It’s becoming more common these days: subletting your NYC apartment for the short term while you travel, work or live elsewhere for a few days, weeks or months. When preparing your apartment for your (paying) guest, it’s important to get the details right to avoid your cost-saving measure turn into a “don’t do this” horror story.
- Double-check that your subletting arrangement is legal. Many New York City buildings have codes and rules about who can live in an apartment, who can sublet, and what the terms must be for such an arrangement. You should also check your local laws. Under New York law, it’s illegal to rent out a single-family home, apartment, or room for less than 30 days if you aren’t living there or you’ll be subject to a hefty fine. You don’t want the $1,000 you made subletting your apartment now going to a lawyer to fight eviction from your home.
- Verify who you’re subletting to. With so many online vacation services available, such as VRBO, AirBNB.com and even Craigslist, it’s important you know exactly who you’re renting to. If you’re wary of letting a stranger stay in your home, try reaching out to your social network to find someone you’d be more comfortable with. Be clear on the policies (personal or building) that are in play for your apartment.
- Protect your belongings. If you don’t have an extra closet or room that locks (especially in New York City, where any extra space is a premium), consider renting a storage unit to store your belongings during the term of your sublet. Mini storage lockers, typically the size of a closet, may make sense for shorter-term sublets. These lockers often rent for shorter time periods than larger units, plus these units are housed in facilities with 24/7 security.
- Document, document, document. Put the specifics of your terms with the subletter in writing, including how utilities will be paid. Take numerous pictures of every part of your apartment before leaving and share them with your subletter so any damage that occurs can’t be disputed. Finally, have your subletter complete a check-in inspection form to document any pre-existing damage.
- Know what your space is worth. To stay competitive with other subleasers, price your apartment right. Typically, you should advertise your apartment for about half of what you’re currently paying.
Before you sublet your apartment out for a long weekend, a two-week vacation or a longer stint, keep in mind these tactics to keep your sublet manageable. With Gotham Mini Storage’s storage lockers—plus free van service when you move in—subletting your NYC digs has never been easier.