Searching for housing is always stressful, but especially this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when money is tight, subletting or subleasing can be a great way to afford rent.
According to Investopedia, subleasing is when a tenant rents out their apartment to a third party. A sublease is subject to stipulations from the original lease and some leases explicitly forbid subletting. In most cases, the original property owner has to be notified of subleasing beforehand and must approve of the subtenant.
Subleasing can be a good option for those who are planning on being away from their apartment during a portion of their lease, because the subtenant can cover a portion of your rent until they return. It’s also a good idea for someone who wants to pay less rent and doesn’t mind an extra roommate.
To avoid spreading COVID-19 to a roommate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying in one’s personal bedroom for at least 10 days. Potential subtenants might consider quarantining and getting tested before moving in. In apartments with multiple bathrooms, designating one specific bathroom for someone under quarantine is also recommended by the CDC.
Individuals planning to live in a sublet apartment should ask the tenants to get tested before moving in. While living in the apartment, wearing a mask and maintaining a social distance of 6 feet are effective ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Some apartments are furnished before anyone moves in. The coronavirus can last on surfaces anywhere from a few hours on surfaces such as aluminum to several days on glass, according to John’s Hopkins Medicine. Make sure to disinfect any surfaces in the apartment before touching your mouth or face.
Before moving into an apartment, it is important to inspect it for mold, damages and other irregularities that might interfere with the security deposit. According to Indiana Legal Services, a security deposit is a one-time payment, typically worth one month of rent, that is returned to the tenants at the end of their lease if they kept their apartment in good condition.
For those planning to sublet an apartment, knowing your rights will allow you to be more cognizant of your safety. IU Student Legal Services offers free legal advice to students who have questions about off-campus leases and can help students schedule appointments with attorneys.