With summer on the horizon, and your lease either starting in June or ending in September, I am guessing that many of you are thinking about the dreaded SUBLEASING debacle. Subleasing is a good way to help you pay for rent during the months you won’t be here, but know that it can be a risky endeavor, too.

[media-credit id=20109 align=”alignleft” width=”250″]sublease-PK[/media-credit]Subleasing is a BIG deal. We speak to countless students each year who feel they have been “screwed over” by their sublessor (the person whose apartment or room they have temporarily rented). Meanwhile, we have many sublessees (the person who has rented a spot temporarily) who feel “screwed over” by their sublessor! Fortunately, UCSB’s Community Housing Office is here to help educate you, so that you have a successful and drama-free sublease experience. Here are some tips from our “Sublease Smarts” brochure:

  • Make sure your property provider allows subleasing. If you sublease or do not follow their procedures for a sublease you could be in breach of your contract, with grounds for serious fines or an eviction.
  • If all is well with your property provider regarding subleasing, make sure you talk to your current roommates about your summer and subleasing plans so that you are all on the same page and there are no surprises.
  • Get EVERYTHING in writing between yourself and your sublessee, regardless of whether that person is your BFF and you trust them completely. If you will be subletting from someone and they don’t care to do a contract, let them know that you would like to. Blame us! Tell them CHO made you do it. We have tenant applications and sublet agreement forms online and in the office for your convenience.
  • Collect a deposit! Even if the sublessee is a friend, it is important to protect your place and your stuff from damage. A deposit can also be used for unpaid rent, necessary cleaning or repairs of damaged property.
  • Be wary of renting to non-UCSB students. Many students come to Isla Vista over the summer to work and have fun. They have been known to create a lot of damage to rentals over the years and leave their sublessors short on rent. Be smart! Rent only to UCSB and SBCC-affiliated students.
  • Don’t wait to the last minute to find someone! There are many more people leaving Isla Vista with available sublets over the summer than there are people who need sublets. Advertise on CHO’s rental site, as well as some of the public housing sites, and consider being flexible with the rental amount you ask for. Losing a couple hundred dollars on rent per month might hurt, but not finding anyone to pay anything for the summer will hurt worse!

Another hot topic for summer is security deposits! My summer wouldn’t be complete without advising students about their rights and responsibilities as renters regarding security deposits. Here are just a few tips about getting your security deposit back:

  • Hire CHO to do a move-in/out video. We are a neutral third party, trained to document the move in or move out condition of your rental. For $20, we do both your move-in video AND move-out video and can potentially save you lots of money.
  • Fill out your “Inventory and Condition Report” during move-in and move-out. Keep a copy of each for your records.
  • Take care of your place! You are required to leave your rental in the same condition in which you got it. Whatever damages and cleaning that needs to be taken care of upon your departure, your property provider may use your security deposit.

Your property provider has 21 days to return what remains from your security deposit, minus charges for unpaid rent, cleaning and repairs. If your security deposit has been charged over $125, your property provider is required to provide receipts for each charge.

CHO is open all summer to answer your sublease and security deposit questions as they arise, so don’t hesitate to come to our office on the 3rd floor of the UCen, call us at 805-893-4371, or e-mail us at ucsbcho@housing.ucsb.edu. Join our Facebook fan page — it’s a great source of information and updates in the off-campus housing world!