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How to Find a Sublet

By: Angelina Bader and Davina Ward
June 1, 2021

You got a summer internship, a temporary work assignment, or you’re trying out a city that you’re contemplating moving to. Whatever the reason, sometimes finding a sublet or short-term rental is your best option. It saves you the hassle of singing and breaking a long-term lease, or convincing potential roommates to crash on their couch.

Don’t want summer accommodations to be one of your 99 problems? Here is a quick guide on where and how to find a sublet.

Prepare for a Challenge

Finding a short-term lease might be tough. Landlords want to fill their units, preferably with someone who will not vacate them soon after having moved in.

Screening prospective tenants takes time and money. It is in the landlord’s best interest to minimize the number of times they need to refill the same unit. Therefore, a landlord is more likely to be looking for someone who will commit to a longer lease. In turn, landlords don't like short-term leases and there is a big chance that your rent rate will be higher.

Find a Sublet on Student Housing Pages

If you’re a student or are looking to move to a college town over the summer, things might be a bit easier for you. Over the summer, many students return home and sublet their college apartments. Check out student housing pages and community groups to find short-term sublets.

Consider Month-to-Month Rentals

Month-to-month rental agreements are a great option for someone looking for a short-term lease. You won’t be tied to a year-long lease. If you need to move out either earlier or later, you can.

Don't Disregard Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals as short-term leases maybe your best bet for finding summer accommodations. These properties are designated for short-term leases. Therefore, the landlord will not be surprised when you tell them that you’re planning on staying for only a few months.

VacationRentals.com

There is even a website called exactly that, VacationRentals.com, which lets you search for long-term vacation rentals.

VRBO

Tried and tested, VRBO, which stands for Vacation Rental By Owner, has been around since 1996. The site has over 2 million homes and apartments listed, so you’ll be sure to find something available.

Timeshare-Resale-Rental.com

Can't find a sublet? If you know that you will need a place to stay in the same city, for several months at a time, on a regular basis, try Timeshare. There is the concept of timeshare, but then there are also websites such as Timeshare-Resale-Rental.com. You can sign a reoccurring lease and not have to worry about finding a place in a spot that you frequent ever again. Just note that you might have to withstand some pushy sales approaches, but in the end it might be all worth it.

Airbnb

Airbnb has become a prominent name in vacation rentals. Today, not only does Airbnb help you find your next home away from home for your next spring break, but it also has a catalog of sublets.

Find Sublets on Other Marketplaces

Using marketplaces such as Facebook and Craiglist makes searching for sublets simple, as these are websites you're most likely already familiar with. There won't be as many listings as the websites listed above, but it's an easy way to add sublet searching into your daily routine!

Facebook

Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, which makes it one of the best places to start your sublet search.

Facebook offers a few different ways to go about your sublet search:

  • Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is an online marketplace hosted on the Facebook platform. Generally, users list items or services, but many post available sublets as well.
  • Groups: You can find sublets in specific sublet groups based on your location. For example, NYC Sublets Group on Facebook is a great place to find a sublet.
  • Posting: Let people know you are looking for a sublet. A friend might bring the perfect opportunity right to your comments section.

The upside of using social media to inquire about a sublet is that you can do some sleuthing before committing to an agreement.

If you are renting one room in an apartment with others, you can check out your prospective roommates’ profiles alongside your subletters to get an idea of their interests and lifestyle.

If a smoker or a cat-crazed roommate doesn't sound like an ideal match, you can choose not to move forward with the sublet.

Be careful going through social media channels to find a sublet. You might run into a rental scam. Stay vigilant!

Craigslist

Craigslist is a great place to find a sublet, but you should exercise extreme caution when using the site.

As Craigslist relies on classified ads, there's no online payment portal to protect your money, nor are there any means of knowing who you are contacting before you meet them in person. Here are a few Craigslist safety tips and best practices:

  • Never exchange money if you don't have all the details.
  • Never meet in a private location for the first time.
  • Avoid ads without photos.
  • Use Google's reverse image search to help you weed out scammers using previously listed photos. Subletters should be posting updated photos of the apartment.

Although Craigslist can be a bit daunting to use, it's generally a good place to start in your sublet search.

Find your location's local Craigslist homepage and search for sublets. You'll be able to contact the potential subletter via email or phone call with information provided in their ad.

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AUTHOR
Angelina is a Marketing Specialist at Apartment List where she writes content on rental lifestyle. Angelina previously worked as a Russian and German language specialist at Facebook and Google, and has a BA in Applied Linguistics from UCLA. Read More
AUTHOR
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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