What am I allowed to ask for from a subletter?
December 16, 2011 6:50 PM   Subscribe

What are the steps I can take to ensure my long-term subletter is financially secure with good credit and a steady income/guarantor?

After a ridiculously bad apartment search, I caved in and ended up going with a brokered apartment as I start work in less than two weeks. It's a two bedroom, so it is now my responsibility to fill the second bedroom. Because of the leasing requirements with the management company, the tenant in the second bedroom will not be able to sign on to the lease and will instead be a subletter even if they take on the room for the entire year.

Because I am now legally liable for the collective rent I want to make sure that I can make the subletter agreement between the other tenant and myself as legally solid as possible - as in I will have recourse if they default on their portion of the rent. My broker suggested I download a renter's form and have the two of us sign that, which I will certainly do. My question is what else (or how else) can I do? Can and how do I go about running a credit check, asking for proof of income, or requiring a guarantor if the tenant is a student? What are the processes involved, what information am I entitled to have, and what should I ask for before signing a sublet/renter's agreement?

The apartment is in Manhattan, year lease in my name starting January 1, 2012.
posted by msk1985 to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Response by poster: *I start work in less than three weeks.
posted by msk1985 at 6:50 PM on December 16, 2011

Guarantor: require that the guarantor live in the tri-state area and earn an annual income greater than 100x the monthly rent. This is standard for guarantors in Manhattan. Require some proof of annual income, either via a copy of the guarantor's tax return, pay stubs, or a letter from an accountant testifying to the guarantor's income.

For a tenant: require a credit check, proof of employment (if not using a guarantor) and a copy of a recent bank statement (in order to prove sufficient funds). References (professional/personal) are good as well.

I'm not sure what a "renter's form" is, but I agree that you want to have a written agreement between you and the person you're referring to as your subletter (really, it's not a sublet but a roommate).

Also, it bears repeating, even though you mention it in your question: your landlord will not care about any problems between you and your roommate vis-a-vis collecting rent from him/her. You are solely responsible for the rent due to the landlord every month.
posted by dfriedman at 7:10 PM on December 16, 2011

We used to ask for at least three months' worth of bank statements, generally expected to show:

--a direct deposit of their income or a manual deposit, matching their paystubs
--a decent amount of padding/leeway to show that they don't draw rent down to 0 every month
--rent paid out of the account in a timely fashion

We also asked for first, last, and a damage deposit.

We asked for references but never called them due to laziness.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:34 PM on December 16, 2011

Sorry, that should say:

--a decent amount of padding/leeway to show that they don't draw their account down to 0 every month
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:35 PM on December 16, 2011

I don't think YOU can run a credit check on another person, but you can require that they bring one (with the caveat that it might be modified in some way). You definitely can and should ask for proof of employment and/or paystubs, and references. There is probably some boilerplate template you can download for your state regarding guarantors and etc that you can have them sign. You should definitely have a written and signed agreement between the two of you as well.
posted by sm1tten at 3:57 AM on December 17, 2011

I don't know how much it varies by state but for my husband and I to rent our apartment we had to show income that was 4x our rental amount, pay $50 for background checks, and pay first month + deposit. It didn't seem unreasonable to us, perhaps you could do something like that.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 8:35 AM on December 17, 2011

« Older Bacon gone awry?   |   Selectively edited documents? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.