Are you studying abroad? Planning to go home for the summer? Or maybe you’ve graduated early (congrats!!) or transferred schools. Regardless of why you’re moving, the last thing you want to do is keep paying for an apartment you’re not even living in!

The simple answer: sublet!

A sublet means someone else is living in your apartment and paying for the utilities, maintaining the upkeep and cleaning – but the best part is they pay YOU rent to live there! You’ll still pay rent to the landlord, but the sublet will pay you back – or upfront if you agree on that. And there’s no sublet fee!

Check out the J. Michael Real Estate Sublet Guidelines and follow these tips to find the perfect sublet:



  1. Identify what kind of person you want living in your apartment

● If you live with roommates, ask them for their input so they aren’t uncomfortable with your decision – if your roommate is a girl, she might want your sublet to also be a girl. Determine if you’re looking for a college student, a young professional, or an older adult.

  1. Get the word out

● Word of mouth can be a great way to obtain a sublet if you know someone from class or a coworker is looking for a home.

● Don’t forget to utilize social media! Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good options for this. Snap a few pictures of your apartment (after you clean of course!) and post them on your platform of choice with a catchy caption like ‘Wouldn’t you like to live here?! Good news, I’m subletting, so contact me for details!’

● There are also websites that help renters find sublets:,,,,

○ Specific to Madison:

○ Specific to Iowa:

  1. Consider lowering the sublet’s rent

● If you’re having trouble finding someone, you could lower their rent. This strategy is okay because you will still be making the actual rent payment to the landlord and the sublet will be paying you.

○ Ex. You could charge them $500/month even if you’re paying the landlord $650/month.

  1. Schedule a showing

● Remember when you were touring apartments? Now you get to act as the leasing agent. Show your prospective sublet your unit and also show them around the building so they know where to find laundry, the trash room, the staircases, elevator, garage, etc.

  1. Be honest

● About the property, your roommate situation and what is expected of them in the lease since they will also have to abide by those same rules.

● Do you trust them? This is equally important! You won’t want someone sketchy living in your apartment. Trust your gut!

  1. Obtain a security deposit

● If they would leave the apartment dirty and/or damaged at move out and result in security deposit deductions, you can take that out of the sublet’s security deposit.

  1. See if they’ll pay upfront

● Only subletting for 3 months? Ask them to pay rent to you in advance so you don’t need to worry about getting your money.

  1. Contact Info

● You’ll need their full name, address, phone number, and email address.

● Get their parents’ information too!

● They should also have your contact information so they can reach out to you.

  1. Sublet Agreement

● Must be filled out and signed by original tenant, sublet and all original roommates.

● Turn in the completed form to the landlord before the sublet moves in.

Renting an apartment doesn’t mean you have to miss out on amazing adventures studying abroad, going back home to the fam for the summer or even transferring to a school that’s a better fit for you. Consider subletting so you aren’t wasting rent money on top of all of that! Please note the landlord does not get involved with sublet disputes. Any issues must be dealt with between the original lease holder and the sublet.