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Is subletting a good idea?

If you are leasing a house or apartment in North Carolina and your company transfers you halfway across the country prior to the end of your lease, subletting your residence may be a good way to avoid losing your security deposit and possibly having to pay additional penalties for breaking your lease. However, it also can be fraught with dangers if you fail to do it properly.

As RentLingo.com explains, subletting a/k/a subleasing is done by means of a legally binding written contract between you and the sublessee whereby he or she rents your place from you even though it is still in your name until your underlying lease terminates. Since you are the person who ultimately will be held accountable for any damages or other problems that occur during the remainder of your lease, subleasing is a serious decision that you should not make lightly.

First things first

Before attempting to sublet your house or apartment, check your lease to see if subleasing is allowed. Even if it is, talk with your landlord at least a month before you will be moving out and explain the entire situation to him or her. Sending a follow-up letter recapping the discussion is also a very good idea because it gives you written proof of the conversation and what all was discussed. In addition, your landlord may require you and your sublessee to fill out and sign a sublease application and addendum that will be added to your lease.

Finding a sublessee

Finding the right sublessee can be difficult. If at all possible, choose someone you already know and trust. Nevertheless, treat this as a business negotiation, not a "friend thing," and protect yourself to the greatest extent possible. Make sure you establish, in writing, how much rent your sublessee will pay each month and which utilities he or she is responsible for paying for.

Naturally you will want to thoroughly clean your place before showing it to a prospective sublessee and also before you move out. Take dated pictures of the current condition of appliances, walls, floors, windows, doors, cabinets and storage units so you have proof of what, if any, damage was present before your sublessee moved in. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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