As students move off campus, many take on a yearlong lease, even though they won’t be in the area all year long.
But there is a way to avoid paying rent during the summer or while studying abroad: subletting.
Subletting is when a tenant finds someone to take over their lease for a period of time to pay for rent and utilities.
There are many ways for students to find a subletter, ranging from placing flyers all over campus to using online sites such as Craigslist, Uloop or the HeelsHousing roommate board.
Though subletting might seem like the perfect solution, students should know that subletting doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t responsible for the apartment.
Subletting is usually not legally binding, said Dorothy Bernholz, director of Carolina Student Legal Services.
Even if the subletter signs a contract, that doesn’t always release the original tenant from responsibility for damages or rent, she said.
“It’s just as if (the new tenant) stayed there with written permission,” she said.
But some landlords allow separate subletting contracts that are legally binding, like StoneCrop Apartments and University Apartments.
“We do it that way because it’s easier for everyone,” Jason O’Quinn, property manager of University Apartments.
“The person who has moved out is free of burden, the new tenant doesn’t have to worry about sending money to the old person, and we can deal with people who are living here rather than trying to track down the original tenant,” he said.
Bernholz suggested that students take pictures of rooms before leaving to hold the subletter accountable.
“There may be problems with your co-tenants, especially if you rent to Sam the ex-con,” she said.
Bernholz said that not all landlords allow subletting and that students should check their leases to make sure that subletting is allowed.
Elise Hopkins is a sophomore who plans on subletting her room in a house off Franklin Street during the summer.
“As long as you work things out with your roommates and plan ahead, living off-campus will be much easier and worth it,” she said.
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