Perhaps you are wondering whether you should add your property listing to our off-campus housing website (och.gmu.edu). One of the main reasons students do so is if they are going to study abroad, but they want to rent their apartment/home out to someone for the time being so that when they come back from overseas they can go back to the same apartment. Maybe you want to live somewhere else during the summer but want to rent your room again during the fall and spring semesters.
However, most college students are not in a position to rent out an entire property, since they are renting themselves. The best option is subletting, which means you lease to another person a house or apartment that is already being leased to you.
If you want to go this route:
- First, check your lease. Are you permitted to sublet? If so, what steps or procedures must you follow? Are you required to notify your landlord in writing of your intention or to have the landlord approve any prospective people who might be subletting? If your lease does not say anything about sublets, it is generally assumed that you can sublet, but it never hurts to ask!
- Meet with your landlord. Discuss your intentions, gain written approval, and clarify the process with your landlord. Will the landlord permit you to terminate your lease without penalty if you locate someone to assume your lease or accept a new lease? This is usually preferable for students. If you plan to return to the apartment after a short time (one to six months) or before your lease expires, it might be better to sublet and maintain your claim on the apartment for your return.
- If you sublet your apartment, realize that you are for all intents and purposes a landlord. You will need to establish, collect, document, and account for a security deposit. A deposit is necessary to protect yourself, but it puts legal obligations on you just as it does for your landlord. You should have a lease agreement, in writing, to protect yourself from any problems or legal actions brought by your tenant. If you want more information about how subletting works in Virginia, click here!
- Realize that the actions of your tenant may also affect you. Tenant damage to the unit, building, common areas, or systems may result in legal action against you to collect damages. Legal action also may be required for you to collect damages from the person you are allowing to sublet. Our office recommends that, whenever possible, students terminate their leases with their landlords, have sublessors sign new leases with the landlords, recover their security deposits, and have no further legal obligations or liability to the landlords or new tenants.
- Subletting an apartment is a legal relationship. Know your rights and obligations. Document your discussions and all agreements. Be a knowledgeable consumer, a good tenant, and an informed landlord. Good luck!
ATTENTION: All George Mason students are able to list their sublet for free on och.gmu.edu. This secure site is the best way to find roommates and help you fill the empty room in your apartment, townhouse, or house.