How to Sublet Your Apartment


If you’ve thought about taking some time off to live abroad, you have probably also thought about how you would afford to do it. Obviously you’ll need to have saved a significant amount of money. That is, unless you have some kind of flexible source of income that allows you to work from anywhere.

Whatever the case, how can you lower your costs while out of the country to make your dollar stretch further? If you think about your current expenses, housing and related utilities are probably your biggest costs.

When I decided to move to Mexico for a while, we originally were planning to move for a few months and leave our San Francisco apartment empty. At some point, we started considering subletting our place instead.

That was one of the best decisions we could have made about the trip. It has allowed us to stay for much longer without spending much more. Subletting our apartment and moving to Mexico has literally cut our cost of living in half.

How to sublet your apartment

How do you go about subletting an apartment or house anyways? There are a few things to consider before looking for the ideal tenant.

Do you live in a desirable part of the world? If you live somewhere that people tend to vacation, you’ll have a better chance of finding people to live in your home. It’s not impossible otherwise, but living in New York, San Francisco, near a beach, ski resort, etc. will make things easier.

Do you rent or own? If you currently rent, take a look at your lease agreement. It’s likely that the agreement doesn’t allow you to sublet. That was our situation, but we were able to get permission from our landlord because we had a good relationship.

Are you comfortable with people using your furniture or other belongings? If you’re planning to be gone for six months or less, potential tenants will probably expect your home to come furnished.

If you’re OK with these potential obstacles and want to go forward with subletting, now it’s time to think about finding the right people to live in your place. Craigslist is of course a popular place to advertise. We happened to find a nice couple through word of mouth who were planning to renovate their house and needed a place to live in the interim.

Make sure that you specify how much the rent will be and who will pay the utilities. You’ll want to use a formal subletting agreement as well. Check with your landlord if you’re renting about who should draft the agreement.

Do you have any experience with subletting a house or apartment? Tell us about it in the comments!

This is part six in a series of posts called living in Mexico.

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I'm Corbett Barr, founder of Fizzle and Palapa and co-host of The Fizzle Show. This is where I write about building businesses, living the good life, and doing work that matters. More about me »

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