Questions to Ask When Subletting

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Subletting involves renting a property from someone who is already renting it from someone else. This may be because the original renter is expecting to be out of town for a time, is moving or simply thinks he can make some money. Sometimes subletting is only for a portion of the property. If you are planning to sublet an apartment, you should ask the same questions you would ask any landlord, plus a few more.

Terms of the Sublet

When looking to sublet an apartment, ask to see the original contract signed between the landlord and the person you will be subletting for. It’s important that you establish that subletting is actually allowed under the terms of his contract. If it is not specifically addressed, you must get written permission from the landlord stating that you are allowed to sublet the apartment. Ask about any additional terms added to the original rental agreement that may apply only to those subletting.


Before signing a lease agreement, ask about the history of repairs to the apartment. You need to know if any work has been done recently; what problems there were and how they were fixed. This can alert you to recurring issues with mold, rot or the air conditioning. Ask if any renovations or repairs are planned for the near future. You also need to know who will be responsible for repairs once you have moved in.

Rent and Fees

It isn't enough to simply know how much the rent is. Be sure you understand when the rent is due and what utilities it covers. It’s also a good idea to get an estimate on the usual cost of those utilities not covered. Make sure you understand any application fees or deposits that have to be paid up front. If you pay a security deposit, ask about how much you will get back and under what conditions. There may also be fees for breaking a lease, or for paying rent late.

Rules of the Apartment

Find out just what you’re allowed to do with and in the apartment; if there are rules about painting, hanging pictures, noise levels or having overnight guests. If you own or would like to get a pet, that needs to be addressed. Discuss the parking situation, where you’re allowed to park and what fees might be connected with it. The same goes for facilities like swimming pools and gyms. Be aware of any policies concerning bringing guests with you. It’s also smart to find out how much hot water you get before you decide to share your shower.

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