SEATTLE (Zillow) — Subletting is a great solution for college students, temporary dwellers and those who don’t want to sign a yearlong lease. Here are some simple codes to follow that ensure the best relationship possible between the renter and the original tenant. Nurturing a healthy relationship can give you a good reference should you look to sublet again.
Respect the space
While you may want to personalize and decorate the apartment, remember that you will be staying only temporarily. Decorate with that in mind and use easily removable accessories such as wall decals and plants, rather than nailing in artwork or investing in heavy, cumbersome furniture. You’ll have all the time in the future to decorate a permanent home, but now is not that time.
If the original tenant is leaving furniture and you need space, try to negotiate using a self-storage unit. The two of you could share the cost if you both decide to use it.
Designate a monthly check-in
This is pretty easy to do: Every month, check in with the original tenant and give a brief update on the apartment. Whether it’s by phone, text, email or even Facebook, any assurances from your end will let the original tenant know that you’re responsible, respectful and that the apartment is still in good shape.
Keep them in the loop
Let the original tenant know everything that happens apartment-related — it’s still their home, after all. Did you have to call maintenance to fix issues with the toilet? Did you have a fight with the management company over the electricity bill? Is there an increase of crickets in the apartment? Don’t let the original tenant return to their apartment unaware of everything that happened while you were there.
Keep all records
This is just a good practice in any situation: Get in the habit of keeping any documents that could prove or backup your situation, should the need arise. In the specific case of subletting, keep copies of any documents and communications with anyone who also deals with the apartment.
Think of the two of you as a team — you’re essentially roommates, after all. Both of you want the apartment to be the best place to live, and both of you are equally responsible for what happens there. Work with the original tenant and you’ll find you can help each other make the subletting process as enjoyable as possible.
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