If you are a student, you are probably on a budget, and one of the biggest expenses, after tuition of course, is rent. A summer job is vital to most students and often this involves moving back to your parents for the summer months or finding a job further afield. You probably don’t want to give up your apartment and no one wants to pay rent on an empty place, so consider subletting your apartment. This will allow you to save money and hold onto your apartment.
What is a sublet?
A sublet is when you, the original tenant, rents your apartment, or your room in a shared apartment, to someone for a pre-determined amount of time, e.g. the summer, and you have the intention of returning to the apartment. In a sublet, the sub-tenant pays the tenant and the tenant continues to pay the landlord. You are still responsible for the rent. A sublet for the summer is very common, especially with students, because they may have a one-year lease but are often out of town during the summer.
(Another term you may encounter is Assignment, which is similar to sublet except that someone takes over your lease and you do not intend to return to the apartment. This person is then the new tenant and is fully responsible for the rent etc.)
Will my landlord let me sublet?
Before you sublet, review your lease for any rules or restrictions on subletting. In Canada each province has its own legislation governing landlords and tenants, but generally, across the country, a landlord cannot unreasonably withhold their consent if you ask to sublet. In Ontario, if you feel that your landlord is being unreasonable, you can go to the Landlord and Tenant Board to either force the landlord to agree or to cancel the lease. Keep in mind though that if you lose your lease, you will be obliged to find a new home, possibly on short notice.
Some people take the risk of subletting without the landlord’s permission. If the landlord finds out about the sublet, he has 60 days to apply to the Landlord Tenant Board to end not only the sublet but your tenancy as well. If you don’t hear anything from the landlord in the 60 days after he finds out about the sublet, it is understood that he has accepted the sublease. Before you sublet, be aware not only of the rules of your lease but also the government legislation in your area.
How do I find someone to sublet?
• Start by asking your roommates (if you have them) and friends if they know anyone they can recommend.
• Use the student housing office; they usually have an online listing for student rentals.
• Use websites such as Craigslist to advertise your sublet.
How much can I charge the sub-tenant?
Generally, you cannot ask a sub-tenant for more rent than you pay. Most people who are subletting will offer a price less than the rent, especially in a market where there are more rentals than renters. You might include utilities, internet, etc. as part of the rent if only to avoid the hassle of determining and collecting the extra fees from your sub-tenant.
What should I do to prepare for my sub-tenant?
In preparation for your sub-tenant you should pack away personal possessions and store them with a friend or in a storage unit. Do not leave out items that you do not want used or damaged. No matter how reliable your sub-tenant is, accidents happen. Provide your sub-tenant with a list of contacts such as the building superintendent, plumbers and repair people, helpful neighbours, and your own number of course. You may not go to the bother of forwarding your mail for the summer, so make sure your sub-tenant has the mailbox key and knows to check your mail for anything important.
When can I return to my apartment?
You can return to your apartment on the date you agreed upon with your sub-tenant. They have no right to stay beyond this point.