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Life at University Part 5: Subletting

February 12, 2013

My daughter and her friends have signed a lease and are looking forwarding to moving into their new home.  They are thinking about what colours to paint the rooms, who gets which bedroom, who has a microwave and how to organize groceries.

But, before they move in, they have a bigger challenge. crop380w_istock_000007124919xsmall-exhanging-keys

My daughter was a little miffed that they would have to sign a 12 month lease when they all plan to go home for four months to work.  They find it unfair to have to pay for 12 months when they will only be there for eight.  Well, obviously that is the way it works in a highly competitive rental market in a university town.

The girls were told they could consider subletting for the months that they would be away from school, so that has become the next challenge.  And, of course, with every challenge comes questions.  How do you go about finding a suitable student to take over your lease over the summer?  What would be acceptable to your landlord?  How much are you allowed to charge?  Do they pay utilities?  What if they damage your home while you’re not there?  Do you get something in writing from the person or people you sublet your home to?

Well a little research tells me that you cannot charge more rent than the landlord charges you and you are responsible for any damages to the unit or home.  The landlord needs to approve your choice of sublet but they can refuse with a good reason. I also found a few websites that talk a little about subletting and there is a PDF available of a Sublet Agreement Form.  Just Google ‘subletting’ you should find the form put there by the University of Ontario.



You might also be able to find some answers at http://www.ontariotenants.ca

I don’t know how much luck the girls will have in finding a student who wants to sublet from May to end of August but I’m sure they’ll try.  I would want them to have a Sublet Agreement Form signed just to cover all the bases.  I believe it’s always best to get things in writing.  As far as who pays for utilities, I guess that will have to be worked out if they find a suitable substitute renter. Some people you talk to might also recommend getting legal advice before moving forward with a sublet.  That's probably a smart idea.

So if worse comes to worse and they don’t get any takers over the summer, they still have a home that suits their needs that they’ll be able to move into anytime they’re ready in August.  They can make trips over the summer to paint, decorate and furnish without disrupting anyone else.  They went into the lease prepared to take on the responsibility for 12 months in order to get the home they liked.  I think they did pretty well.


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