office of residential life
Thinking of subletting your apartment?
Do you have a lease through August but are planning to leave in May? Are you thinking of subletting your apartment for the summer? As you finish up exams, pack your bags, and prepare to sublet* your apartment for the summer, keep these important facts in mind. Spend your summer in the pool, not in court.
*To sublet is to rent your apartment to someone during your own lease term. There is a second lease on the apartment, but it does not negate or release you from your lease.
Finding Someone to Sublet from You
The Boston College Off-Campus Housing Office will list summer sublets. Call 617-552-3075. Your listing will stay active for one month only! If you call before one month has elapsed, you can simply renew the listing for another month. Be sure to include your summer telephone number everywhere you list. List your summer sublet as early as October!!
Create an attractive notice, including all important details. Print several copies and post them all around campus — in laundromats, in supermarkets, and on bulletin boards everywhere else.
List in local newspapers and with off-campus housing offices at other universities. A few of their telephone numbers are:
More Things to Keep in Mind
- Some leases prohibit subletting. Check with your landlord as to his/her requirements or procedures before subletting and check you lease to be sure that you are allowed to sublet. If not, get your landlord's permission IN WRITING!
- Unless otherwise instructed, make sure that you sign a sublet agreement. This ensures that the sublessee is legally obligated to you. You are still obligated to your landlord, so if the sublessee does not pay, you will be expected to! Remember: You remain liable for all obligations until your sublettor(s)' leave. Sample sublet agreement forms are available online.
- Try to get as much rent up front as possible, as well as a security deposit to cover possible damages.
- The landlord has the right to approve any sublessee (the person to whom you are subletting). However, his or her approval must be based on a financial assessment, not any discriminatory factors.
- Some landlords charge a fee to allow their tenants to sublet. This is legal!
- It is easier to sublet your apartment if you leave it furnished.
- You might consider lowering the price of your rent and/or negotiating other costs (parking, utilities, etc.) to make your apartment more attractive.
Getting Back Your Security Deposit
Unless you owe rent or the landlord claims you have damaged the apartment, he/she must return your deposit within 30 days after your tenancy ends. If the landlord claims damages, he/she must send you an itemized list of them within 30 days and return any part of the deposit not needed to cover repairs. He/she cannot deduct for "reasonable wear and tear."
Also, if the security deposit has been held for a year or more, the landlord must pay you 5% interest or other such lesser amount of interest as has been received from the bank in which the deposit has been held on your security deposit.
If the landlord does not contact you regarding the security deposit within the 30-day period (give or take a few days), you are entitled to the full deposit back. You can take your landlord to small claims court and sue for up to three times the amount of the deposit.
*"Consumer's Guide to Small Claims Court" booklets are available in the off-campus housing office.
Take pictures of your entire apartment (every room and hall) before you leave. This will help show the condition you left in, would there be any questions about damage deductions from your security deposit.