Subletting can be a daunting task for students looking to fill their room.
Whether it’s the fear of sketchy subletters or even the process of finding someone in the first place, there are a lot of things to consider.
The good news is, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Glenn Matthews, housing mediator at Western University and Fanshawe College, recommends students create a written agreement with their subletters as a precaution.
“If the subletter messes up, you have some grounds to go after [them]. You’ve got something in writing that says, ‘you were going to pay rent for this,'” says Matthews. “Unfortunately, you may have to go to small-claims court to deal with that.”
Another thing for students to know, Matthews notes, is the difference between subletting a room and assigning a room.
“[With] subletting, you’re still keeping control of the property, [because] you’re probably coming back in the future at some point in time. You continue to have responsibility of the [place],” Matthews says. “When you assign the [place], you’re giving up all responsibility and giving your contract over to a new person.”
He also says it’s better to look at the person coming in the door, rather than the money.
“Generally, the landlord can stop subletting if they have a justifiable reason. So if you go out and find — and this isn’t the right term — an axe murderer to be your subletter, the landlord can say ‘that’s not reasonable; we don’t want a subletter,'” says Matthews.
Things to do when subletting:
- notify your landlord — if you’re covered under the Residential Tenancy Act, the landlord can generally not stop you from subletting
- decide whether to sublet or assign your room — if you’re not planning on returning the next year, it’s better to try assigning the room
- create a written sublet agreement with your subletter
- take date-stamped pictures of your room that clearly show its condition before leaving
- minimize any personal items left behind, and make a list of those items
- consider asking your subletter to provide a guarantor that will ensure you will be paid
- find out your subletter’s home address, in case you need to track them down for payment