Advice on temporarily subletting my aparment?
January 11, 2011 9:30 PM   Subscribe

I live kinda close to where a certain big event associated with the Roman numerals XLV is taking place in early February (i.e. just under a month from now). I’m considering renting out my living room to someone coming to watch this event. What should I keep in mind that I’m not thinking of?

My current plan is to place an ad on Craigslist offering up my couch + living room floor for a fee per night, both the night before and the night after the Super Bowl. How close am I to Jerry World? Well, I’m close enough that game day traffic forces me to plan ahead & get my grocery shopping & errands done ahead of schedule so that I’m not stuck in horrendous traffic all day Sunday. If you're not horribly out of shape, you might even be able to walk from my place to Jerry World.

I plan on only renting it to someone in the area, so that I can meet them in person beforehand to make sure they’re not a crazy psycho stalker axe murderer type. I plan to charge a modest fee, maybe $50 per person per night, which is probably waaay cheaper than the area hotels. They’d be able to use my bathroom of course, but I probably won’t offer my spare house key. Since they would have to be from this area, I’d plan to pick them up at a mutually agreed upon spot on Saturday, and return them on Monday (I’m about to put in to have that day off of work). I’ve glanced at my apartment lease, and it says I only need to inform management if a guest will be staying more than a couple of days in a row (doesn't appear to say anything about them leaving me a cash gratuity). I plan to secure all of my valuables so that nothing inadvertently goes missing and also be in the apartment whenever they are. Payment would be agreed upon in advance and payable in advance in cash.

What sort of logistical or legal issues am I not thinking of? Or is this simply a catastrophically bad idea and I’m too blinded by the prospects of making a decent chunk of my month's rent money in two days time?

Thanks in advance!
posted by AMSBoethius to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well the first thing I thought of is why would someone who's already local need to rent space for an event close to their home? Wouldn't it make more sense to rent to someone from out of town?
posted by mesha steele at 9:37 PM on January 11, 2011

I'm unclear on why someone who already lives in the area would pay for the privilege of sleeping on your couch.

I also wouldn't do this unless you have renter's insurance. Not just if something gets stolen or broken; if your guest/tenant should hurt himself during his stay, you could get sued.
posted by phunniemee at 9:37 PM on January 11, 2011

This is the exact scenario Airbnb was created for. You should look into that before you try to recreate it on your own.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:46 PM on January 11, 2011

I'm unclear on why someone who already lives in the area would pay for the privilege of sleeping on your couch.

Maybe to avoid an abominable parking situation, or to be able to drink freely without driving afterwards?

AMSBoethius, I don't think it sounds like a horrible idea at all. We batted around similar thoughts ourselves, back when we thought the Olympics might be coming to NYC in 2012, and more specifically, Queens (curse you, London!). Sure, capitalize on your location. Meeting your guests in advance and securing your valuables are good ideas.

Maybe I'm naive, but I suspect people going to the SB will have more on their minds than petty theft. Perhaps as another precaution you could ask to see their tickets?
posted by torticat at 9:58 PM on January 11, 2011

I would think not being able to have a spare key would be a major dealbreaker for a lot of people. It's kind of stressful when you're not sure if you can get back into the place where you're staying.
posted by threeants at 10:11 PM on January 11, 2011

Best answer: I routinely rent my place out on Airbnb. (I recommend it highly--check it out.) While I understand your concerns about renting out your place, I think the other commenters are right--it's going to be hard to rent out your place to locals, and they will definitely want a key.

So, to ease your mind, I'll tell you a little bit about my experiences:

- I've rented out my place seven or eight times for $80 - $90 a night. The longest time was eleven days (two renters while I was abroad) and the shortest was one night (this last New Year's).
- I am never home when the renters are there. Generally, I mail them keys & directions to my place.
- I have only met one renter in real life beforehand.
- To ease my mind, I always google stalk potential renters. Places like Airbnb also allow for comments & testimonials, so people are at least somewhat pre-vetted. (They also tend to be more technologically savvy).
- I have a large screen tv, laptop, Wii, Mac Mini, tons of DVDs & games, Airport Extreme, speaker sets, valuable art and furniture in my apartment all sitting around.
- I tend to put things like my extra iPods and laptops away, but they're not locked up.
- I also tend to put away things like good liquor.
- Nothing has ever been stolen. Nothing has ever been used that was originally put away. Guests are generally ridiculously polite (for example, washing a single cup they've used).
- I highly recommend renter's insurance.
- My friends and I have stayed in five rental homes over the last year (beach houses, wine country houses, and a house in Hawaii). We never lost, stole, broke, or otherwise damaged any of the homes we stayed in.
- I generally ask my guests to send a check or money order for a security deposit (usually around $250). Everyone has willingly done so.

Renting out one's home has become increasingly commonplace. Check out sites like the aforementioned, or VRBO, or to get a sense of the community and logistics behind renting out your apartment.
posted by timoni at 10:32 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone.

The first two commenters helped me realize that nothing precludes me from meeting up halfway with someone from Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Shreveport, Houston, Austin, etc., on a Saturday.

I will also check out the Airbnb that has been recommended.

Thanks again!
posted by AMSBoethius at 5:26 AM on January 12, 2011

They will be drunk. OK, maybe not, but maybe. Probably. I would plan accordingly. The chances are that you will either be drinking with strangers in your home, or you will be sober with drunk strangers in your house. If one of these seems like fun, then you are good to go. If not, that is going to be a long weekend.

I generally think strangers are better behaved that what they are given credit for. Sometimes huge sporting events can lure people over to the dark side of rude and non-characteristic behavior. I would plan accordingly.

The insomniac Forensic Files watcher in me immediately suggests that this is a great opportunity for criminals to be invited into your house, even if for a small fee. A small enough fee that it seems perfectly acceptable in exchange for your personal financial information, or a quick search for non-obvious safes (most of which are incredibly easy to get into...there are how-to YouTube videos...15 seconds).

Also, I've been made aware that vampires must be invited into your home. This may or may not qualify. I would check the manual and plan accordingly.
posted by nickjadlowe at 9:46 AM on January 12, 2011

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