Search for summer subleasers not always easy for University students

Most leases permit subletting, but some places require landlord approval.

Neil Munshi

Graduating biochemistry senior Gabriela Monsalve is having a tough time subleasing her place for the summer. Perhaps she’s asking possible tenants to pay too much, she said.

As the spring semester ends and summer begins, now is the time of year many students such as Monsalve are moving for jobs, internships, travel or to go home. Their plans leave them looking for others to fill the remainder of their housing leases, and their successes vary.

“I’ve been putting fliers up everywhere, I put my ad up on (craigslist.org), I’ve been talking to people and nobody is biting,” she said. “It’s terrible; I’ve even lowered my price.”

Student Legal Service attorney Bill Dane offered some tips to students in this situation.

He said that subsidizing the rent is one of the things students might have to do if they plan on moving away for the summer. It helps attract renters who would otherwise be wary of the price.

Dane said the main thing for students to look at is the language of their leases. Most leases allow for subletting, but some also call for landlord approval.

He also said students should consider drafting a new lease for the incoming tenant to remove themselves from being liable for damages on the property while they are gone.

Jennifer Dilley, executive director of The Melrose apartments, said her company only allows residents to re-let, or assign their lease to a new tenant to protect them from liability.

“(That way), if the person who moves in for the summer decides to do something crazy like put a hole in the wall, it would never come back to the original contract-holder as a problem,” she said. “Whereas, in a sublease situation, if that happened, the original contract-holder might be in the bag for those damage charges.”

Communications studies sophomore Mike Tenuta said he needs to sublet his apartment because he is living at home for the summer.

“I’m going home, because I was afraid that if I don’t go home this summer, then there’s no period in my life again where I’m going to live for an extended period of time with my parents,” he said.

He said that after placing a newspaper advertisement a few weeks ago, he received several callbacks and filled three rooms in his house for the summer.

Tenuta also tried putting up fliers but said it didn’t work because others covered those up with their fliers.

First-year student Mike Kenefick said he is having trouble re-letting his room in The Melrose for the summer because most students are looking for cheaper rentals.

“I could theoretically cut the price down, but then I’d be paying for half their rent for the prices that those people are looking at, which is frustrating,” he said.

Getting the word out that he had a property for rent was the easy part, Kenefick said.

“I have to do my salesman pitch, though, which doesn’t always work,” he said. “And that has been the most frustrating part.”