With spring on it’s way and the beginning of summer internships just a little bit away, subleasing is on many people’s minds.  No one likes living in dorm housing over the summer when you’ve already spent the school year doing it, so many summer interns turn to subleasing apartments, homes, rooms, and townhouses to find summer housing. However, it can be a tricky world to navigate and you’ll want to have your wits about you. You don’t want to end up in a bad living situation for three months, shafted out of your hard-earned money, or bamboozled by a fake Craigslist ad. Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re subleasing.

Always ask for pictures and an address

Many listings will keep the address private for privacy reasons, which is totally understandable, but you should know the exact address you are committing to before you sign a contract, which we’ll get to later.  If someone won’t give you an address or show you pictures of the home or room you’re renting, you need to run. You wouldn’t buy a car without seeing it, so why agree to live in a home where you haven’t seen? Many listings will tell you the neighborhood, and that’s a great start, but when you start talking privately about negotiations it is totally reasonable for you to ask for an exact address. This will let you figure out the logistics of getting to work, grocery stores, nearby transportation, etc. Pictures will allow you to make sure you’re not paying an arm and a leg for a literal closet or moving into a room with a bed and nothing else if you’re expecting some other furnishings.

Venmo is not a protected form of payment

College students have started using Venmo more and more for casual transactions between friends, which is fine when you’re paying someone back for a coffee break, but maybe not the method you want to use to pay your $1500 rent for the month. Most people recommend using a protected method like PayPal or a money order that will allow you to seek mediation if something goes wrong and you need to get your money back. Venmo offers no such protection and isn’t advisable when dealing with strangers, especially over the internet.

A contract is your friend

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will. Having a sublease contract, even a basic one, signed by all parties, is the smart move. A contract will protect you both from one party backing out at the last minute, misunderstandings over rent and payment, and confusion over move in and move out dates. It certainly can never hurt. A contract should be signed before any money changes hands to protect you both. Here is a website where you can make sublease contracts from a template.

You never know what roommates you’ll find

If you’re subleasing a room in a larger apartment or home, it’s likely that you’ll have roommates whom you don’t know. Hopefully college has prepared you to live with strangers, but even if you know some of the people that live in your summer home, it is still possible that they will sublease their rooms to other people that you don’t know. Don’t let this deter you from getting summer roommates. Living with others teaches you a lot about human nature and your own tendencies and you certainly won’t be lonely! Abide by standard roommate behavior and don’t be that girl who is unreasonably messy, doesn’t contribute to the grocery bill, or throws loud parties at 3AM on a Tuesday night.

RELATED READ: 30 Essentials You Need For Your First Apartment

Leave in better condition than you found (within reason)

Be a courteous subleaser. Don’t trash the place, even if you’re living in a place inhabited year round by your friends.  Be courteous about the dishware and other facilities like the bathroom drain. Give the place a deep scrub before you leave, even if it wasn’t that clean when you arrived. You want to leave a good impression. If you make “improvements” make them minor and reversible. If you hate the wallpaper, don’t just go and change it. Little improvements like weeding and cleaning out grout are advisable, not major improvements like you would see on Fixer Upper.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member