Subletting in Philadelphia

Subletting in Philadelphia
Written by Lynell Spencer
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Jun 01, 2022
Subletting your apartment in Philadelphia is legal, but you’ll probably need approval from your landlord.
While no state or local laws will prevent you from subletting, your rental agreement will most likely determine the parameters like how long and to whom you may sublet. Often, landlords have the final approval for a sublet agreement, and can even evict you if you sublet without permission.
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Yes, it’s legal to sublet an apartment in Philadelphia, as long as subletting is permitted (and approved) by your landlord. 
Taking a look at your lease is the first step if you are hoping to sublet your apartment. It will help you understand the basic rules put in place by your landlord. Remember, if you sublet without permission, or under false pretenses, you are breaking your lease agreement, and your landlord can take action—up to and including eviction.

Can my landlord reject my sublet tenant? 

Yes—a landlord may reject a proposed tenant. However, a landlord may not discriminate based on race, religion, color, disability, sex, or familial status under the Fair Housing Act. Otherwise, it is left to the discretion of the landlord, who is likely looking at factors like
  • Credit score
  • History of felonies or violence
  • Evictions or poor rental history
  • False or incomplete informatio

How to sublet an apartment in Philadelphia

Get the okay from your landlord

Once you are familiar with the guidance in your lease, reach out to your landlord. Let them know why you are hoping to sublet and how long you will be residing elsewhere. 
A minimum of two weeks’ notice is acceptable, but you should start the process as early as possible to give yourself and your landlord plenty of time to prepare. 

Find a subtenant

Space in Philadelphia is at a premium. You will likely have a lot of candidates hoping to sublet your apartment, so how do you find a good one? If you don’t already know someone, it can be daunting to start looking. Before you turn to the internet and social media, here are a couple of ideas to find applicants that already have some vetting. 
  • Check with your landlord or leasing office. They may have knowledge of folks who are looking for something in your area. 
  • Spread the word at work. Someone may have a personal acquaintance who is looking, or some companies may be looking for temporary housing for consultants or visiting clients.
  • Post on bulletin boards (both electronic and physical). Think about places like universities, or government offices with lots of interns. 
  • Hit the internet. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist,
    , and
    are great places to start. 
Income and credit scores are very important to consider for subletting, but you also want to make sure that your potential sub-tenant will be a good replacement for you in your space. 
Be upfront about the length of time you will be subletting, as well as any expectations you have. Essentially, you are becoming a landlord, and you are still liable for the terms of your lease. 

Screen applicants’ background and income

Make sure you screen your applicants carefully, and that you are comfortable that their background and income will make them a good fit.
Start by asking for proof of income and rental history. Learn as much about their background as you can. You could use any number of paid services for a formal background check, but at a minimum, ask for references, check out their social media, and meet them in person. Because you are still responsible for rent and their treatment of your space, finding the right subtenant is a critical part of this process. 

Create a sublease agreement and request approval in writing

Now that you have found the right person, you need to create a subletting contract. For Pennsylvania renters, the one found
here is
a great example. 
Your contract should include a copy of the original lease, any personal possessions (furniture, etc) that are in the home, and:
  • The date your sublease begins and ends
  • The amount of rent to be paid, and the dates you expect to receive payment
  • Procedures for breach of contract, late payments, etc.
Next, you and the subtenant will sign the agreement. For extra protection, have it
Send the sublease, the applicant’s documents, and a written request for approval to your landlord. It is best to send this as a certified letter, for legal purposes.

Continue paying rent

Remember that paying the rent is still your responsibility. Make sure that you arrange for your subletter to pay you in plenty of time so that your rent payment reaches your landlord when it is due.

How to save on renters insurance in Philadelphia

Subletting means that you will not physically be in your apartment, but you will still be liable for the structure and any possessions you leave with your subtenant. This means that having the right renter’s insurance is more important than ever. 
Not only can
save you money on your renters insurance by bundling it with an
auto policy
, our experienced insurance brokers can also make sure you have the right renters coverage you need while you are away. 
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