What Should I Consider Before Becoming Involved in Apartment Subletting?

Sheri Cyprus

In some cases, apartment subletting can work out well for all parties involved. The person doing the subletting makes some extra income while the person he or she sublets to may be able to live in a building or area they otherwise couldn't afford or have access to. However, there are also many things that could go wrong in apartment subletting such as roommate disagreements or damage done to the premises. Many condo buildings have policies that prevent subletting.

Having a roommate can be a challenging experience.
Having a roommate can be a challenging experience.

In rental situations, the landlord has to give his or her permission for apartment subletting. Rental agreements usually spell out the exact requirements in regard to subletting and disobeying the lease may result in an eviction notice. If a landlord agrees to the subletting situation, then a separate lease for the subletting tenant may be created. In the case where the person doing the subletting owns his or her suite, the condo building policy in regard to subletting is in effect. Some policies state that the units must be owner-occupied, while other building policies allow investors the right to apartment subletting to earn rental income.

Under most leases, landlords must give permission before an apartment can be sublet.
Under most leases, landlords must give permission before an apartment can be sublet.

Apartment subletting may be short-term or long-term. Shorter term rentals may be for the summer, while longer terms may be for a year or more. It can be difficult for both parties interested in apartment subletting to reach a suitable agreement that they both trust. There are realtors that specialize in apartment subletting and this may take a lot of hassle out of the situation, but they may charge a fee between 25% and 40% of the amount of the sublet.

In situations where a person is letting out a room in the rented or owned condo they live in, roommate disagreements are likely to occur that can make the subletting arrangement problematic for both parties. An agreement should be made as to expectations and responsibilities about issues such as cleaning, cooking and bill paying. Regular meetings should be held so that any disagreements or resentments don't escalate.

Roommates should discuss expectations, like cleaning, before moving in together.
Roommates should discuss expectations, like cleaning, before moving in together.

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Discussion Comments


@umbra21 - It's not so bad if it's a self contained space rather than just a room. The worst experience I ever had was moving into a sublet apartment with a roommate I didn't choose who was a drug user. She would often wake me up in the middle of the night because she wanted to talk, even though we didn't know each other at all and she kept infecting the apartment with bedbugs.

In the end I moved out just to get away from her. It's worth paying extra if you can afford it just to have your own space where no one can intrude without your permission.


@clintflint - Subletting with friends is not a good idea unless you know you're OK to live together. Particularly if one of you is the landlord or the head tenant.

It's so difficult to be put in the kind of situation where you have to enforce the rules to someone who thinks of you as a friend. I've always had a lot more success living with strangers who become friends rather than trying to make it work with people I already knew well.


This can be the best or the worst kind of living arrangement. I'm currently subletting with a very nice couple of people and we live happily together.

I get to occasionally play with their cats without actually having to take care of them all the time and they get someone responsible, who pays the rent on time and doesn't make a mess in the kitchen.

But, I've also lived in apartments with people who were not clean or considerate or quiet and it can be a terrible experience.

If you have friends you know you can live with, I would try apartment subletting with them rather than risk it with strangers.

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