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8 Ways to Safeguard Your Security Deposit When Subletting

Convenient as subletting your apartment may be, you can’t take it lightly. Turn your keys over to a reckless subletter, and your security deposit could be in jeopardy.

Here are eight ways to protect yourself and your money when subletting your apartment. Although the following precautions can help, they provide no guarantees. The buck stops with you. You’re responsible for your apartment, and any damages caused by your subletter will come out of your pocket.

However, the following eight tips can minimize the risk to your apartment and security deposit.

8 Subletting Considerations to Save Your Security Deposit

1. Form an idea of your ideal renter – Think about the kind of person you think would want to live in your apartment. Is it most likely suited for a student? A young professional? Write down two or three demographic who fit your description, so you know where to target any marketing efforts.

Remember, race, gender, disabilities, etc. can’t preclude you from renting to someone. Make sure you’re abiding by fair housing laws as you target your ideal demographic.

2. Have the subletter complete an inspection form – Once you’ve picked your subletter, walk around the apartment with them and thoroughly document any damages you see, including descriptions and photos. Have them sign an agreement holding them responsible for any damages they cause. Documenting your apartment’s condition provides proof just in case your subletter abuses the space.

3. Require a security deposit – It’s by no means unreasonable to ask for a security deposit from your subletter. In fact, it’s recommended. It will help shift some of the financial burden off your back in the event the subletter does some damage.

4. Ask your landlord what they look for in a tenant – Your landlord is an expert in judging a tenant’s character. Ask them the qualities they look for in a responsible renter. Use them to scrutinize your prospects.

5. Run a credit and background check – The subletter says they can pay the rent, but you can’t be absolutely certain without running a credit check (and yeah, sometimes not even then.) Similarly, running a background check through CCAP is a good way to flesh out any red flags from a prospective subletter.

6. Ask for references – Why not? Your cash is on the line. Ask for personal references so you can judge their credibility.

7. Make sure your roommates meet them – First impressions are key. If you have roommies, get their two cents on their future temporary roomie. Everybody picks up on different qualities. Plus the roomies will hate you for life if you sublet to a jerk, so better get some consensus.

8. Inquire about their renting history – A subletter’s renting history can be the window to the soul. If it’s their first time living alone, for instance, be careful. Conversely, a person who rented from the same landlord for the previous three years is probably a good bet.

There’s always some risk when subletting. However, these eight guidelines so you can maximize the reward of subletting successfully.

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