Vacating a rented apt. in Cambridge - how to find a replacement tenant, fast?
April 8, 2007 9:08 PM   Subscribe

Vacating my rented studio apartment in Cambridge, Mass., and I need a new tenant to take over the apartment starting May 1. What can I do to advertise this opening and get a new tenant, stat (e.g. Craigslist, etc.)?

I rent a studio apartment in Cambridge, Mass. The realtor alerted me to a different apartment I've had my eye on - yay! - but I need to find a replacement tenant for my current place (current lease has not ended yet). I need a new tenant for May 1.

I haven't done this kind of thing before. What are good options for putting up a "hey come take over my apartment" flag in Boston/Cambridge, fast?

I know there's Craigslist, but can I post about the apartment even though I'm not the realtor/owner? Is that any kind of misrepresentation (I would like to include the realtor's contact info)?
posted by cadge to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
It is called sub-lease...
Usually there shouldn't be a problem...

Two ways to go about it...
If you know the new renter well engough..., just rent the place out yourself.. When the your old lease over, let him apply to the actual owner... easy...

the second way is to let the owner know some one else is taking the lease...., he/she shouldn't have problem as long as he/she gets all the credit info from new renter and agree to lease terms...

Some owners may object to this.. but very rarely...

Putting it on craigslist or what ever should not have problem as long as you let the new person know it is sub-lease....
posted by curiousleo at 9:16 PM on April 8, 2007

I'm confused. Your landlord is the one who recommended the new place, and wants you to find a new tenant, is that right? Does your current lease run out on May 1? If that's the case, it's not your responsibility to find a new tenant, it's the landlords.

If the lease runs out later then that, find out if your landlord wants someone to take over your lease, or if they want you to sublet it. I would think the former would be easier to everyone. In which case again it is not your responsibility to find a new tenant.

If you are subletting, you need to show the apartment and find a new tenant. Just put a line in your ad that says 'n month sublet until (date lease runs out)'. ask your landlord if the person you sublet to will have the option of continuing the lease after it runs out, or if they have to renegotiate the lease, or whatever else, and incldue this information in the ad. Otherwise, it's a fairly common thing to sublet a place.

Subletting tips:
- Ask your friends first.
- I assume you are taking your furniture with you - if so mention that the place is unfurnished. People often look for temporary housing for a few months and that can be a key requirement.
- You do not necessarily have to ask the same price you are paying now. You get whatever you negotiate for. THis means if you are getting desparate, you can cut the price. And vice versa.
- Figure out how utility bills will be handled. You absolutely do not want to be on the hook for them, but try to make sure the hot water isn't shut off when the new guy moves in.
- Meet the people you are subletting to. Ask them if they have jobs and make sure they will be able to pay you. If they look really sketchy or shifty, don't rent to them - if they fail to pay you, you still have to pay your landlord. you don't ever have to rent to someone on the spot - it is always ok to say 'I have more people coming to see the place, I'll get back to you'.
- In your craigslist ad, be as precise and truthful as possible, and include lots of pictures. it saves everyone's time. don't lie and say '5 minutes to campus' when it's really 20. that said, think about what's great about your place and make sure to list it.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:51 PM on April 8, 2007

Oh, and let me add that if you are looking for May 1, you are not in "fast" or "stat" mode, not by a long shot. You have almost three weeks. You can start to panic when you have three days. All you need is one person to read your ad, visit your place, and sign the paper, and then you're done - it could take only a matter of hours.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:59 PM on April 8, 2007

- craigslist
- fliers in local places where your target market hangs out (laundromat near college housing? coffeeshops? bookstores? etc), with your phone and "Studio apartment for sublet, $price, starting May 1, [general neighborhood name/T stop]".
- check with the offices of summer programming for local colleges, they may have a housing board for people who will arrive in June (if you have a hard time finding someone for May)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:14 PM on April 8, 2007

Know your rights according to your local housing law and your rights as stated in your lease, and do not assume you're allowed to do everything suggested above -- especially 1) charging whatever rent the market will bear and 2) not telling your landlord. Don't put a subletter in the postion of being a secret and/or illegal tenant. That's no good for either of you.

As one example, I'm allowed to sublease my apt. only for a given percentage of each year (only with written notice to the landlord), and according to local housing law I can't charge more than 110% of the rent I pay. I may be in a more tightly regulated area than you, but you have to find out for yourself.

Once you know what's allowed, and your landlord agrees, then Craigslist will be fine -- and a couple weeks' lead time is also fine in an active & crowded market like Cambridge.
posted by allterrainbrain at 3:18 AM on April 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for these replies!

Further details: I'm not allowed to sublet. My current lease runs out in the fall, and according to my realtor, I can break it if there is a tenant available to take over and start a new year-long lease in May (otherwise I am still on the hook and will be required to pay rent on the old place still. I'm the one opting to break my lease and move into this new place).

The realtor has listed the place like normal, but I'd like to pitch in myself as well and do something spread the news far and wide about this place being open starting May 1.

Can I post on Craigslist if I'm not subletting and essentially I'm just saying "I rent this apartment right now, it's great, why don't you come and rent it instead"? I'm not sure if it causes any problems if I'm not the actual owner/management company.
posted by cadge at 7:06 AM on April 9, 2007

you really can post anything at all on Craigslist to this effect - just be sure that you are very clear what the deal is in your ad (and put something to this effect in the subject line: "take over my lease!" etc.).

(and I'm thinking this sounds good to me - ha! Put it on CL soon, yeah? :) )
posted by AthenaPolias at 8:58 AM on April 9, 2007

Response by poster: Cool, thanks for this advice, everyone!

I posted on Craigslist about the apartment and will follow up with the local schools and with fliers.

@AthenaPolias - :) If you're interested, here's the ad.
posted by cadge at 9:37 AM on April 9, 2007

OK, I understand the situation now and I think your ad is perfectly appropriate.

More information that might help:
- Parking?
- Which floor of the house is it on?
- Roughly how big is it?
- Pets allowed?
- Any balcony or backyard?
- *** Especially: Photos ***
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:47 AM on April 9, 2007

Response by poster: Update: A new tenant has signed on. Hooray! Thanks for your advice, everyone!
posted by cadge at 12:03 PM on April 17, 2007

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