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What Are the Benefits of a Sublet Versus a Rental?

The application process and move-in costs for sublets are easier and cheaper than for traditional leases.

A sublet is a great alternative for people seeking a situation that's a little—or in some cases, a lot—more flexible than a traditional lease. When you sublet, you rent from a tenant who signed the original lease agreement with the landlord. You can either live with them or take their place while they're gone. Because you're not the primary leaseholder, the requirements for getting approved by the landlord are less strict and the length of the lease can be more flexible.

Here are five reasons you might want to find a sublet instead of a traditional apartment lease.

1. Your credit can be low

All landlords require that you complete and submit a rental application for approval before you can rent their apartment. The application includes a credit report check, and if your credit is lower than 650—or nonexistent—you will probably get rejected for a traditional lease.

On the other hand, most tenants looking to find a subletter are not as strict as professional landlords about credit scores. If they're going to get approval to sublet from their landlord (which is likely), the landlord won't be as strict either.

If your credit history has made it difficult for you to rent apartments in the past, then subletting may be your best option.

2. You don't have to stay for a year

If you just accepted a four-month internship or you're in-between apartments for a couple of months, it might be hard to find anything shorter than a year-long lease agreement. You’ll lose money if you sign a longer lease and end up trying to break it.

You can sign a sublease agreement for the exact number of months that you want. Or, you may be able to find one that’s a month-to-month arrangement.

3. You'll save money on move-in costs

The amount of money you’re expected to put down when you sign a lease agreement can be overwhelming. Many landlords require first and last months' rent, plus a security deposit. Most of us don't have this kind of cash lying around.

If you want to save this money, go for a sublet. For most of the sublets on Caretaker, you're only required to pay the first month's rent plus a security deposit—and this is often negotiable, as well.

4. You'll pay less rent

You may be able to rent the same apartment for less money than what the tenant is paying. Some tenants are willing to settle for a lower amount just so they can get the rent covered quickly and move on to the next thing.

The market may also have shifted. If the renter signed a lease a year ago and the rates have gone down since, they may have no choice but to sublet to you at a lower rent price.

5. You can test out the neighborhood

If you're subletting, you have a chance to learn more about the neighborhood and the building before signing a long-term lease. You’ll have time to get to find the nearest grocery stores, figure out who your neighbors are, and understand the pros and cons of the area you're in.

You'll also discover the things about the building or the apartment that you wouldn't have otherwise known (think weird smells emanating from a restaurant downstairs, low shower pressure, thin walls). If you decide to renew the lease directly with the landlord, you can make that long-term commitment with your eyes wide open.

Convinced? Start browsing sublets on Caretaker now.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.