Should you get a sublease?

real estate, tips for buyers and renters  /   /  By Aaron

Let’s say you’re in a city for a short period, whether traveling through for work, pleasure or family. You may find yourself in need for a place to stay for a few weeks or a couple of months. Not too long, but long enough for a hotel to be too expensive or to impose yourself as a guest of a friend or family member. Considering to sublease someone’s apartment could work for you, as it would allow you to have the comforts of home for your stay in town.

What is sublease?

Subleasing is where someone rents their property to you because they’re going to be away for a bit or won’t be using the property for a while but want to return to it. The tenant would need the landlord’s approval to do so, and if this is given then the apartment can be subleased.


Often, a subleased apartment will be furnished and decorated, and this is something you won’t be able to change. If you are looking for a short-term place that’s being sub-leased and there’s anything you dislike when inspecting the place, find somewhere different. For me, I’m obsessive about comfy couches, so if I was looking for a place I’d sit on the couch to make sure it’s one I could sit on at the end of each day. It’s a small thing, but there is usually a range of options available when it comes to subleasing. It could be possible that you can’t inspect a place before you arrive in a city, so ask questions of the tenant and request to see pictures as you make arrangements.

sublease apartment

Pictures help, not just to give you an idea of the property, but also if there’s any noticeable damage to it. One thing you don’t want happening, and which does happen, is a tenant could blame you for any damage that was already done in an attempt to have you pay instead of them. It’s not a nice thing to do, but it happens, and you need to make sure you’re covered. Take pictures of the rooms, of anything that seems off or broken, with a date stamp on the image just in case any previous damage is blamed on you.

Location is important if it’s a city you don’t know, so look on a map where it is and consider if you’ll have your own/access to a car, will require public transport or want to walk. I’ve had trips where I haven’t known the city and not researched where the apartment is to where I was working, and ended up on the other side of town. Made the month stay in that city overly annoying, as there wasn’t a good public transport system in place.

Make sure you are aware of what the tenant expects of you, as you are essentially living in their home, taking care of it while they’re away. Some may have strict instructions, others may be easy going, but you should treat where you’re staying with respect. Know that it’s a sublease, and that the tenant will be returning. So, if you’re supposed to be out by a certain date, be out by then. I know that sounds obvious, but with some properties I’ve rented when the date of the contract is up I’ve remained living there without signing a new one. A sublease is not a like a lease, the situation is different. You are staying in someone else’s home, not your own.

Subleasing can help you to settle yourself into a city, as well. You may be considering moving to a new city, but are unsure on whether or not you’ll stay. A sublease can make it so you don’t need to purchase your own furniture and can test drive a city before you commit to moving there long term. Not having to pay for any extras will leave you with more money in your pocket to enjoy your time in the city. To me, saving money is a good thing. Even though it’s easy to buy a second hand fridge, and then sell on that fridge it’s a lot of time wasted when you could have had one without a worry.

If you are staying interstate, make sure you are clear on what the subleasing laws are and what rights you have as a tenant in that state. Knowing the law and your rights is always important, just in case you have any issues.

Subleasing, in the end, can be a good thing for short-term stays, or for an extended holiday somewhere. It will end up less expensive than a hotel, and offer you the comforts of home.

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