What's the best way to pay for a sublease across the country without getting burned?
July 15, 2007 3:15 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to pay for a sublease across the country without getting burned?

My g/f and I found a place to sublet on facebook. The person said it's ours if we want it and said she'd send us a lease agreement. She wants us to sign the lease agreement and send a check to her new address (she's a student studying in another state for the summer, hence the sublet).

Is a check the best way to do this? My g/f suggested we date the check for the day we'll arrive (1st of aug.) so we know everything's legit when we get there. What if any options would we have if she took the money and ran?

She hasn't really given us any reason to be particularly suspicious (she seems nice enough, gave us her phone number, etc) but still...
posted by silverspeak to Work & Money (7 answers total)
 
Well, I would ask for a copy of the master lease. You could then check that everything is hunky-dory with the landlord (although do some due diligence to make sure the person identified as the landlord is really the landlord). Do you know anyone in the area who can check things out?

My g/f suggested we date the check for the day we'll arrive (1st of aug.) so we know everything's legit when we get there.

Your bank might pay a post-dated check early, so that does not help.

What if any options would we have if she took the money and ran?

You could file a criminal complaint for fraud. Or you could sue her in small claims court. Or both. Of course, if she lied about her identity/new address, you'd have a harder time doing that.
posted by grouse at 3:35 PM on July 15, 2007


They're still going to be able to deposit the check even if you post-date it.
posted by oaf at 3:37 PM on July 15, 2007


*shakes fist at grouse*
posted by oaf at 3:37 PM on July 15, 2007


One thing to remember is that she is probably just as wary of you as you are of her.

Couldn't you PayPal the money to her? Just make an arrangement that you hit "send payment" when you arrive and everything's Kosher?

Also, though postdating a check SHOULD work, it really won't in practice.
posted by BuddhaBelly at 4:30 PM on July 15, 2007


Get a copy of the original lease and contact the manager of the property to make sure they're aware of everything and the info all matches. (My niece recently did this on a "too good to be true" rental and uncovered a rather sizable rental scam organization.)

If they're willing to take a personal check that gives you a certain amount of protection since you can cancel it.

See if at all possible you can send the check to the address you'll be subletting.
posted by Ookseer at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2007


If they're willing to take a personal check that gives you a certain amount of protection since you can cancel it.

Not after the check returns to your bank for payment.
posted by grouse at 4:59 PM on July 15, 2007


You and the the person from whom you're subletting both have the same risk in this transaction (both being out of town from the rented premises). In fact, if you were to bail out after paying one month's rent, this would probably be a greater financial loss for her (she would probably end up out more than one month's rent, unless she's really lucky in finding another tennant).

I don't think there's any payment method that's going to save you. And if there was something that was easy to reverse, it would be foolish for her to accept it.

Do the same things you'd do when renting any place. There's got to be somebody who you can send to look at the place. If you don't know anyone, there's got to be someone you can hire (a local concierge service?) to go make sure it's not a dive.
posted by winston at 8:15 AM on July 16, 2007


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