Subletting Your Apartment When Studying Abroad

By Victoria Robertson on May 5, 2019

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When on a college campus, the number of study abroad programs can be overwhelming. So when you finally narrow the choice down to a program that you’re excited about, your last concern should have to be regarding your current, on-campus living situation. Or rather, such a situation shouldn’t deter you from pursuing this program.

The easiest way to manage this situation if you are living in an apartment is to sublet for the duration of your study abroad program. However, prior to committing to this idea, remember these six tips to ensure you don’t come back to a problem!

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1. Get Your Roommates On Board

First and foremost, if you have roommates, you are not the only person who has stakes in a sublet. For this reason, you need to immediately include your roommate(s) in the decision process related to subletting your apartment.

While you’re ultimately not going to be able to find the perfect person, and the odds of making everyone happy are slim, communication is very important here, so you’re going to need to speak with your roommates, get them on board and develop a clear plan to move forward.

2. Communicate With Your Landlord

Subletting your apartment isn’t as easy as deciding you’re going to do it. In fact, you often need to communicate with your landlord to do this, as some apartment complexes don’t actually allow sublets.

So, for starters, if you’re planning on studying abroad, check to see if your apartment allows you to sublet. If they do, be sure to sign a sublet agreement between yourself and your landlord and the other individual to ensure everyone is covered, legally speaking. And in the case of damage to the apartment, this can oftentimes save you a high cost as well.

3. Determine a Realistic Budget

The reality is, most sublets aren’t going to pay you the full amount of rent, especially if you’re looking for a short-term renter. For that reason, you need to figure out what’s financially feasible for you.

For instance, are you financially able to cover half of the rent on your own, or are you able to cover all of it? If you aren’t able to cover any of it, you may want to look at other options, or start looking for a sublet very far in advance, as there are few and far between that will be willing to pay full price, depending on the timing.

4. Do Your Research

I can’t stress this enough: don’t just sublet to any person. The sublet is an extension of you, and most renters agreements stress that you are responsible for any damages, etc., done by your sublet. In addition, if they get into legal trouble or a fight with your roommates, this will fall back on you.

Be sure to meet with the person you’re subletting to ahead of time and do your research on them. Get to know them personally because if you wouldn’t live with them, odds are they aren’t going to be a good sublet.

5. Set a Clear Timeline

If you’re going to be gone for X amount of time, be sure to actually be gone for that amount of time. If you come back early, you won’t have a place to stay. If you come back late, you’re going to have to cover the full amount of rent as you will no longer have a sublet.

It’s important to give the sublet enough notice so they know when they need to move out by so they can find another living situation before it’s too late. You don’t want to put them in a situation in which they don’t have a place to stay, so be sure to define those timelines up front.

6. Be Available

Just because you’re studying abroad does not mean you can go completely off the grid, especially if you have a sublet. If someone needs to contact you while you’re gone, or your sublet needs to contact you, you should be available to them.

Remember that you have responsibilities back home, even if you aren’t there, so making yourself available (not at all time, but at least to the point that they can reach you in case of emergency) is very important. This will also help to set a clear precedent for any future sublets.

These six tips are only the tip of the iceberg, so it also helps to talk with individuals that have done it before, to meet with your landlord to discuss your options and to even talk to your university to see if there are any options available to you.

Subletting your apartment when studying abroad can be stressful and confusing, but keep these six tips in mind and you’ll be ready to travel without any hassle waiting for you back at home!

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Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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