Essential guide to preparing your home for sublet

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We probably live in an era that subletting has become fashionable. One of the biggest housing agencies in the world is an online site, which owns no property and deals mainly with subletting. People on winter holidays sublet their homes or apartments. Students heading home in the summertime for long vacations sublet.

In case you never heard of subletting or you are trying it for the first time it will require some legal and sleuth skills, preparations, advertisement, and scrutiny. You might even be reluctant to give your castle keys to a complete stranger. But you understand it to be as a smart way of making some extra money on the side.  Thus, we present you 8 steps on how to efficiently prepare your home for subletting.

Check your tenancy agreement allows

Site before construction on former garage:   by Satish Jassal Architects
Satish Jassal Architects

Site before construction on former garage

Satish Jassal Architects

First things first, you will need to sit down on your desk and scan through the tenancy agreement. Your landlord might take legal action against you if you sublet without his permission. Subletting will be unlawful without a landlord’s permission or if the tenancy agreement has no provisions allowing it.

In either circumstance, your landlord can evict you from the house for breaking the tenancy agreement. If you have a local authority or house association as a landlord, subletting without legal permission can be a criminal offence! Thus, to avoid any miss-happenings make sure to step on firm legal ground before subletting.

Determine which rooms are included

Collection: minimalistic Bedroom by ateljé Lyktan
ateljé Lyktan

Collection

ateljé Lyktan

If your tenancy agreement or landlord has given the green light, then it is time to determine which rooms will be included in the sublet agreement. The unused bedroom, of course, you will say and you will be absolutely right! But there are further considerations to balance. 

One will be the proximity between the prospective sublet room and the rest of the house. For example, if a house constitutes 3 bedrooms, 2 on the upper deck and 1 on the lower, it might be better to sublet the lower deck room. It will provide more privacy to the new tenant and to you.  

Also, you need to consider the access points of the sublet room to the bathroom and the exit. As we will discuss in the next section, an en-suite bathroom can bring up the price of the room. In relation to the exit, it will again be a matter of privacy as a sublet room close to the door gives the new tenant the opportunity to come and go without disturbing the peace of the house. 

Fix a fair price

Double Award Winner - Engineering First Creates Super Energy Efficient Pool: minimalistic Pool by London Swimming Pool Company
London Swimming Pool Company

Double Award Winner—Engineering First Creates Super Energy Efficient Pool

London Swimming Pool Company

The amount you will charge for the room will depend on different variables. For example, the neighbourhood and proximity to certain locations such as university, city centre, shopping malls, attractions and the beach will drive up the price of the room. It is all about demand and the higher the demand due to certain locations the higher will be the price.

It will be prudent thought to examine the renting market that surrounds your house. By researching how much rooms with the same features as yours are being rented, you can have a clearer picture of what is a fair price.

The sublet price will also be affected by the amenities offered. If the new tenant has access to a pool then that surely will drive the price up. The availability of bathrooms will always be a price indicator. Of course, the size of the room and house as well as the people occupying it will affect the final price.

Draft a rental agreement

Urban Nomad Revisited: scandinavian Study/office by Studio Isabel Quiroga
Studio Isabel Quiroga

Urban Nomad Revisited

Studio Isabel Quiroga

After you have determined a price it is time to get into your legal shoes by drafting an agreement. The agreement should include the size of the room, a general description of the property and what is considered to be common area for the new tenant.

Next, include a section for the rent. It should specify the amount to be paid and when it will be due. You always have the choice to opt for a weekly payable rent rather than a monthly. The agreement should also have provisions in case of a late rent payments and what, if any, will be the incurred fees. 

And do not forget to include the term of the sub-lease specifying the duration, when the tenant will move in and move out of the room. The legal agreement doesn't need to be a perfect legal draft rather a document setting down the parameters of subletting.

Prepare the room(s)

Ice White House-Luxury home: minimalistic Bedroom by Quirke McNamara
Quirke McNamara

Ice White House-Luxury home

Quirke McNamara

The next step will be to prepare the room for subletting. You will need to endeavour in a complete clear out. First, empty the room from all your possessions including any artwork, decorations, furniture and clothes. Clean the room by washing everything from walls to ceilings. The cleaning should take into consideration the lights of the room, the electrical outlets, the bed and the doors. And do not forget the floor! In essence, make sure to have a spotless room.

If the room is in need of some repairs, then do the handwork. Holes on the walls should be filled, broken electrical outlets changed and replace missing trim or readjust hanging doors. After you have cleaned and repaired the room decide what furniture will be included. You can choose to go as simple as the image by providing only bed covers, sheets, pillows and a rug for the floor. 

Create some house rules

Chalkboard Placemats: rustic Dining room by Altered Chic
Altered Chic

Chalkboard Placemats

Altered Chic

Along with the rental agreement you should put a set of house rules. It is imperative for the tenant to be aware of what is expected in the house and what set of behaviours will be tolerated. The rule list should include habits such as smoking and alcohol. You should specify if the house is a complete smoke-free zone or whether the tenant will not be allowed to bring alcohol into the house.

The same will apply for guests. The house rules should provide when the tenant will be allowed to invite guests, if they can stay overnight or if they can use the common areas. And since we are talking about common areas, you should exemplify if the tenant is allowed to use them any time of the day.

Advertise the room(s)

Contemporary Notice Board :  Office spaces & stores  by Kiki Voltaire
Kiki Voltaire

Contemporary Notice Board

Kiki Voltaire

In order to find a tenant you will need the help of advertisement. In the ad make sure to be as specific as you can about the room, including the house rules and the privileges. It would be preferable if the applicants met with your criteria, wouldn't it? 

You can use noticeboards or papers at universities for placing ads in case you are looking for a student and churches or community centers if you are looking for an older tenant. 

You can go old fashion by placing your ads on newspapers or you can jump the bandwagon and use online websites which attract a great number of people looking for a place to live. Whatever your choice, always remember that a good and specific advertisement is important when looking for a tenant who matches your wants.   

Screen applicants

Perpetual Calendar :  Office spaces & stores  by Block Design
Block Design

Perpetual Calendar

Block Design

The most likely scenario is that you will have more than one applicant, giving you the possibility of a choice. Thus, you will need to screen the applicants to find the best suited. 

Schedule appointments for an interview in which you will show the house and sit down with the prospective tenants to go through the legal agreement and house rules. In the interview, you can ask his or hers habits and work schedule, so you can have a better idea if they fit the profile of a tenant you wish to have. 

To avoid any mishaps with the rent it will be better if you inquest about income. That might include a proof of employment or tax papers. Finally, you can request a reference from previous landlords. If they have never rented before then a reference might come from a friend or a professor. 

In the end, subletting a space in your home can turn to be a smart financial move. However, you will need to make sure that the person coming in will fit with your lifestyle and will abide by the house rules. But remember, in a renting scenario you will also have responsibilities by providing what has been agreed!

For more home rental advice, you might like to check out: 7 Ways To Decorate Your Home When Renting.

What other preparations should be undertaken before subletting? We would love to hear them in the comments, below!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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