Whether renting an apartment in Hattiesburg or beyond, at some point in a tenant’s rental history they will need to move out early and break a lease. To avoid the costly fees associated with breaking a legally binding rental agreement, there is an option for tenants: subletting.
A sublet, also referred to as a sublease, is a legally binding agreement that allows a tenant to rent out their apartment to someone else while keeping their name on the original lease.
Subletting your apartment will allow you to leave your lease early, or for extended periods, without financial consequences…but it does have risks. To help you avoid any legal or financial pitfalls, here are the proper steps to a successful apartment sublet.
Before you can even think about finding a suitable candidate to live in your apartment, you first need to determine if your landlord or management company will allow it.
Check Your Lease
Your original lease, the master lease, will detail in writing if subletting is allowed. If it is, the lease will contain specific language and requirements that must be met in order to properly sublet your rental. From applications and fees to time parameters, every lease and rental community is different. For apartments in Hattiesburg, since many college student renters leave for the summer, subletting requests are pretty common and therefore typically allowed.
If the master lease strictly forbids subletting, move on to the step below.
Talk to Your Landlord
Subletting is not an ideal situation for either party, tenant or landlord, but often times it’s caused by an unavoidable occurrence. If your lease forbids subletting, before taking that “no” as the final answer you should talk to your landlord. Either in person or in writing you should submit a formal request detailing why you need to sublet. After discussing, there may terms and conditions allowing a sublet that both parties can agree to. From extra deposits to paying for background checks, there are usually ways to negotiate.
Cover Your Interests
Once you have received approval to sublet your apartment, here are your next steps:
Notify Landlord in Writing
30 days prior to your move-out date notify your landlord or management company of your intent to sublet your apartment. Be sure to include the following:
* Move-out date
* Date of return (if subletting for set period of time, like summer break, include how long you will be gone)
* Written consent from all other parties on the lease (roommates and/or co-signer)
* Contact information for your new location
Create a Contract
No matter who takes over your lease, friend or someone you found on Craigslist, you must always have a written subletting agreement in place. Much like your master lease, the sublet lease will contain many of the same important legally binding elements.
* Move-in/Move-out dates
* Names of parties involved
* Rental payment amount
* Late fees
* Non-payment terms (i.e. eviction)
Unless you are a lawyer, do yourself a favor and use a professional contract form for the subletting agreement. Click here for sublease forms for an apartment in Hattiesburg or any other state.
Take a Deposit
Ensure that your new subletting agreement includes a statement about a security deposit. Since the security deposit you initially gave for your master lease will not be returned until your lease term is over, you will want to cover yourself for any damages incurred by the subletter.
To avoid having funds come out of your pocket for damages you didn’t cause, it’s always advised to collect a security deposit with your subletting agreement.
Perform Move-In and Move-Out Inspections
To protect your apartment and all of the things contained within it, you should do a physical walkthrough with the subletter prior to move-in and immediately upon move-out. Be sure to keep an itemized list of any current physical damages to the apartment as well as an inventory of your belongings. In addition, take lots of photos to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Dependent upon market conditions, a tenant can expect to rent their apartment to a subletter for 70-80% of their monthly rental rate. This is a conservative assessment, but if your apartment is new and in a highly desirable area you will most likely cover 100% of your rental rate.
In high-demand college towns like ours, an apartment in Hattiesburg will definitely snag higher rates. The fact a sublease is often times furnished also helps to increase the rent. Bottom line is to be realistic and do research in your local market to determine the best rental rate.
Subletting Your Apartment in Hattiesburg
If you need to get out of your apartment lease in Hattiesburg, whether forever or for a few months, we can help. With over 40 years in the rental market our team has numerous resources available to help you find a suitable subletter and ensure your interests are covered. Contact us at 601.264.4626 with any questions!