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Everything to Know about Boston Sublets

Boston sublets are hugely popular, especially in the summer months.

Boston sublets are great for anyone looking to stay in Boston for less than 12 months (but more than 30 days*), or for anyone who's on a lease in Boston and will need to be away for an extended period of time. College sublets in Boston are very popular.

*We'll address this below. If you're renting an apartment for less than 30 days, it's considered a "short term rental".

boston skyline

Quick Introduction to Boston Sublets

What is a sublet?

A sublet is an apartment or room that is rented out to someone not on the lease for more than 1 month. The sublet must happen within the duration of the current tenant’s lease and occur with the property owner’s approval.

Why would I sublet an apartment?

If you’re looking to rent an apartment in Boston for less than 12 months — or if you will be away from your apartment for more than 1 month — your best option is probably to sublet.

What is a short term rental?

As we mentioned above, a short term rental is essentially a sublet that lasts less than 30 days. There are a number of really awesome services that can help facilitate this kind of housing situation, including:

Airbnb

HomeAway

TripAdvisor

FlipKey

If you're looking for an apartment to sublet — check out these sites/apps!

Roomi (coming to Boston in Spring 2016)

Roomi is definitely poised to be the next go-to tool for finding roommates and sublets. Craigslist dominates, because that's where everyone goes to post and find available sublets, but Roomi brings far more security, features and style to the process. It looks basically like a clone of Airbnb, but desigend for coliving.

boston sublets

Viemate (Boston-based!)

Basically designed to help you avoid the anonymity and creepiness of Craigslist. Here's a preview of the Viemate experience below — and you can read up on them in BostInno as well.

boston sublets

Sumu (Boston-based!)

Sumu lets you make a profile with some details and a photo and using some matching technology and map-based search to help you target a few non-anymous roommate options. Their goal is to do away with the unsettling anonymity that can happen over Craigslist.

Here's a preview of Sumu — you can also check them out on BostInno.

boston sublets

As with most apartment listings, Craigslist dominates the sublet (and college sublet) scene in Boston. Here's a "shortcut" for finding new Boston sublet ads from Craigslist — this one is for a sublet starting in June: 

IFTTT Recipe: Boston Sublets: Get new June sublet ads from Craigslist sent to your email connects craigslist to email

If you're looking for someone to sublet your apartment

Feel free to check out our guide to Boston roommates for an in-depth review of how to find a great person to live with or sublet from.

Unfortunately, Craigslist is the way to go.

Regardless of how much you hate it (or have heard how people hate it), Craigslist is still the best way to find people looking for housing in Boston — sublets + college sublets included. Obviously be careful and do your research before reaching out/communicating with people.   

IFTTT Recipe: New Boston 'Housing Wanted' Craigslist Ads connects craigslist to email

Check the /bostonhousing subreddit.

There aren’t a ton of people posting/looking here but there are definitely legit "sublet wanted" leads.

When to Look for Boston Sublets

Typically, people in Boston look to sublet in the last few months before their lease is up.

In Boston specifically, college sublets tend to occur in the summer months (June through August), when college/grad students head out for the summer but are still on a lease. They look to sublet so they don't have to eat the rent while they're away.

Below, we've listed the top lease dates in Boston — September 1st being the most popular. Look for sublets in the few months leading up to these dates.

September 1st

70% of Boston/Cambridge apartment availabilities

Overview: Most apartments near MIT run on the standard 12-month lease starting on  September 1st. That’s nearly 140,000 apartments changing lease-holders on one day!

Timing Suggestion: Start in  May/June.

boston housing availability frequency

January 1st

11% of Boston/Cambridge apartment availabilities

Overview: Boston’s second biggest month for leases is January, some of which is attributed to students returning from Fall semesters abroad and looking for long-term off campus housing.

Timing Suggestion: Start looking in  August/September.

Note: Many MIT students living off campus sublet their apartments over the winter recess in January while they are away.

August 1st

7% of Boston/Cambridge apartment availabilities

Overview: The last significant chunk of availabilities for apartments near MIT happens in August. Some lease-holders don’t want to deal with the craziness of "Allston Christmas" — one of the more notable nicknames for September 1st in Boston — so they jump in on a lease a month before the madness.

Timing Suggestion: Start looking in  April/May.

Paperwork You'll Need

There are three documents that will help facilitate a smooth, stress-free subletting experience:

  1. The Sublet Request Letter
  2. The Sublet Agreement
  3. The Apartment Condition Statement

Get the step-by-step instructions on how to request permission from your landlord and close a sublet deal with your subtenant below:

Step 1 - The Sublet Request Letter

In the world of sublets in Boston, you’ll need to get your landlord’s permission to sublet your apartment. We recommend getting your landlord’s consent in writing to have recorded documents to protect yourself should any issues arise.  Before asking your landlord for permission to sublet, check your lease for information on whether subletting is permitted or how you should proceed with a sublet.

If the lease does not mention sublets or requires your landlord’s permission, your next step is to draft and send a  Sublet Request Letter containing the following:

Check out  How to Request Permission for Sublets in Boston for a detailed outline of what goes in a Sublet Request Letter.  We have also provided a sample Boston Sublets Request Letter below.

boston sublet request letter

All set and ready for the next step in The Complete Guide to Sublets in Boston?

Step 2 - The Sublet Agreement

Now that you have your landlord’s permission, you and your sublessee are ready to sign a  Sublet Agreement.  Download your Sublet Agreement below and check out What’s In A Boston Sublet Agreement for more details.

jumpshell boston sublet agreement

All set and ready for the FINAL step in The Complete Guide to Sublets in Boston?

Step 3 - The Apartment Condition Statement

Jumpshell is all about friends, so you may choose to forgo this document.  However, sometimes it is easier to have the  Apartment Condition Statement in place for reference -- especially if you’re subletting with a friend of a friend.

An Apartment Condition Statement includes a description of the condition of the subleased premises that has been agreed upon by both you and your sublessee.  This ensures that any damages that occurred before the sublet don’t get attributed to the sublessee.  We’d suggest including photos as well, just for peace of mind.

jumpshell boston apartment condition statement

Still have a few questions? Awesome! Hit us up on our Facebook Page or on Twitter and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Have any questions about Boston sublets? Ask us anything!

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