Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Make Extra Money By Subletting Your Apartment?

This weekend's City section had an article about people who sublet out their apartments when they're going to be away. Would you feel comfortable doing this to make extra money? I'm not sure I would.
I actually had some experience with this kind of arrangement last summer, as I sublet a couple different apartments while waiting to close on my condo. But I was the person who needed the place to stay, not the person who had to worry about someone else using, breaking, or stealing all their stuff! If I knew I'd be getting a tenant like me, I wouldn't mind renting out my apartment now and then, but I am not sure most people would meet the standards I held myself to! The people I rented from were away on extended vacations, and when they returned to their homes, they found everything exactly as they left it only cleaner, and I think they were all very pleased with the deal.
A few things I would try to do if I wanted to sublet my apartment:
-- Communicate clearly about your living space, especially if you're dealing with out-of-towners. Accurately describe the neighborhood, the size of the apartment, the amenities of the building (or lack thereof).
-- Lock away valuables in a closet or storage space, or leave them with a friend.
-- Also lock away valuable personal information such as financial documents
-- Leave a list of phone numbers for any maintenance issues: landlord, superintendant, plumber, etc.
-- Make sure a local friend has keys to your apartment and can check in if problems arise, especially if you'll be hard to reach.
-- Collect payment up front, and get a security deposit.
-- Make sure you have cleaning supplies and show the subletter where they are. Even if you don't expect them to thoroughly clean the apartment before they leave, you want them to be able to deal with any spills or accidents.
-- Communicate clearly about your expectations: what can your subletter use? Food? Bedding and towels? Cooking equipment? Laundry facilities? Are certain parts of the apartment off-limits? Do you expect them to water your plants?
-- Be realistic. If you're very picky about your home and its furnishings, maybe subletting it out isn't the right thing for you. Instead you might consider making your own vacations more affordable by doing home swaps-- that way you at least know the person in your apartment has an equal stake in the deal!


Anonymous said...

I sublet apartments a few times: once during the summer (2 summers actually) while I was in law school but working somewhere else over the summer, and once where I wanted to move but had 3 months left on my lease. In all cases, I collected the money up-front and continued to pay my landlord directly.

I was lucky to have pretty decent subtenants who didn't do any damage to the apartments. I didn't care about my furniture when I was in school, so I wasn't too worried about renting that apartment furnished. The other apartment had nicer stuff, but I moved it out before the subtenant moved in.

Anonymous said...

My coworkers dad had a lifelong dream to live in NYC. He subletted an apartment last summer, and he had a great time. I'm not sure how clean he was or the guy who subletted the place, but it helped him realize his dream for a small amt. of money, and had the experience of a lifetime.

Tired of being broke said...

I could not see myself subletting my apartment to anyone. I barely want family to visit, much less to have perfect strangers living in my space.

Anonymous said...

we did a sublet for memorial day weekend this year and it was great. Hotels are soooo expensive in NYC and we got a penthouse in East Village for less than it would have cost us for a shoebox hotel room!
granted, it was a personal recommendation, but I assure you that the host was happy w/ the money he made, too!!

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