Subletting your apartment

The joys of summer research often entail subletting your apartment, occasionally at odd times. Since your summer semester may be longer than SSF program dates (eg. University of Toronto’s is from May to August), finding a sublet from June to August may be difficult. But no fear, Kijiji and your university’s housing portal is here. And if you’re really desperate, Craigslist is always another option. Although you’ll meet some interesting characters along the way, (including a few of whom you’re sure that, if you choose them to be subletters, your roommates who’d have to endure them through the summer would probably stab you in your first night back – eg. my first two prospective sublettees for our humble student-sized abode: 1. girl with a medium-sized dog [we stated that we have a cat] and 2. middle-aged single mother with newborn [I felt horrible for turning her down, but since when does student housing with two roommates imply the ability to accommodate newborns?]), eventually someone awesome with perfect timing will come along the way if you sufficiently advertise.

Here are some tips for looking for the “one”:

    • take lots of pictures during daylight to include in your ad
    • be diligent about topping up your ad by creating new ones and deleting the old ones every week or so (as an example, my ad was bumped to the 6th page within a day on Kijiji!)
    • be honest regarding expectations and who you’re looking for, unless you enjoy wading through emails from people that you’d never sublet to
    • during an open house, keep in mind that you are interviewing them just as much as they are selecting for a place – ask questions
    • be considerate to your roommates (if you live with people). They will ultimately be the ones living with your sublet. Invite them to meet the prospective sublets and include them in the decision-making process
    • always take first and last month’s rent up-front with a signed roommate agreement before stopping your search. Summer subletting is notoriously subject to spontaneous changes and this avoids last-minute backouts, which may leave you stranded
    • keep a damage deposit, usually of a few hundred dollars, if you are also providing a furnished room. Subletting usually runs smoothly, but it is a good insurance against possible accidents
An example of tip #1. Looks airy and heavenly, no? Who would have guessed that my room is only 8' by 11'?

An example of tip #1. Looks airy and heavenly, no? Who would have guessed that my room is only 8′ by 11′?


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