Thinking of subletting your place for the summer? Read here first

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | March 24, 2015 - 1:59PM

As far as we're concerned,  the world is made up of two types of people: those who love spending the summer in New York City and those who cannot wait to escape. If you belong to the latter category and are considering subletting your apartment out to someone in the former category, read below for answers to some subletter FAQs.

Is it legit?

Obviously this is the biggest question, and you'll need to know the answer before you even consider subletting your place. If you own a co-op or condo, check with your board or building management's rules and regulations. Usually condos are easier to rent out than co-ops, and co-op boards will often require that whomever you're subletting to get approval (and pay an application fee). Generally, owners of Mitchell-Lama style government regulated apartments have even more restrictions.

If you're a renter -- and assuming your building has more than four units -- you can also legally sublet your apartment, but not for  less than 30 days (hence the problem with Airbnb). Renters should ask landlords permission at least 30 days before the sublease, but if the landlord doesn't respond within 30 days, New York law considers that consent and you can go on with your plans.

And believe it or not, even if you're rent stabilized, you can probably sublet your apartment, as long as your building has four or more units, and isn't  government subsidized (like a Mitchell-Lama). If you're renting it out fully furnished, you can charge 10 percent more than you pay, otherwise you can only charge the same as what you pay per month.

What will it cost and how much will you make?

Many co-ops charge the owner a sublet fee around 10 percent of your monthly maintenance or a percentage of the gross monthly rental, so that's something to take into account when you price your place for subletting.

If you're in a market-rate rental or condo, you can charge what the market will bear, so look around the real estate listings sites to see what comparable apartments go for. You can usually charge more — sometimes up to 30 percent more — for a furnished apartment.

To make sure you don't have a subleasee who flakes out, you can always ask for a large security deposit (maybe more than a month's rent).

Will your insurance cover the short-term renter?

There are some summer-specific apartment mishaps (like an a/c that goes rogue and starts spewing water or a power surge), that might make you even more keen on apartment insurance during the warmer months, but don't assume by any stretch of the imagination that your renter will be covered. "The person occupying the apartment is definitely NOT covered under the owner or leaseholder's coverage," says Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage, a Brick sponsor. "And many types of sublease will void the owner/subleasee's apartment policy, especially repeated short term rentals," he says.

"In some cases a policy can be endorsed to cover the situation, but  the temporary occupant will always need their own coverage," he says, and that can be purchased inexpensively. A tenant can take out an annual policy and then cancel it after however long they're subletting (and it might cost as little as $20), or they might also already have coverage under his or her own regular policy, says Schneider.

What can you do with all your stuff?

If you live in a NYC apartment, chances are you don't have tons of extra closet space  to save for the person subletting room you. So you might want to seriously consider putting some of your stuff into storage to make room. Manhattan Mini Storage (a Brick sponsor), offers spaces without any month-to-month commitment. If the person you're subletting to seems concerned about fitting their space and/or has too much for your space , they too can put their stuff in storage. And if they're students, they can get a 15 percent discount starting April 1 through June 2.


Ask an Expert: Different sublet rules for different co-op owners--fair or foul?

Ask an Expert: A few safeguards for furnished sublets

Ask an Expert: How to get top dollar on your sublet

What's a normal sublet fee?

5 ways to screw up your sublet  

BrickUnderground's 7-step guide for first-time landlords

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