or any belongings that you leave in the space, you should take a security deposit from your subtenant. Hold this money in escrow for the period of the sublet and make sure to complete an inspection before they move in, and get them to sign off on it. Follow your state's laws for accepting and holding security deposits as best you can.
Setup Rent Payments
You don't want to have to deal with pestering someone for rent on the first day of every month. Agree on a process for rent payments before they move in. State this process in the sublet agreement that you both sign.
You can setup automated rent payments on Flip and your subtenant can pay via either ACH or credit card - start a sublet and invite your tenant to setup automatic rent payments.
Sound like a lot? Start a sublet for free and our platform will handle everything.
Ready to dive in? We suggest you carefully review these sections:
Ask us anything! We want your subletting experience with Flip to be incredible. We promise to write back an answer as soon as we can.