So you want to sublet your room? You have some grand opportunity—an internship, a semester abroad, a temporary gig assignment—that will take you away from the area for a time period, but you don’t want to give up your space completely. You’d like to come back to your space, your house, and your housemates, but you can’t afford to pay the rent to keep it empty. So naturally you consider subletting the room. One of the major benefits of shared housing is that you can create an arrangement to save money.
Don’t Do This
Don’t select someone and sign them up without giving your housemate(s) an opportunity to weigh in on the person. Really. While this might seem obvious, sometimes it isn’t given a second thought. After all, since you are the one leaving you should do the work of filling your room, right? And when you tell your housemates that you’d like to sublet, it seems like a nice thing to volunteer to do all the work of advertising, showing the space, and interviewing candidates. That’s only fair. Right? Well, yes and no.
You should do the work, but your housemate(s) need to approve of the person they are going to live with. If they don’t like the person and are stuck living with them, it’s going to be unhappy for everyone. Remember, even if you’re only looking for a temporary housemate you should still follow a thorough selection process.
Do all the legwork upfront. Write the announcement, do the initial interviews, show the room. When you have a candidate or two, then your housemates should interview said person. They have to be the ones to explore how they will live together. They have to be the ones who agree to share housing.
Yeah, it takes time and requires a bit of coordination. Getting everyone together physically in the same space is your goal. It’s not enough to talk on the telephone, text, or email. Your current housemate(s) and the potential submitter need to meet and be able to look at each other in the eye. There’s something very different about being in person. And in person is how they will share the home. They need to talk about how they will live together. If getting everyone together becomes difficult, you are the one who can bow out of the meeting. You aren’t really all that important. Your housemates should also be the ones to check references, as the references are an important dimension in evaluating a candidate. Your housemates should be happy that you are wanting to make it work for them and want to participate. They certainly don’t want to be stuck with a nightmare housemate. After all, they want the person who is in your room to be a good fit for the household
And after your wonderful adventure? Do you pick up where you left off? Maybe. However, you should be ready for the reality that time has passed and things have happened. The household may go through other changes. That is the nature of life and shared housing. Nothing stays the same.
If you are reading this because you do have to sublet your room, take a look at this article about how to write an ad for a housemate.
Photo: Photo by Alex Block on Unsplash