College Student’s Guide to Subleasing

Hey yall!

If yall watched my latest YouTube video then you would have found out that I am subleasing an apartment this summer with one of my friends! Many people don’t know about subleasing, which is surprising to me! I feel like if you are in college then subleasing is an important thing to know about and be aware of!

Because of that I wanted to give you some pointers on subleasing an apartment in college to help yall out!

You May Also Like: Apartment Hunting Made Easy

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What is Subleasing?

First off, let’s define subleasing and explain a little about what it is. Normally when you rent an apartment or a house you sign a 12 month contract. Around college campuses those contracts usually run from August-August, because people move in before classes start in August. But what happens when Summer rolls around and you want to go home? You don’t want to leave because you have a place and there’s no sense in paying for it if you’re not staying there. In that case you can sublease your place for the remainder of the Summer.

What happens is the original leaser signs a 12 month lease but doesn’t want to live there the final 4 months of Summer (or any amount of time for that matter). They will start to look for someone to live in their place and pay rent so they can go home without being financially responsible for a place they aren’t staying in. The new person staying there over the Summer would sign a sublease contract to take over the remainder of the lease from the original leaser.

Subleasing is pretty awesome because those who want to go home for the Summer can, while people who want to stay in the Summer but have no where to stay can sign a short term sublease and have a place for the Summer. It’s a win-win situation!

The Risks of Subleasing

Subleasing is a great thing to be able to do in college, but it isn’t always perfect. There’s risks for the original leaser and the new leaser involved.


The original leaser must be aware that in some instances they may still be responsible for paying the rent or any damages the sublease tenant has caused. Subleases work differently depending on your landlord and the situation. Recently I’ve seen subleasing become easier and less risky because they are now having the sublease tenant sign a whole new contract that lists them as responsible for bills, rent, and any damages during their stay. This is the best way to sublease your place so you don’t get in trouble for your sublease tenant damaging the apartment or not paying the rent on time. You don’t want that to fall back on you.

Those looking to sublease could be subject to the original leaser overpricing their place. The best way to avoid this is waiting until the last minute (which I know sounds bad) because if you wait to find a place until a couple weeks left of school students will be more willing to negotiate or drop their price it in order to have someone cover at least most of it so they can return home. I have seen students charge up to $100 more than their actual rent in order to make a little money subleasing. Just be cautious on how much they are charging you and what the place is worth.

Your Guide to Subleasing

Things to consider:

  • Affordability and Utilities – be aware of your budget and how much rent is PLUS utilities if they aren’t included to make sure you can really afford it. Also factor in transportation, groceries, and any other bills you are already responsible for.
  • Location – If you aren’t familiar with the area do some research before signing the lease. Visit the location at various times of the day, on different days to see if the day and night life of the area is something you are okay with. You don’t want to end up in a bad part of town or in the middle of party central if that’s not what you expected.
  • The Landlord – Do some research on the landlord or company involved in the lease. Read their reviews and make sure they area credible and reliable when it comes to maintenance issues.
  • Renter’s Insurance – Is this something you should look into? Most definitely. You never know what could happen and realistically speaking, renter’s insurance is cheaper than having to buy all new everything if your place floods or catches on fire.
  • Parking – will you have a parking spot? Will you need a permit? Is there street parking?

Inspecting a Possible Sublease:

  • Before singing ANY paperwork make sure you have physically walked inside and looked at the place. Don’t settle with pictures because they can be deceiving and you honestly don’t know when they were taken.
  • While you’re doing a walk through make sure all the appliances and faucets work.
  • Are there smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors? Are there fire extinguishers in the home?
  • Do the locks on the doors work properly?
  • Look around at any already existing damages or problem areas of the home.
  • Talk to the current tenants about the landlord, area, neighbors, etc. and really get a feel for the place before signing anything.

What to Expect When Signing for the Sublease:

  • You can expect to have to fill out an application; there may be a fee attached to it that can range from $10-$75 per person.
  • You may be required to have a co-signer on your lease with you depending on your age and the company you will be leasing from.
  • You may be required to pay a security deposit, which in most cases you get returned at the end of your lease if there aren’t any damages, which can be up to 1 month’s rent.

What to do Now:

  • Schedule a time to pick up your keys
  • Call the utility companies to transfer them to your name and have them turned on at the time of your move in date. I would call a week before your move in date to schedule this so they can get everything ready for you. Usually, for example, electric companies need 5 days notice before they can get your lights turned on. So don’t wait or you may be without electricity for a couple of days.
  • Purchase your parking permit (if needed).
  • Take pictures and video of the place before you move anything in so you can cover your butt about any damages that were already there before you moved in from the original leaser. In the instance that there is damage I would bring this to your landlords attention BEFORE moving in. This will increase your chances of not being responsible for it.
  • Get some friends together to help you pack up and move!


Subleasing is a great way for students to have a place to live while interning or doing research without having to be locked down in a 12 month lease! But before you go subleasing make sure you are prepared and ready for it!

My Drifting Desk | Conquer College


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