From learning what sublet actually means to tips on what to do with your stuff, here’s what you need to know about subletting in New York City.
From learning what sublet actually means to tips on what to do with your stuff, here’s what you need to know about subletting in New York City. (iStock)

Summers in New York City can be brutal, which is why so many New Yorkers often flock to anywhere else in search of a cool breeze and way less people.

Though such a move isn’t possible for all of us thanks to things like jobs, budgets and that pesky apartment that won’t pay for itself while you’re sipping beach drinks somewhere fabulous, that abode could actually be your ticket out of town if you sublet it.

But first, do you know what sublet actually means?

Very often, New Yorkers confuse “sublet” and “assignment,” said Lorett Vigon, an associate real estate broker with Citi Habitats.


“The difference between sublease and assignment is an assignment is what you would use when you want to be relieved of liability and sublease is when you have intent to return,” Vigon explained.

So that means if you’re relocating and don’t plan on coming back to your apartment, subletting is not for you. 

While many New Yorkers do turn to subletting in summer, “it’s really an all-year-round situation,” Vigon said.

What to know about subletting in New York City

• A sublet must be for a term of at least 30 days but no more than two years.
• Tenants in privately owned buildings with four or more units legally have the right to sublet, except for tenants in public or subsidized housing, non-profit buildings, co-ops, rent-controlled tenants (though rent-stabilized tenants can) and those residents with rent subsidies.
• Tenants must get approval from their landlord and submit a letter with the sublet’s start/end dates, name, permanent address and written consent of potential subtenant, reason for sublet, your address for sublet term and copy of proposed sublease.
• Your landlord must send a notice of consent or reason for refusal of the sublet request within 30 days.

Subletting your apartment can be a daunting task, especially if it’s done without the proper landlord approval or documentation to protect you, your landlord and your apartment.

“Enlist the services of a good broker, who can market and advertise it — and find the right applicant that will be approved by the landlord,” Vigon urged. 

So what do I do with my stuff when I sublet?

Congratulations, your landlord approved your sublet request and you’re free to get out of town. But what about all your stuff?

“If you’re going to keep your apartment, take your valuables,” Vigon said. “If you’re going to leave the apartment furnished, leave a rider of what’s there and take photos of everything before you go.”

Adds Richard Mumby, organization expert at MakeSpace, “You want to make sure that you’re living up to the sublet expectations, that all the furniture, kitchen supplies, appliances offered remain, and then backtrack from there.”

So if you have heirloom furniture or other items you don’t want to leave behind but can’t take with you, consider using a storage company like MakeSpace, which picks up and delivers your stuff and offers several storage options, from spaces the size of a hall closet to a three-bedroom apartment, starting at three months for as long as you need. 

“Subletting is a fun way to hold onto a space that you really love,” Mumby said. 

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